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Study: Consumers looking for personalized expertise; rewards

Consumers are willing to share their data — if it is in return for something they value.

That’s according to a new research report from the Retail Industry Leaders Association and Accenture. It found that consumers are most interested in exchanging their data for automatic credits for coupons and loyalty points (64%) and access to exclusive deals (60%), followed by the ability to gain points and rewards (56%) and special offers for items that interest them (53%).

The report, based on a survey of 3,000 consumers and 100 retail industry decision-makers, examines how retailers can capitalize on the moments that truly matter to consumers in the era of ubiquitous shopping. It found that the desire for a personalized, immersive and seamless shopping experience is reaching new heights and that retailers must be prepared to rethink what they do, become trusted advisors for their customers and curate truly meaningful consumer experiences.

The findings revealed a strong and growing desire among all consumers for personalized expertise. Sixty-three percent of consumers were looking for personalized recommendations, up from 57% in 2016; 61% were looking for design ideas, up from 46% two years ago; and 54% wanted recipe ideas, up from 44%.

In other findings:

• The vast majority (94%) of retail executives believing ubiquitous shopping represents a complete transformation or significant change for the industry. And a similar proportion (93%) foresee the same degree of disruption for their own businesses.

• While two-thirds (65%) of industry executives view online commerce as the driving characteristic of ubiquitous shopping, and over half (53%) cite mobile purchases as key, a third (33%) say new technology like voice commerce is top of mind.

• Eighty-four percent of retailers see image commerce — i.e. the process of taking a picture, then using technology to identify and purchase the product — as important to success, and most consumers would shift at least half their purchases to retailers offering the experience. Fifty-six percent of consumers are interested in image commerce with 63% of consumers saying they would consider shifting at least half of their purchases to retailers offering it.

• The research shows immersive technology is of interest to consumers, especially in the area of design. Fifty-six percent of home décor and electronics consumers are already using immersive technology — or cannot wait to do so. Sixty-three percent of retailers think the technology is very important; 37% of executives said they are investing heavily.

• Blockchain, is still in the early stages for retailers with two-thirds not ranking it among their top five impactful technologies suggesting its potential to enable new customer experiences and disrupt commerce has yet to be harnessed.

“The data is clear,” said Adam Siegel, senior VP, innovation, research, and sustainability, Retail Industry Leaders Association. “Whether it’s in-store, on-the-go or from the comfort of their couch, consumers are expecting more from retail brands. Retailers must continue to innovate, personalize and enhance the in-store and online – the ubiquitous – shopping experience to meet consumers wants and needs.”

The report notes that new business models should be centered around specific user needs and shopping styles. Product teams should be leveraging data-driven creativity to better understand the audiences they are actually designing for. And marketing promotions should be grounded in granular insights about the profitability of individual products and customers, according to the report.

To read the full report, click here.
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