Consumers concerned about sharing personal info: Study

Jan. 23, 2013 - Patterson, California, U.S. - ELIAS FUNEZ/ Walmart shoppers roll their carts into the new store after Wednesday morning's grand opening.  The largest Walmart store in the state of California boasts a full grocery

Consumers are interested in a more personalized shopping experience, but they are divided on the type of personal information they want retail stores to have, according to a new survey by New York-based consultant Accenture.

“The customer remains in control over where the line of digital trust is drawn, requiring retailers to be agile and flexible in their approach to personalization,” Dave Richards, global managing director of Accenture Retail, said. “If retailers approach and market personalization as a value exchange and are transparent in how the data will be used, consumers will likely be more willing to engage and trade their personal data.”

The survey found that nearly 60% of consumers want real-time promotions, but only 20% want retailers to know their locations and only 14% want to share their browsing history, he said.

“At the end of the day it’s all about the customer, his or her data and the obligations retailers have to create and maintain digital trust with those customers,” Richards said. “It’s important to recognize that the line for what’s acceptable versus inappropriate is different for every customer; that the customer often doesn’t know where the line is; and that the line is fluid and evolves over time as new, innovative, personalized experiences are created and becomes mainstream.”

Among the survey’s findings, according to Accenture:

  • Forty-eight percent of respondents said they are receptive to getting online reminders to order items that might need restocking.
  • Fifty-one percent said they like “one click” checkouts for payment and shipment.
  • Respondents said they expect to get something in return for exchanging information on personalized retail experiences, including access to exclusive deals (64%), automatic crediting for coupons and loyalty points (64%), a one-time discount (61%) and special offers (61%).
  • Consumers indicated they want to be active in making purchases, with 48% saying they don’t like the idea of in-store purchases being charged automatically to their account without their having to take out their wallet or mobile phone.
  • Although more than half of consumers questioned said they are willing to share certain personal details — including demographic information such as gender (65%), age (53%) and contact information (52%) — only 24% said they would share their contact information on social media; only 13% said they would share credit scores; only 8% were willing to share medical information, and only 5% were willing to share social media contact details.
  • Although 68% of Millennials said they would be receptive to being told to stop buying medications online that could react negatively with other medicines, only 30% of Baby Boomers said they would be comfortable with that tactic.
  • Seventy-four percent of Boomers said they expect to get automatic crediting for coupons and loyalty points, compared with 58% of Millennials; 70% of Boomers said they expect special offers for items they are interested in, compared with 61% of Millennials.
  • Forty-five percent of Millennials said they like the idea of a personal shopper who can pull items according to their style, fit or wardrobe, compared with only 28% of Boomers.
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