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Shoppers conflicted on data sharing

News, 10 March 2015

NEW YORK: Most US consumers would welcome a more personalised retail experience but are unwilling to disclose the personal data that makes it possible a new survey has said.

The Accenture Personalisation Survey polled 1,000 consumers, split equally between men and women aged between 20 and 40 year of age, as it examined customer expectations around a personalised shopping experience with retailers, including social channels, and explored the issue of digital trust.

This found that almost 60% of consumers wanted real-time promotions and offers, but just 20% were ready to let retailers know their current location and only 14% wanted to share their browsing history.

But almost all were prepared to divulge some personal details if they had control over what was being shared, with 90% wanting to limit access to certain types of personal data and to stop retailers from selling their information to third parties.

In addition, 88% would prefer to determine how the data could be used and 84% wanted to be able to review and correct information.

"Personalisation is a critical capability for retailers to master, but as our survey shows, addressing the complex requirements of US consumers is challenging because they are conflicted on the issue," said Dave Richards, global managing director of Accenture's Retail practice.

The most welcome in-store retailer communications and offerings included automatic discounts at checkout for loyalty points or coupons (82%) and real-time promotions (57%).

When online, the most popular choices were website optimisation by device (64%) and promotional offers for items the customer was strongly considering (59%).

Almost half of respondents (48%) were receptive to getting reminders online to order items that they might have run out of and need to be refilled, while a similar proportion (51%) liked the idea of "one-click" checkouts, where retailers knew consumers wanted to pay and have items shipped.

A degree of reciprocity was expected, however, with access to exclusive deals (64%) and automatic crediting for coupons and loyalty points (64%) the most popular options, followed by one-time discounts and special offers (both 61%).

"If retailers approach market personalisation as a value exchange, and are transparent in how the data will be used, consumers will likely be more willing to engage and trade their personal data," Richards noted.

But he added that the line of what was acceptable was different for every customer and was also constantly evolving "as new, innovative personalised experiences are created and become mainstream".

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc staff