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Retailers are ignoring shoppers online or spamming them with irrelevant offers: new study

A new study has found that UK retailers are failing to provide personalised offers to customers online and are ignoring their own data and insights into shopper demographics and behaviour.


Retailers are ignoring shoppers online or spamming them with irrelevant offers: new study

In a study analysing how 170 retailers interacted with customers on their UK websites, KPMG found that the majority failed to maintain even the most basic contact with shoppers registering with them.

After signing up with the retailer on their website, and opting in to receive offers and news, almost two thirds (62%) of shoppers participating in the study received nothing, other than an initial email to say their registration had been successful. Of those who were contacted, 96% received a generic email, despite 40% having provided personal details on registration.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “Customers want to be treated like individuals and are willing to surrender their data if retailers then deliver their side of the bargain: a personalised, more relevant, shopping experience. These results show that despite shoppers actively asking for contact, and volunteering information about their likes and dislikes, retailers then seemingly ignore them and fail to even initiate a basic conversation. This is such a missed sales opportunity and marks out how underdeveloped some retailers’ systems remain.”

KPMG’s study found that after shoppers revisited retailers’ websites and browsed, less than one in 10 then received a personalised email from the retailer referencing the goods they had looked at.

However, shoppers who added items to their basket but left the website without buying them, were shown to receive a more personalised experience. One third received an email from the retailer referring to the abandoned items and encouraging them to complete the purchase but less than one in 10 were offered a discount on the items in their basket to convert the sale.

“Retailers need to know who is at their checkout, what they want to buy and then do everything possible not to miss the opportunity. Technology enables them to get in touch and rescue a lost sale, by offering the customer a discount or free delivery to complete the transaction. At the moment retailers are ignoring the data at their finger tips, which may indicate that their systems are not up to scratch,” said McCorquodale.

Retailers’ websites were also found to lack the details shoppers needed to help inform their purchase. Only 44% of retailers offered customer reviews of products and two out of 10 websites failed to offer multiple pictures of the products.

KPMG said its study also uncovered a wide disparity in retailers’ fulfilment and delivery capabilities: the last order dates offered by fashion retailers for guaranteed delivery by Christmas varied by a full week, from 16 to 23 December.

McCorquodale said: “Retailers need to be able to turn on a sixpence and get goods to the customer with the minimum of delay, but these results show that some are really lagging behind in the fulfilment stakes. Most of these issues will be due to weaknesses in the supply chain. Having closer relationships with suppliers, specifically manufacturers and logistics operators could prove to be the answer to this conundrum.”

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