Multichannel shoppers want every convenience the Internet and stores can give them, but they’re not willing to give up much in the way of personal information — even about their whereabouts — in exchange.
In its first Personalization Survey, global management consulting firm Accenture surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers and found them to have increasingly high expectations of what retailers need to offer them, but a low level of tolerance when it came to being pressed for personal information.
Sixty percent of respondents want real-time promotions and offers, but only 20 percent want retailers to know their current location and just 14 percent are willing to share their browsing histories. When online, nearly two-thirds — 64 percent — want Web sites optimized for individual devices such as smartphones and tablets and 59 percent want to be able to buy an item or at least compare prices. The same percentage would like to be able to take advantage of promotional offers for items they’re considering and use “intuitive” Web navigation if they’re in a mood to browse.
But their desire for convenience isn’t matched by their willingness to be personally transparent. If and when they can, 90 percent of the sample want to limit access to certain types of personal information and stop retailers from selling personal information to third parties. Eight in nine — 88 percent — would prefer to determine how their data can be used by the retailer and nearly as many, 84 percent, want to review and correct information about themselves.
The majority — 82 percent — welcome automatic discounts at checkout for loyalty points or coupons, with 57 percent receptive to real-time promotions.
Just under half — 48 percent — are open to receiving online reminders that they might be running out of an item based on the consumer’s ordering history and 51 percent like the idea of a “one-click retailer” who already knows how consumers want to pay and how they want items shipped.
Still, there’s resistance to in-store purchases being charged automatically to their accounts before they’ve gone to their wallets or deployed their pay-ready mobile phones.
As consumers and stores work their way through the intricacies of multichannel relationships, 64 percent of consumers expect access to exclusive deals, and the same percentage want automatic credit for coupons or loyalty points. Both one-time discounts and special offers were welcomed by 61 percent of respondents.
Consumers seem reasonably comfortable revealing their gender, age and contact information, revelations accepted by 65, 53 and 52 percent of those surveyed, respectively. Disclosures of financial information, such as a credit score, were acceptable to just 13 percent, with lower rates recorded for medical histories, 8 percent and social media contact detail, 5 percent.
“It is critical to test how customers might respond to a particular personalization strategy,” noted Chris Donnelly, global managing director for retail at Accenture. “Data-driven testing should include the behavior of individual customers, demographic indicators and factors relating to the item itself. For instance, while some people may want to be told they are out of milk, they may not feel the same way about personal care products.”
The study uncovered some sharp differences in how demographic groups reacted to retail personalization efforts. Accenture found Baby Boomers more demanding than Millennials in wanting something back for the provision of personal data, with 74 percent of the Boomers and 58 percent of the Millennials expecting automatic crediting for coupons and loyalty points, and 70 percent of the Boomers, versus 61 percent of Millennials, expecting special offers for items in which they are interested.
Millennials are also more receptive to assistance from retailers. Forty-five percent of Millennials approve of having a personal shopper who can pull items that match the shopper’s style, fit or wardrobe, versus 28 percent of the Boomers, possibly more a reflection of a greater resistance to being “upsold” by older shoppers than among younger ones.