Consumers want personalization, still unwilling to give up data
Personalized shopping experiences continue to be desired by a majority of consumers, but many of those consumers are still hesitant to create and save accounts with retailers that would help them get more of those experiences, according to the report, "Retail in 4 Dimensions: Understanding Consumer Behavior in an Age of Relativity," from Oracle.
The study found that 57% of 15,607 consumers from four major global regions want instant one-click checkout that can only be enabled through creation of a payment profile on an e-commerce site, yet 67% of consumers studied stated that they did not want to set up such account profiles.
Fashion also presents fertile ground for growing a personal bond with customers, the study found. While 83% of consumers overall indicated that they shop in-store at least once a week, 22% of fashion shoppers do so several times per week and 7% said they shop in-store every day. Another 40% of consumers browse or buy fashion online at least once a week
Personalization continues to look like a great marketing opportunity that retailers certainly have started taking advantage of, but also can't shake persistent privacy concerns. The conundrum presented by the findings in this study pretty much mirrors what the Retail Dive Consumer Survey told us earlier this year — that less than half of consumers are willing to submit the personal data necessary to maximize the potential of personalization.
Retail Dive has asked the Oracle folks behind this survey what might been done to address this ongoing issue, and we'll update this story later with follow-up comments. But there's one good guess as to why consumers feel the way the do: Hardly a week goes by without news of a data breach affecting a company in, or adjacent to the retail space.
Prior studies have shown that retailers are not doing much to convince consumers their personal data will be safe in the hands of a retailer. A MediaPro survey earlier this year found that less than 30% of retail employees could identify data security best practices. So, if retailers and brands aren't going to protect the information in customer profiles, why should customers take the trouble to create and save them?
While personalization is further pondered, there are other things retailers can do to strengthen the customer experience, notes the Oracle study. Self-service and mobile payments continue to be hot buttons as 56% of consumers surveyed said self-checkout machines are important to them, and 60% said they wanted mobile payment options in-store. That percentage rose to 67% among millenials, with millennials and pre-millennials recording a stronger preference in particular
Virtual reality also proved to be popular among consumers, perhaps surprising given the cycle of hype and disappointment that has characterized VR in the consumer market for many years. However in this study, 48% of consumers said they wanted to use virtual reality at home to navigate a personalized in-store experience and receive home delivery, while another 48% said they would use virtual reality to prepare a curated wardrobe to be picked up in-store. These findings could help retailers inch forward in at least exploring their potential VR use cases.
In addition to all of these findings, Oracle also used its consumer data to create three different shopper profiles that retailers and brands can apply to better understand the tendencies of their own customers. For example, it defined a type of customer dubbed "The Nomad" as a nimble shopper who is not loyal to a brand or channel, and will examine multiple options for researching and locating products before making a purchase. Meanwhile, "The Player" uses technology to fuel and guide their shopping experience and look for brands that re-invent the customer journey. Finally, "The Dealer" likes "the thrill of the win" and shows shopping behavior driven by a deep desire for discounts.
The challenge for retailers? Figuring out how to satisfy all three.