TECHNOLOGY

Brands underestimate the value of social advocacy, personalization

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

There is an increasing gap between retailers’ marketing methods, and the campaigns that realistically drive consumers’ purchase decisions.

In addition to wanting more personalized experiences, consumers want to discover brands and affirm purchase decisions through social influencers, according to “Retail 2018: The Loyalty Divide,” a report from Oracle.

According to the data, 69% of respondents note personalized offers based on preferences are appealing, while 66% find personalized offers based on purchase history as appealing. Fifty-eight percent of consumers said personalized content and communications are appealing.

Consumers also indicated that retailers must have a strong social presence, and want to use social influencers when discovering new brands and affirming purchases. For example, 53% are likely to research brands on social media before buying, and 46% are likely to save ideas on social media about products or retailers.

Forty-three percent are likely to share photos of retail experiences/products on social media, and are likely to follow influencers that post about favorite retail brands, respectively.

Consumers also believe in the integrity of social influencers, as 41% of consumers agree that YouTube reviews are more trustworthy than branded advertising or communications, and 37% of consumers believe that retailers used and recommended by social media influencers are more trustworthy than those recommended by celebrities.

Despite this trend, 28% of retailers will only take into account measures of loyalty based on activities such as loyalty card membership or transaction frequency, the study revealed.

“The future of loyalty will be a balancing act between consumers desire for more anonymity, or at least direct control of their data, and an expectation for meaningful personalization that is targeted and timely,” said Mike Webster, senior VP and general manager, Oracle retail and hospitality. “We believe the answer is a new approach to segmentation that integrates advanced algorithms and machine learning into the retail business process that govern planning, inventory and pricing.”

There is less of a gap when it comes to using artificial intelligence (AI). Only 26% of consumers find AI on a mobile device that gets to know the user through voice recognition and then makes intelligent recommendations as unappealing compared to 91% of retailers that think this would be appealing to consumers.

Other findings include:

• 91% of consumers note it is appealing to accept or reject offers so that the retailer loyalty program can learn what products and offers are of most interest.

• 86% of consumers note that it is appealing when a retailer’s staff and customer support uses their personal preferences to provide better service.

• 52% of retailers think consumers are concerned about data being passed onto third parties, yet 81% of consumers would consider removing their personal information if they could. Meanwhile, 53% are concerned that their data is being passed onto third parties.

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TECHNOLOGY

Boxed wants customers to get ‘boxed up’ with perks

BY Marianne Wilson

Boxed, the warehouse club-styled online retailer that sells groceries, household products and other items by bulk, is expanding its model with a nod to Amazon Prime.

Boxed has launched a paid membership service, called Boxed Up, that offers free priority shipping on orders over $20, price-matching and other benefits to subscribers. The service, which costs $49 a year (with a free 30-day trial), also gives subscribers 2% cash rewards, VIP customer service and exclusive access to special promotions and gifts.

“Boxed Up is more like Amazon Prime than a Costco membership,” Boxed founder and CEO Chieh Huang told The New York Post. He said that Boxed will still be open to customers who don’t buy a membership.

“Boxed Up is the premium service that our customers have been asking for: They’re looking for deeper discounts and unique promotions, and are willing to pay more to access them,” the company stated in a FAQ.

In March, Boxed rejected a reported $400 million acquisition offer from The Kroger Co.

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TECHNOLOGY

Amazon is a big, big spender in….

BY CSA Staff

Amazon is the leader of the pack when it comes to spending on research and development.

The online giant spent $22.6 billion on R&D in 2017, a 41% increase over the previous year, according to ReCode. Amazon also spent more than any other U.S. company on R&D in 2016.

Technology companies claimed the top five spots in R&D spending in 2017, with Alphabet (parent of Google), Intel, Microsoft and Apple rounding out the top 5, according to ReCode.

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