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By Stephanie Crets

Frequent Amazon shoppers are familiar with the row of recommended items based on their search history or purchase history. It might not always be relevant to what you're looking for in that moment, but it’s a nice personal touch, especially if you buy a lot of books and movies. It could lead you down a rabbit hole of discovering something you might not have ever thought to search for. And it’s not just Amazon. Many retailers are striving to offer a more personalized shopping experience.

Feeling like a retailer really cares about you as a consumer is beneficial to retailers. It can lead to a completed purchase or an even a higher sale than initially intended by the shopper. A recent study by Accenture Interactive, which surveyed more than 1,500 consumers aged 15 to 60 in the United States and the United Kingdom, found that consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that offers a touch of personalization from service to offerings.

These offerings are simple and can be applied both in-store and online. Consumers want to be recognized and remembered:

  • 56 percent are more likely to buy from a retailer that knows them by name;
  • 65 percent will shop from a retailer that remembers their purchase history;
  • 58 percent are more likely to purchase when a retailer recommends something based on purchase history; and
  • 75 percent of consumers will shop from a retailer that offers any of these options.

“Brands today have a responsibility 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. “The availability of data and digital technology today allows for a deeper level of personalization needed to dynamically curate experiences to each individual and context, across marketing, shopping, and services interactions.”

In the same way that personalization can make a consumer feel special, it can also be overwhelming. That rabbit hole of movie and book recommendations on Amazon can take up so much time that I may lose track of my original purchase intent and abandon my shopping cart. It seems I’m not alone.

“Many brands are still grappling with delivering upon customers’ desire for more personalized experiences,” Zoghby continues. “They create unintended barriers, for example, when onsite search delivers irrelevant results or landing pages don’t match known customer intent or profiles.”

The study reported that 39 percent of shoppers have left a retailer’s website because they were overwhelmed by too many options, while 50 percent have never even made a purchase based on recommended options. It seems retailers need to straddle both worlds: providing a personalized touch but not overwhelming the shopper with too many recommendations.

“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,” Zoghby adds.

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