New Study Reveals That Traditional Retailers Are Failing to Meet Consumer Desires for "Amazon-like" Personalization

Three out of four shoppers say that traditional retailers don't understand their preferences and needs, finds Swirl study

Dec 10, 2015, 09:00 ET from Swirl Networks

BOSTON, Dec. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- With just a few weeks left in the holiday shopping season, new research finds that retailers are failing to deliver on consumers' expectations for personalized content and experiences. The study of 1,000 consumers commissioned by Swirl Networks, Inc., the leading beacon marketing platform provider, reveals that very few retailers are connecting shopper behaviors across in-store, online and mobile in order to tailor their messages and experiences. And those that continue to push irrelevant content, ads and offers risk alienating consumers and losing business to competitors.

With the NRF reporting that more people chose to shop online than in-store during the Thanksgiving weekend, Swirl's research highlighting how top e-tailers like Amazon are setting the benchmark for personalization comes at a pivotal time. According to the study, traditional retailers are disappointing shoppers at an alarming rate. In fact, only 25 percent of consumers say that traditional brick and mortar retailers regularly demonstrate an understanding of their individual preferences and needs. The good news is that an overwhelming number of consumers say that an increase in personalization – across in-store, mobile or online – would increase their loyalty and likelihood to purchase from a particular retailer.

Swirl's research found that:

Amazon holds a commanding lead over traditional retailers in demonstrating an understanding of individual shopper preferences and needs.

  • 56 percent of consumers say that Amazon demonstrates an understanding of their individual preferences and needs on a regular basis
  • 25 percent of consumers say that traditional (brick and mortar) retailers demonstrate an understanding of their individual preferences and needs on a regular basis

The personalization gap is prevalent across every retail category.  However, those that actively capture consumer behavioral data (through large-scale point-of-sale or loyalty/rewards programs) perform significantly better than those that do not.

  • Percent of consumers who say that retailers demonstrate an understanding of their individual preferences and needs on a regular basis:
    • Grocery: 38 percent
    • Big Box: 35 percent
    • Pharmacy/Drug Stores: 29 percent
    • Specialty Retailers: 25 percent
    • Department Stores: 24 percent
    • Warehouse Clubs: 24 percent
    • Off-price retailers: 20 percent

Retailers are bombarding consumers with irrelevant content and messages. Consumers say that:

  • 79 percent of the mobile content and ads they see from retailers are irrelevant
  • 78 percent of the online content and ads they see from retailers are irrelevant
  • 75 percent of the emails and offers they receive from retailers are irrelevant
  • 75 percent of the time in-store sales associates fail to demonstrate that they understand the shopper's needs/preferences

Retailers that deliver seamless and personalized omnichannel experiences stand to reap major benefits.

  • 88 percent of consumers said that more personalized and connected online, mobile and in-store experiences would increase their likelihood to shop at that retailer
  • 87 percent of consumers said that more personalized and connected online, mobile and in-store experiences would increase their loyalty to a retail brand

"Amazon continues to be the clear leader in understanding individual consumer preferences and delivering highly-personalized shopping experiences. In comparison, consumer experiences with traditional retailers are simply falling short - and that's impacting both loyalty and sales," said Hilmi Ozguc, founder and CEO of Swirl. "Mastering omnichannel marketing needs to be a top retailer priority in 2016. Beacon technology will play a pivotal role in bridging the physical and digital worlds so that retailers can deliver more relevant and personalized experiences across all consumer touch points."

Methodology
Swirl commissioned independent research firm Research Now to study the mobile and shopping preferences of 1,000 U.S. consumers in November 2015. The margin of error for this study is +/- 3 percent.

ABOUT SWIRL NETWORKS
Swirl offers leading retailers, brand advertisers and publishers the industry's most advanced platform for beacon-powered mobile marketing. By leveraging the power of Bluetooth® Smart beacons and the Swirl platform, retailers are able to influence in-store shoppers at the precise time and place they are making purchase decisions. Swirl Ad Exchange is the world's first programmatic private ad exchange for beacon-powered mobile advertising, allowing brands to deliver highly targeted content to shoppers wherever their products are sold. Swirl's patented technology (U.S. patent No. 8,781,502 B1) is used by leading retailers such as Lord & Taylor, Hudson's Bay, Urban Outfitters, Alex and Ani, Timberland and many more. Swirl is backed by top-tier investors including Twitter, Simon, Hearst, SoftBank, and Longworth Venture Partners. Learn more at swirl.com.

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SOURCE Swirl Networks



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