|Study: Personalization, social media key to retailer success|
|Written by Jeremy Burns|
|Thursday, 23 January 2014 02:34 PM America/New_York|
Consumers engage with retailers’ Facebook pages more than they do with stores’ websites, according to a new study from Infosys, a global consulting, technology and outsourcing firm. Even more important for retailers’ bottom line is the fact that nine in 10 consumers say how much they spend is impacted by their social media engagement with a brand.
The Rethinking Retail study is a detailed report based on interviews with 1,000 consumers and 50 general market retailers across the U.S. In addition to the impact of social media on spending, the study reveals how retailers are struggling to create the kind of personalized experience online and in stores that drives increased sales.
The study also found that women are twice as likely as men to be influenced by Pinterest, while YouTube influences twice as many men as women. Foursquare, meanwhile, influenced only 2% of consumers, women or men.
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of consumers said that consistency across channels plays a role in their spending tendencies with a particular brand. High consistency across a brand’s channels means greater spending for 34% of consumers, while 39% say a lack of consistency results in a reduction of spending.
“Creating a consistent experience across all physical and digital touch-points has a direct impact on sales,” said Sandeep Dadlani, senior vice president and head (Americas) of retail, consumer packaged goods and logistics at Infosys. “However, with the dominance of social media, creating a consistent and personalized relationship with consumers is now much harder. Retailers and brands need to arm themselves with the technology that can ensure their fans and brand advocates receive the same personalized service across channels to increase sales.”
Although 59% of consumers who have experienced personalized offers believe it has a noticeable influence on their spending, many retailers’ offers are not hitting the mark. Nearly two-thirds of retailers (62%) reported that they featured personalized offers in store, but only 20% of consumers reported even noticing that sort of offer.
This may be due, in part, to some retailers’ focus on online channels versus in-store offers for product recommendations (39% online versus 10% in-store) and personalized promotions (48% versus 3%). A minority (45%) offer product recommendations or personalized offers online and in-store. Getting those offers in front of patrons in-store may be paramount, as the study shows consumers are three times more likely to impulse-buy in-store than online.
Lack of technology was cited as the most common factor preventing retailers from creating a more integrated customer experience, with 38% claiming it as a key barrier. Nearly all (96%) of consumers expect retailers to do the obvious and inform them of new products, while only 34% of retailers can track consumer trends in real time, reducing their ability to roll out appropriate offers to drive sales.