This is a guest blog post from RichRelevance, a Demandware Certified Partner
When it comes to personalizing the in-store shopping experience, what separates cool from creepy? A survey by RichRelevance of 1,000 US consumers found that many of the burgeoning trends in personalizing the omni-channel shopping experience don’t resonate with all shoppers.
On a scale of “cool” to “creepy” we found that consumers welcome retailers’ help in discovering relevant products, finding coupons and navigating the store, but draw the line at tools that identify, target and track them using demographics or facial recognition.
And the dressing room is definitely off limits. It’s the one area where personalized product information and dynamic recommendations were squarely in the creepy zone.
Today, nearly 7 in 10 shoppers use a mobile device while in store (according to Forrester), and retailers are investing heavily in new technologies to make the in-store experience, where many shoppers are using phones, better than ever. But how do you walk the line between creepy and cool? How do you engage with customers without turning them off?
By remaining customer-centric and delivering value.
Retailers who give customers complete control score high on the “cool” scale. Walgreens, for example, is a leader in mobile engagement. Not only does its pharmacy app allow users to fill prescriptions, locate medicines and clip coupons, customers can also chat directly with a pharmacist, log their FitBit steps for redeemable store points, and send photos from their phone to the store for printing. By developing smart mobile features focused on convenience – and demonstrating a genuine interest in customers’ wellbeing – Walgreens has created a recipe for successful customer engagement.
The takeaway? Stores remain the most valuable asset for retailers, offering an edge over online shopping when it comes to customer experience. Focusing on technologies that ensure the right products and content are available to consumers, while delivering convenience and value in transparent ways, ensures engagement. Timing is also key; give shoppers digital personalization only when they’re ready to engage. They may not welcome personalized messages the moment they enter a store or when they hit the dressing room, but our survey suggests they appreciate relevant information and promotions when making a purchase decision.
A recent study commissioned by Microsoft examined consumer attitudes towards sharing data, including what they are wiling to share and what they expect in return.
In a blog post Microsoft concluded that, “data is rapidly becoming a fundamental currency for brand-consumer relationships…[however] up to now the relationship has largely been one-sided. Despite increasingly high levels of consumer control online, the perception remains that brands set the terms in the value exchange and brands reap most of the gains.”
In other words, consumers need to know that if they share data, they will get something of value in return.
Finally, respect the shopper. Without transparency, accountability and value, it is irrelevant whether a technology is creepy or cool. Win your customers over by placing their needs front and center, then meet and exceed them, regardless of the shopping channel.