Consumers Favor Personalized Support Over Tailored Ads, Purchase Journeys

November 21, 2017

Marketers tout personalization for its effect on conversion rates and email engagement, among others. But how do people feel about personalized experiences? As it turns out, when it comes to retail they greatly favor personalized support over personalized ads, according to a survey from InMoment [download page].

The majority of the more than 30,000 consumers surveyed for the report prefer personalization of support: staff who are knowledgeable of products and services, recognizing past purchasing patterns and needs and aware of loyalty membership status.

That compares to one-third who favor personalization of the purchase journey and 1 in 8 who prefer personalized advertising.

Preference for personalized support is similar across genders, but markedly higher among Millennials (18-34).

The results are interesting in light of separate research into attitudes towards in-store retail personalization tactics. Some forms of personalization – such as digital screens – are considered more “cool” than “creepy.” But others, including the use of facial recognition to identify shoppers as loyal customers, are perceived by most to be stepping over the line.

So while shoppers desire personalized support, there is a boundary. On a more encouraging note, shoppers seem more willing to share their purchase history – which would be used to offer personalized support – than other forms of data.

InMoment defined the various forms of personalization as follows:

Advertising: “Personal marketing messages that include being addressed by name, offers related to products you enjoy, special access to new products or services, etc.”

Support: “When you reach out for help, the associate and/or the self-service channels already knows who you are (name, status — loyalty, VIP, etc.) and demonstrates strong knowledge of
your recent interactions.”

Purchase Journey: “The staff and/or digital applications know me and my needs, have expertise in what they are selling, and make helpful recommendations on additional items and how to use the products or services.

Positive Staff Interactions Help

One reason why personalized support can be a boon for retailers is that positive interactions with staff can increase overall satisfaction levels for shoppers. This seems to be most evident when people are shopping for fashion – a curious result given other research suggesting that fashion shoppers want store associate interactions much less than other shoppers.

Nonetheless, positive staff interactions were found to increase shoppers’ level of satisfaction across all categories tracked.

And since 1 in 3 respondents said they visit physical stores due to positive previous experiences, that makes those staff interactions all the more important…

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of more than 30,000 North American consumers. Results were weighted by official Census data.

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