Retailers falling short on personalization

Personalization is a buzzword in retail today and in spite of concerted efforts to deliver, retailers are still falling short of customer expectations.

The gap between what retailers believe they are delivering on and what shoppers experience is indeed wide, with 93 percent of retail decision makers claiming that service personalization is a strategic focus, and only 25 percent of shoppers saying they receive a consistent, personal experience across channels, according to new findings from TimeTrade, a provider of appointment-driven personalization.

TimeTrade recently surveyed 100 C-level retail executives to better determine the role of personalized experiences in retail. TimeTrade researchers gauged retail executives' perceptions and plans around personalization and customer experience.

The survey revealed that most retail decision makers (69 percent) believe their organizations already provide a consistent personalized experience for every customer, results that contrast markedly with data from another TimeTrade survey – the State of Retail 2016 survey – which found that only 26 percent of customers feel they receive a personalized retail experience across channels.

There is a disparity or disconnect in what constitutes a personalized experience.

Shoppers highly value the call center as part of the omnichannel experience while retailers are overwhelmingly focused on stores, with 83 percent citing associate training as a priority in the next 18 months and 45 percent citing the brick and mortar experience as taking precedence over other channels.

In contrast, 51 percent of shoppers ranked call centers as having the poorest experience, followed by in-store with 26 percent of the vote and social with 23 percent, identifying alternative areas in need of investment.

"While today's retailers seem to recognize the importance of delivering a personalized cross-channel experience, it's clear that their approach is not resonating with shoppers or meeting their growing expectations," said Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade. "Today's shoppers are more demanding than ever before. To remain successful in this environment, brands must work to better understand consumer demands and reexamine and evolve their approach to ensure that service is prompt, personalized and consistent across channels."

For more:
- see this Time Trade press release

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