The majority of consumers is ready for a digital retail experience, a new customer study found. [shutterstock: 525896389, Montri Nipitvittaya]
In the course of a global consumer research, a new retail study asked 15,500 consumers about their views on privacy and personalization, supply chain visibility and also if they are ready for a digital retail experience, including facial recognition, Virtual Sales Assistants and drone delivery.
The New Topography of Retail research was conducted in 2018 across five key regions: Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and UK), North America (Canada and USA), LATAM (Brazil, Chile and Mexico), Middle East (Saudi Arabia and UAE) & India and APAC (Australia and China).
Despite global awareness of new privacy regulations like GDPR (52 percent) and their desire to exercise data protection rights (86 percent), a majority of consumers values personalized offers in their shopping experience (56 percent) according to the global customer study by Oracle Retail. The research signals that retailers have a new responsibility to earn the right to remember customer data.
One approach is to deliver more meaningful brand interactions and rewarding experiences. Retailers are wrestling with this new responsibility as consumers push for more visibility into the service and supply chain. Furthermore, emerging markets seem poised to adopt innovative retail technologies that depend on customer data.
Removing personal information
In addition to identifying a desire for more personalized interactions, the New Topography of Retail study also found consumers in North America (87 percent) would request brands remove their personal information if given the option.
This trend extends globally, too. 34 percent of Europeans noted they would remove their data from all brands they engage with if given the option. Comparably, 90 percent of consumers in LATAM would exercise the right to select which brands have access to their data, as would 91 percent in the Middle East and India and APAC respectively.
“As consumers question the benefit of sharing their information, research shows they want to receive offers that are both relevant and personalized while maintaining a level of anonymity. Retailers have the opportunity to deliver personalized incentives, converting an emotional response towards privacy into a meaningful interaction,” said Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Retail. “As retailers address data privacy issues head-on, brands who reinvent their approach to consumer engagement, look towards attracting the right customers and recognize that capturing shoppers at the point of intent will drive increased engagement and retention.
Navigating privacy and personalization
Consumers are demonstrating fatigue around sharing personal data. At the same time, they do continue to want offers and incentives dependent on insights from prior brand engagements.
What is more, consumers do not feel that brands are successfully recognizing them. Only 16 percent of European consumers agreed that the offers they receive from retailers are always personalized or relevant. Similarly, only 22 percent of consumers agreed globally.
However, 47 percent of global consumers indicated that it would be great to receive real-time offers based on what they’ve been browsing online. They also recognize the nuance in offers. 75 percent of consumers believe that personalized offers from retailers are different to relevant offers.
Emerging markets embrace retail innovation
Across the board, consumers in emerging markets think that a digital retail experience is important. This experience includes in-store facial recognition, virtual sale assistants in fitting rooms, kiosks where you can upload an image of an item and get recommendations, and automatic replenishment based on subscription preferences. Compared to only 28 percent of consumers in Europe, Australia and North America, this difference is significant.
Trends across emerging markets include:
- LATAM. Forty-two percent of consumers think that virtual sales assistants in the fitting room are important to their retail experience. This number is a little higher than that of customers in emerging markets (45 percent) and in developed markets (20 percent).
- Middle East. The customer in the Middle East recognizes the opportunity of facial recognition in their shopping experience. 59 percent believe using the technology to instantly recognize a loyalty member or for purchase security (57 percent) is important. Emerging markets also love the idea of being recognized with facial recognition technology to ensure purchase security (61 percent) while only 26 percent of consumers in developed markets share this enthusiasm.
- India. Sixty-one percent of consumers noted that they love the idea of deliveries by drone or driverless car – nearly double the statistic for consumers in developed markets (32 percent).
- APAC. Chinese consumers (57 percent) note that they view kiosks where you can upload an image of an item and get recommendations on similar items as important. This number is more than double than that of their peers in Australia (26 percent).
Across emerging markets, consumers (64 percent) identified that they loved the idea of using virtual reality to navigate a personalized in-store experience. Compared to developed markets, this number seems disproportionally high. Only 33 percent of consumers in developed markets shared the excitement about VR.
Consumers demand visibility into service and supply chain
Consumers are demanding greater transparency into retailer operations, service history and supply chains. Over half (52 percent) of consumers state that a key influence on loyalty is knowing that retailers are acting sustainably. This is especially true for grocery (56 percent) and fashion (52 percent) shoppers. They stated that knowing that retailers are acting sustainably and limiting their impact on the environment would influence their loyalty.
Consumers (54 percent) also expect to have visibility into store inventory. Furthermore, they want to be able to research and reserve items for same day pick up in-store. If items are being delivered to their homes, even more insight is requested. A massive 72 percent of customers expect real-time updates on the location of an item throughout the delivery process.
The survey also identified a new global expectation: for service staff to have more information than ever before. A majority of consumers (74 percent globally) think knowledgeable in-store staff is important to their brand experience.
Consumers (58 percent globally and in North America respectively) also expect retailers to always know the reason for their returns. North American consumers have even greater expectations of retailers. 60 percent expect customer service teams to know the date of their original purchase. 57 percent expect teams to also know the method of payment.