Thought Leadership

Retailers Fall Short in Personalized Experiences

Consumers are driven to shop at retailers that provide an effortless personalized experience. A recent research study of 1,000 consumers by Swirl Networks, Inc. indicates conventional retailers are failing to provide personalized customer service experiences. Few retailers link customer behaviors online, mobile, and across the store. The tendency is for retailers to solicit unimportant content and messages for the customer, creating a missed opportunity.

Failing to personalize consumer experiences can be costly as more consumers choose online shopping rather than traditional brick-and-mortar stores. A study by the National Retail Federation (NRF) shows more people chose to shop online during Thanksgiving weekend. Swirl’s research noted how consumers are disheartened with traditional retailers and will take their business to e-tailers such as Amazon that customize individuals’ shopping experiences. Interestingly, 25% of shoppers indicated that they would return to traditional retailers if they were to be more engaging.

Amazon soars above traditional retailers in providing a tailored shopping experience. Among the 1,000 polled, 56% believe that this retailer connects with their individual preferences and needs. On the other hand, only 25% feel as though traditional brick-and-mortar outlets understand the customer.

Demand for a tailored shopping experience exists across the retail sector. Thirty-eight percent of consumers believe the grocery industry understands their shopping preferences; Big Box comes in second with a 35% confidence level. Warehouse clubs and off-price retailers performed the worst with 24% and 20% levels of confidence, respectively.

The major disconnect is the significant number of content and messages perceived as unimportant by shoppers. Over 78% of respondents feel as though the advertisements and content from retailers miss the mark on what they are inclined to buy. Seventy-five percent believe emails and offers are not relevant. Alarmingly, 75% stated that in-store sales associates do not understand the customer.

Retailers must capture consumer data to provide tailored customer experiences. Over 87% of consumers in this study said they would return to stores and support their brands if they felt a sense of personalization. Focusing on the individual preferences of shoppers through mobile, online and in-store service channels will provide optimal results.

Amazon-like e-tailers that capture consumer data and deliver unique customer shopping experiences will continue to dominate the retail industry. Founder and CEO of Swirl, Hilmi Ozguc, said that retailers need to embrace omnichannel marketing in the upcoming year. Technology such as beacons will help bridge this gap and allow for better retail performance. Best outcomes will be derived from tailored omnichannel consumer experiences.

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