The Future of eCommerce: Consumer Personalization

A recent survey carried out by Redshift Research and BloomReach has shed some light on the disconnect that exists between consumers and retailers when it comes to the personalization of the consumer shopping experience. As eCommerce forges forwards through technological advancement and increasing uptake, bricks and mortar stores are becoming less appealing shopping experiences for consumers than the personalized experiences offered by online retailers.

The U.K. is an appropriate benchmark for understanding and contrasting consumer habits due to its position as a leader in the eCommerce space, with 24 percent of consumers making an online purchase once a week and 79 percent of consumers making a purchase at least once a month. In 2013, U.K. Shoppers spent £91bn online, with purchases on mobile devices doubling from 2012 figures. It is predicted that the U.K. eCommerce market will see 17% year-on-year growth during 2014, crossing the £100bn threshold. U.K. Shoppers make a higher percentage of their overall purchases online than Germany, the U.S. or South Korea, and this percentage is expected to rise to 23 percent of all purchases by 2016.

UK eCommerce

In an interesting contrast, 59 percent of consumers felt that online shopping was preferable to in-store shopping when it comes to providing a personalized shopping experience, while 60 percent of retail marketers felt that in-store shopping provided better personalization for consumers. We can draw a number of conclusions from this contrast in opinions, but primarily we must ask if the consumer is indeed outgrowing traditional means of shopping due to technological advances mixed with busier lifestyles.

Retailers Fall Short on Customization

With 54 percent of retailers currently failing to offer any sort of customized or personalized experience on their eCommerce websites, 31 percent of consumers admit to being more likely to purchase when offered a more personalized experience such as recommended products or relevant content that enhances the personalized shopping experience. Leading the way in this personalization revolution are eCommerce giants such as Amazon, with 80 percent of consumers attributing the most personalized shopping experience to them.

The trajectory followed by a consumer on the way to making a purchase is changing as fast as technology. Today, a typical consumer may initiate a purchase by first researching a product on a smartphone, then visiting a store to physically examine the product, before returning home to make the purchase on a laptop. Competition for consumer attention across all devices is sure to further drive the move towards personalization of the shopping experience for the average consumer in the coming months.