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Consumers Trade Privacy For Better Shopping Experience

Darryl K. Taft covers IBM, big data and a number of other topics for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

Shoppers are willing to sacrifice their privacy in order to ensure a better shopping experience, an IBM survey has revealed

Consumers are willing to share personal information if it means a better shopping experience, despite potential privacy issues.

According to a recent IBM survey of 28,000 consumers, shoppers are looking for a more personalised shopping experience, and are willing to share select details about themselves with their favorite retailers, in order to educate brands on exactly how, when and where to approach them.

Information Sharing

The survey showed that consumers are willing to dish to retailers about their media usage (75 percent); demographics (73 percent); identification, such as name and address (61 percent); lifestyle (59 percent); and location (56 percent) for a more targeted and smarter shopping experience, IBM said.

Based on the survey, consumers are telling IBM they want to receive more communication – not less – but they want it to be delivered through preferred media channels and in a relevant way. IBM’s ongoing research shows that retailers must provide clear compelling reasons to shop; deliver personalized offerings and reach shoppers when and where they prefer, in order to win over their wallets. And, based on the research, consumers appear to be more than willing to give retailers the data to make this experience possible.

Meanwhile, the rapid influx of digital data is posing new challenges for retailers. Customers are sharing their experiences widely online, giving them more control and influence over brands. A recent IBM CMO study of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers from 64 countries and 19 industries revealed that the majority of the world’s top marketing executives recognise a critical and permanent shift occurring in the way they engage with their customers, but question whether their marketing organisations are prepared to manage the change. This shift requires new marketing approaches, tools and skills to effectively reach customers.

“The speed of technology innovation, consumer adoption and access to information has created an environment where everything is known and the consumer is truly the one in power, coalescing around shopping communities of ‘we,’” said Jill Puleri, global retail leader for IBM Global Business Services, in a statement. “Retailers can win over this empowered consumer based on re-establishing a trusted relationship and building loyalty through improving the store environment, product assortment and store communications.”

Analytics Needed

In addition to directly surveying consumers to understand their attitudes towards shopping, IBM also listened to how consumers are talking to one another. Using IBM Cognos Consumer Insight, a social media analysis tool, IBM reviewed more than 1.2 million documents – publicly-available videos, tweets, Facebook updates, discussion boards, blogs and newsgroups – over a six month period to study attitudes related to sporting retailers and apparel manufacturers.

IBM says that with the volume of conversations happening online, retailers need to listen to their customers using sophisticated analytics technology to gain insight and adjust their marketing messages to address what they are hearing on the wire.

As part of its Smarter Commerce strategy, IBM Retail Analytics solutions help retailers segment customers; tailor offers, promotions and communications; and create greater loyalty and retention through a seamless brand experience, the company said. IBM technology also allows retailers to analyse consumer behaviour to improve their overall shopping experience and their business operations.