personalization, AI, technology

Retailers delivering personalized shopping journeys might be behind the learning curve, according to a recent report from Accenture Strategy. The firm’s “Put Your Trust in Hyper-Relevance” research report details the next wave of artificial intelligence-powered efforts to capture and maintain consumers.

To gather its insights for the report, Accenture Strategy polled almost 25,000 consumers in 33 countries between June and July of this year.

“Today, only 22 percent of global customers acknowledge that the companies with which they do business tailor their experiences based on a deep understanding of their needs, preferences and past interactions,” said authors of the report. And while many merchants are devising channels that resonate with consumers, early adopters are moving onto the next phase of improved customer service, hyper-relevant customization.

“Personalization today is often static and time-lagged, delivered at the point of purchase and in response to certain customer behaviors. Hyper-relevance — like today’s digital consumers — is ‘always on,’” said the report. This is where comprehensive unrolling of predictive analytics and deep data collection will play a crucial role in not only understanding present shopping behaviors, but accurately evolving with the customer’s priorities, too.

“Rather than focusing solely on customers’ purchasing behaviors and preferences or relatively fixed attributes, such as their address or number of children, companies that offer hyper-relevant experiences focus on understanding customers’ needs in a given circumstance and the evolving context in which they make their purchase decisions,” the report continued.

Without consumer trust, however, retailers will remain stuck in the mud. “Securing trust is a prerequisite to achieving the promise of intelligent personalization,” the report said. Without an established relationship in which shoppers feel secure in sharing personal information, retailers will continue to fall short in delivering much needed customized touch points.

“Nearly one third of consumers expect the companies with which they engage to know more about them. And two-thirds are willing to share personal information with companies,” the report said. “But there’s a catch. They will only do so in exchange for some perceived value. If that value exchange — or the trust upon which it is based — is broken, customers will walk.”

As the retail market continues to fluctuate and innervate, retailers and brands will find a stabilizing force in heightened personalization. According to the research, 58 percent of consumers would switch half or more of their spending to a provider that excels at personalization experiences without compromising trust.

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