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Study finds consumers value personal touch

28 August 2018 - 10:50 by Graham Miller

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Three quarters of respondents to a recent global report from Selligent said that they would rather not be bundled together in a niche with others by retail brands, but instead prefer to be considered as individuals.

Demographics are widely deployed in the world of safe shopping online so that e-commerce sites and search engines can provide ads and recommendations that they think will be relevant to users. However, this survey suggests that consumers are savvy enough to detect when they are being targeted in a somewhat generic fashion; a move which actually puts off the majority of people.

Seventy per cent said that they preferred marketing to be more focused and unique, especially in terms of their individual status. This means that widely used groupings, especially generational, may not be that helpful, or could actively dissuade some prospective customers from carrying out safe shopping online on a given site or service.

The ‘millennial’ tag is a good example of this, since this is now the generation with the most spending power, yet retailers which attempt to appeal to consumers based solely on their membership of this demographic may cause consternation with such tactics.

Seventy five per cent of those questioned in the study said that they were also a little cautious about the extent to which sites could now monitor how they behave online, using this data to shape their recommendations and ads.

This puts businesses in a tricky position, where shoppers want to be seen as individuals, yet are largely reluctant to allow organisations access to the kind of information that would make it possible for them to achieve this. Constant requests to access personal info are seen as problematic, so retailers need to take a low key approach if they want to keep customers on their side.