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Study: Retailers struggle to deliver personalization

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Retailers know that personalization equates to higher sales, but companies still struggle with execution.

Specifically, retailers are eager to offer personalized experiences to achieve higher sales. Failing to remove unintended barriers are only overwhelming shoppers, who then abandon shopping carts.

This message was presented in “Personalization Pulse Check,” a report from Accenture Interactive. The study, which surveyed more than 1,500 consumers aged 18 to 60 across the United States and United Kingdom, revealed that consumers do have a positive attitude toward personalized offerings and services.

For example, 56% of consumers are more likely to shop at a retailer in store or online that recognizes them by name, and 58% are more likely to make a purchase when a retailer recommends options for them based on their past purchases or preferences. Remembering purchase histories will win over 65% of shoppers, and three-quarters (75%) of shoppers will more likely to buy from retailers that provide any of these three services, the report said.

Where the challenges lie, however, is when messages get muddied in their execution, whether through irrelevant recommendations or too many options. For example, 39% of shoppers have left a business’ website and made a purchase elsewhere, because they were overwhelmed by too many options.

With so much competition in this omnichannel landscape, retailers are in the hot seat “to make it easy for customers to engage, buy and consume what they want, how and when they want,” said Jeriad Zoghby, global personalization lead at Accenture Interactive.

Despite the availability of data and digital technology today that allows for a deeper level of personalization, “many brands are still grappling with delivering upon customers’ desire for more personalized experiences,” he said.

One issue is the creation of unintended barriers, such as onsite searches that deliver irrelevant results or landing pages don’t match known customer intent or profiles. “In an era when your brand is the experience, it’s imperative that retailers deliver the ultimate user-friendly and tailored experiences or risk sacrificing sales and loyalty,” he added.

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