Personalized Offers: Friend or Foe?

Dan Dufault |

April 4, 2013

Personalized Offers

Big data – media attention is on it – but is it an asset to consumers or something they should fear. Is “Big Brother” looming around the corner, or it it just a lot of hype?

Privacy concerns around online communities and social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and others, continue to cause fear with many Americans in terms of personal information and how it’s being collected and used. And, while individuals should be cognizant of their personal information and it’s use, they shouldn’t let the fear outweigh the benefit, especially in the world of commerce.

While media continues to focus on the negatives of ‘big data’, surveys show that consumers want personalization. In a recent survey conducted my MyBuys and the e-tailing group indicate that consumers not only want personalized offers, but it’s a key factor in purchasing decisions. In fact, 40 percent of consumers indicated that they buy more from retailers that personalize their shopping experience across channels (in-store, mobile and online) and 41 percent confirm that they buy more from online retailers who personalize their offers. In comparison over a six month period (same survey issued twice within six months), 44 percent of consumers say that they value retailers that ‘remember’ their past shopping and browsing (online) behaviors, up 7 percentage points (19 percent) in just six months.

More and more retailers are collecting personal data – think demographics, purchasing history (products, times, locations) and spend amounts – to help consumers, rather than hurt them. Consumers have long realized the benefits of 'big data' collection by online retailer sites through suggestive selling and browsing history and the same benefits that consumers have realized on the web are now making their way to the brick and mortar world.

Collected data allows retailers to deliver a more personalized shopping experience. Think of all of the emails you receive on a daily basis or the numbers of coupons/offers you get that are completely irrelevant. Now, think about an experience where the vast majority of e-communications and deals were exactly what you like to do, what you like to buy and relevant to who you are. In the world of retail, personalization is designed to benefit both the consumer (relevant offers and savings) and the retailer (cross- and up-sell, retention), and its data that sits at the foundation.

Big data is a big idea, but from a shopping perspective, whether online, in-store, or omni-channel, and for both consumers and retailers alike, data – whether big or small – is a critical must going forward in attracting and retaining customers.