TECHNOLOGY

Online product recommendations still miss the mark

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Irrelevant product recommendations are taking a toll on retailers’ personalization strategies.

This was according to the “Consumer Propensity Study” from SAP, which revealed that only 25% of digital shoppers received relevant recommendations either “almost all the time” or “half the time.” By region, only 17% of shoppers in the United States said they regularly see recommendations, followed by 14% of Japanese shoppers and 6% of U.K. shoppers. Worse, U.K. shoppers are the most likely (15%) to have never seen a relevant product recommendation online.

Recommendations aren’t the only factor killing an online shopping experience. More than half (52%) of respondents said they were willing to abandon their shopping cart if the shipping costs are too high. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 55% said they were significantly more likely to complete their online purchases if they received a discount or a product promotion deal.

Other global insights include:

• Korean shoppers are among the most likely to have purchased fashion products online (89%), followed closely by China and Germany (84%, respectively).

• Brazilian shoppers are the most likely (70%) to abandon their shopping cart if shipping costs are higher than expected. They are followed by Canadian shoppers (69%) and French shoppers (67%).

• U.K. shoppers most commonly (66%) cite “easy exchange or return services” as a major driver of better online shopping experiences. Russian shoppers, however, are more likely (60%) to cite comparison tools as a driver of positive online experiences.

• Over half of Thai shoppers (51%) believe that online retailers should have virtual/augmented reality technologies that allow them to see what the product will look like in real life.

“Providing personalized online shopping experiences is now more within reach for brands than ever,” said Chris Hauca, head of strategy and GTM (Go To Market) for SAP Commerce Cloud.

However, there is still a striking gap in what consumers are seeing as they navigate online marketplaces. “Brands too often miss the link that bridges consumer behavioral data — complete with context and intent — with the back-end supply chain,” Hauca said. “Having a 360-degree view of the customer will enable meaningful recommendations and unique shopping experiences — something organizations should have in mind as they enter the holiday shopping season.”

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Walmart makes big move to beef up video-on-demand service

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A discount giant is banking on its newest partnership to step up its video streaming game.

Walmart is partnering with U.S. movie studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer to create content for its video-on-demand service, Vudu, according to Reuters.

There has been speculation that Walmart wanted to launch a subscription streaming video service to rival Netflix, and make a foray into producing television shows to attract customers. The retailer denied the rumor, but did report it is looking at options to boost its video-on-demand business and offer programs that target customers who live outside of big cities, the report revealed.

Walmart spokesman Justin Rushing told Reuters, MGM will create exclusive “family-friendly content” based on their extensive library of iconic intellectual property (IP), and that content will premiere exclusively on the Vudu platform.

The deal and name of the first production will be revealed at the NewFronts conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

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Amazon reveals culprit of stolen customer email addresses

BY CSA Staff

Amazon confirmed that an employee leaked customer data to third-party sellers.

In September, the online giant started investigating reports that some of its employees in the United States and China have been leaking data to a third-party seller in exchange for money. Now, Amazon has notified affected customers that one employee pulled off the inside job, according to Engadget, which cited the Wall Street Journal.

The online retailer already fired that particular employee, and banned the seller who received the email addresses. The company also said no other customer information other than those addresses were disclosed. Amazon didn’t reveal if the former employee acted alone, or if they were one of many, the report stated.

Armed with customers’ email addresses, sellers can directly ask customers to change or pull negative reviews, since “Verified Purchase” reviews affect products’ placement on search results pages, Engagdet revealed.

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