Consumers Want Personalized Experience Without Giving Personal Info

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Consumers Want Personalized Experience Without Giving Personal Info


NEW YORK — U.S. consumers are conflicted when it comes to their desire for a more personalized retail experience. While many want a more personalized experience, far fewer are willing to share their personal information with retailers, according to the results of a new survey by Accenture.

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 —a management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company — 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.

Nearly 60 percent of the consumers surveyed said they 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.

While many consumers are willing to share some personal details with retailers, nearly all of the respondents (90 percent) 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,” said 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.”

Other notable findings from the survey include:

  • 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 are a website optimized by device (64 percent) and promotional offers for items the customer is strongly considering (59 percent).
  • Consumers want to be active in making purchases, with 48 percent saying they don’t like the idea of in-store purchases being charged automatically to their account without them taking out their wallet or mobile phone.
  • As part of the information exchange for a more personalized retail experience, consumers expect to get something in return. Key receivables 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).
  • Baby Boomers are more demanding than Millennials when it comes to receiving benefits in exchange for their data. Almost three-quarters of Boomers (74 percent) expect to get automatic crediting for coupons and loyalty points, and 70 percent expect special offers for items they are interested in, vs. 58 percent and 61 percent of Millennials, respectively.
  • Consumers are more willing to share certain personal details with retailers, including demographic information such as gender (65 percent), age (53 percent) and contact information (52 percent). However, a significantly smaller percentage (24 percent) would share their contact information via social media.
  • Financial (credit score), medical and social media contact details are deemed most sensitive.

For additional findings, click here.

“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 added. “It is important to recognize that the line for what’s acceptable vs. 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.”

Accenture conducted the online survey in October 2014 using a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. consumers. Participants were split equally between males and females between 20 and 40 years of age, and the survey recorded income, ethnicity and socio-demographics.