Despite global awareness of new their rights under privacy regulations such as GDPR (52%) and their desire to exercise their data protection rights (86%), more than half of consumers (56%) still value personalised offers in their shopping experiences, according to a global study by Oracle Retail. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

The research suggests that retailers have a new responsibility to earn the right to remember customer data by delivering more meaningful brand interactions and rewarding experiences. Retailers are wrestling with this new responsibility as consumers push for more visibility into the service and supply chain and emerging markets seem poised to adopt innovative retail technologies that depend on customer data.

In addition to identifying a desire for more personalized interactions, the New Topography of Retail study also found consumers in North America (87%) would request brands remove their personal information if given the option. This trend extends globally with 45% of consumers in North America and 34% of Europeans noting they would remove their data from all brands they engage with if given the option. Comparably, 90% of consumers in LATAM would exercise the right to select which brands have access to their data, as would 91% in the Middle East and India and APAC respectively.

Navigating Privacy and Personalisation
Although consumers are demonstrating fatigue around sharing personal data, they do continue to want personalised offers and incentives that are dependent on insights from prior brand engagements. But consumers do not feel that brands are successfully recognising them, as only 16% of European consumers agreed that the offers they receive from retailers are always personalised or always relevant. Similarly, only 22% of consumers agreed globally. However, 47% of global consumers indicated that it would be "awesome" to receive real-time offers based on what they've been browsing online. They also recognise the nuances in offers, with 75% of consumers believing that personalised offers from retailers are different to relevant offers.

Emerging Markets Embrace Innovation
Across the board, consumers in emerging markets (57% of respondents across Brazil, Chile, China, India and the Middle East) think in-store facial recognition, virtual sale assistants in fitting rooms, kiosks where you can upload an image of an item and get recommendations, and automatic replenishment based on subscription preferences are important compared to only 28% of consumers in Europe, Australia and North America.

Trends identified in emerging markets included:

    Forty-two percent of consumers think that virtual sales assistants in the fitting room are important to their retail experience compared to 45% of consumers in emerging markets and 20% of consumers in developed markets.
  • Middle East
    Consumers recognise the opportunity of facial recognition in their shopping experience: 59% believe using the technology to instantly recognise a loyalty member or be used as purchase security (57%) is important. Emerging markets also love the idea of being recognised with facial recognition technology to ensure purchase security (61%) while only 26% of consumers in developed markets share this enthusiasm.
  • India
    Sixty-one percent of consumers noted that they love the idea of deliveries by drone or driverless car - nearly double the statistic for consumers in developed markets (32%).
  • APAC
    Chinese consumers (57%) note that they view kiosks where you can upload an image of an item and get recommendations on similar items as important, more than double their peers in Australia (26%).
  • Across emerging markets consumers (64%) identified that they loved the idea of using virtual reality to navigate a personalised in-store experience with only 33% of consumers in developed markets agreeing on the potential of VR.

Visibility Needed In The Supply Chain
Consumers are demanding greater transparency into retailer operations, service history and supply chains. Over half (52%) of consumers state that a key influence on loyalty is knowing that retailers are acting sustainable. This is especially true for grocery (56%) and fashion (52%) shoppers that state knowing that retailers are acting sustainably and limiting their impact on the environment would influence their loyalty.

Consumers (54%) also expect to have visibility into store inventory and be able to research and reserve items for same day pick up in-store. If items are being delivered to their homes, a massive 72% of customers expect real-time updates on the location of an item throughout the delivery process.

The study also identified a new global expectation of service staff to be armed with more information than ever before. A majority of consumers (74% globally and in North America respectively) think knowledgeable in store staff are important to their brand experience. Consumers (58% globally and in North America respectively) also expect retailers to always know the reason for their returns. North American consumers have even greater expectations of retailers: 60% expect customer service teams to know the date of their original purchase and 57% expect teams to know the method of payment.

"As consumers question the benefit of sharing their information, research shows they want to receive offers that are both relevant and personalized while maintaining a level of anonymity. Retailers have the opportunity to deliver personalized incentives, converting an emotional response towards privacy into a meaningful interaction," said Mike Webster, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Oracle Retail. "As retailers address data privacy issues head-on, brands who reinvent their approach to consumer engagement, look towards attracting the right customers and recognise that capturing shoppers at the point of intent will drive increased engagement and retention."

The New Topography of Retail research was conducted in 2018 with over 15,500 consumers across five key regions: Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and UK), North America (Canada and USA), LATAM (Brazil, Chile and Mexico), Middle East (Saudi Arabia and UAE) & India and APAC (Australia and China).

The full report has been made available for free download here: