We are excited to announce Bazaarvoice Personalization Data, unique shopping data from across our network of 5,700+ brand and retailer websites that can make personalization engines smarter and more powerful. Read on for more details on Bazaarvoice Personalization Data and our latest research on personalization.

Personalization, once the latest buzzword, is now table stakes for anyone with online e-commerce. However, many companies fail to do it well. Only 14% of companies rank themselves as “strong” in achieving a single view of the customer, and less than 10% of top tier retail brands say they’re highly effective at personalization.

Because the retail industry has yet to master personalization, consumers often find themselves at the receiving end of irrelevant or annoying personalization and a poor online shopping experience. 

To better understand the consumer perspective on personalization in e-commerce, we surveyed more than 1,000 U.S consumers about what they were experiencing across five key industries. Our findings showed two key takeaways: consumers want to be able to quickly and easily find what they’re looking for, and, if they can’t, they will take their business elsewhere. With the right combination of data and technology, brands can serve up timely, relevant content to in-market consumers, but while many have been working hard to make this a reality, shoppers are still not seeing the full promise of personalization on e-commerce platforms.

Consumers want help with discovery and decision-making.

The results of our survey showed that while many consumers still want a wide variety of product options online, they also value services that simplify the discovery and decision processes for them. When done correctly, personalization should serve a shopper with an email, a product recommendation, or a search result that matches their shopping behaviors and saves them from spending time searching for products.

According to a study by Accenture, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history. We found similar results: 70% of consumers said a personalized shopping experience and product recommendations are somewhat or very important to them.

Unfortunately, though consumers desire more personalized experiences, companies are failing to meet this demand. In our survey, 51% of shoppers say a personalized home page showing products they are looking for would be useful. Yet, only 25% say they have experienced it — and less than 20% say the product recommendations they see are relevant.

What personalization tactics do consumers find most helpful? First and foremost, it must be relevant. After that, personalized home pages and on-site product recommendations were preferred by our respondents over personalized emails. Only 25% of shoppers say emails showing products they might like based on things they’ve bought in the past are very useful. Even fewer (23%) said emailed reminders about items they put in their carts, but didn’t buy, were very useful.

A bad customer experience will drive customers away.

Online shopping experiences inform brand affinities. In our survey, 71% of consumers said a good online customer experience is one of the top reasons why they like certain brands, equal to affordable pricing. A completely painless and effortless shopping experience leads to higher sales and and higher retention.

Personalization is one of many ways to improve the online customer experience — but only when it’s done right. eMarketer found that 41% of U.S consumers say bad personalization is enough to drive them to shop with a competitor, and in our own survey, 38% of shoppers said they won’t return to an online retailer that recommends things that don’t make sense for them. Personalization that is irrelevant or annoying can cause customers to shop elsewhere.

Data makes the difference.

To boil it down, consumers want personalized shopping experiences, and many companies are trying to deliver them. Where are they going wrong?

There’s a big gap between the promise of personalization and the reality, and it comes down to data. The problem is twofold. For one, data is often siloed due to different personalization solutions for different functions. A brand might, for instance, be using one solution for product recommendations and another solution for customer emails, making it difficult to consolidate data pools.

But a bigger issue is data quality. One study found that more than half of retailers don’t trust their data. That’s an issue. But more pressingly, most personalization solutions today rely on and make assumptions based on aggregated demographic data. Knowing who someone is is helpful, but that alone won’t tell you what they’re shopping for.

To solve for this, we have launched Bazaarvoice Personalization Data. We see shoppers researching products and engaging with online content across more than 5,700 websites and have a unique view into what products and categories shoppers are in-market to buy. Bazaarvoice Personalization Data makes it possible to target shoppers with personalized content based on what they want, not who they are. With these insights into shopping behavior, brands and retailers can use an existing or custom-built personalization solution to display highly relevant product recommendations to every shopper.  

With Bazaarvoice Personalization Data, you have an unmatched view into consumer buying behavior and the ability to deliver a relevant, compelling shopping experiences that converts. To learn more about our solution and receive content on personalization trends and best practices, visit our Personalization Hub.

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