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Survey: U.S. consumers want personalized experience, control over data

Headlines

U.S. consumers want a more personalized retail experience but are divided on retailers’ tactics and the types of personal information they feel comfortable disclosing, according to a new survey from Accenture. Nearly 60 percent of consumers want real-time promotions and offers, yet only 20 percent want retailers to know their current location and only 14 percent want to share their browsing history.

The Accenture Personalization Survey examined customer expectations around a personalized shopping experience with retailers, including social channels, and explored the issue of digital trust. Accenture defines digital trust as the confidence placed in an organization to collect, store and use the digital information of others in a manner that benefits and protects the consumer.

The research found that while many consumers are willing to share some personal details with retailers, nearly all (90 percent) of the respondents said if the option was available they would limit access to certain types of personal data and would stop retailers from selling their information to third parties. In addition, 88 percent would prefer to determine how the data can be used and 84 percent want to review and correct information.

“Personalization is a critical capability for retailers to master, but as our survey shows, addressing the complex requirements of U.S. consumers is challenging because they are conflicted on the issue,” says Dave Richards, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “If retailers approach and market personalization as a value exchange, and are transparent in how the data will be used, consumers will likely be more willing to engage and trade their personal data.”

The survey explored and identified the types of online and offline retail technologies, tailored customer experiences and communications that consumers may experience. According to the survey, the most welcome in-store retailer communications and offerings include automatic discounts at checkout for loyalty points or coupons (82 percent) and real-time promotions (57 percent). When it comes to personalized online experiences, the most popular choices were website optimized by device (desktop, tablet, mobile) (64 percent) and promotional offers for items the customer is strongly considering (59 percent).

Other notable findings include:

Almost half (48 percent) of those surveyed are receptive to getting reminders online to order items that they might have run out of and need to be refilled (from mass retailers, drug stores and grocery stores) and 51 percent like the idea of “one-click” checkout retailers who know how consumers want to pay and have items shipped.

As part of the information exchange for a more personalized retail experience consumers also expect to get something in return. The key benefits cited include: access to exclusive deals (64 percent), automatic crediting for coupons and loyalty points (64 percent), a one-time discount (61 percent) or special offers (61 percent).

“At the end of the day, it’s all about the customer, his or her data, and the obligations retailers have to create and maintain digital trust with those customers,” Richards says. “It is important to recognize that the line for what’s acceptable versus inappropriate is different for every customer, that the customer often doesn’t know where the line is and that the line is fluid and evolves over time as new, innovative, personalized experiences are created and become mainstream. The customer remains in control over where the line of digital trust is drawn, requiring retailers to be agile and flexible in their approach to personalization.”

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