Consumers in the US want more a better shopping experience by means of personalised offers based on their demographics and past purchases, and they are willing to reward retailers who succeed with greater spending, according to a Back-to-School season survey from marketing personalisation provider Monetate. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

Traditional offers such as free shipping and discounts may be very effective in attracting new customers, but they often impact overall profitability by lowering profit margins. They also do very little to cement customers' loyalty. But adding a solid personalisation strategy, the company suggests, can yield much greater profitability and more loyal shoppers.

The study, conducted in partnership with Researchscape International, surveyed US consumers with at least one child under the age of 23, with 85% of the 536 respondents being the primary householder responsible for back-to-school shopping. It found that, although online shopping in general has increased in recent years, back-to-school shopping remains mostly in-store, rather than online. More than half (56%) said they had shopped for their children at bricks-and-mortar stores, compared to only 20% who had shopped online, and only 7% using mobile apps.

Nearly half of all shoppers surveyed (48%) said they made their back-to-school purchases in August, while 38% shopped in July, 12% in June, and 2% at the last minute in September.

Interestingly, the study also found that 60% of consumers would welcome more personalised offers, and those shopping for middle-school children were the most receptive to such offers. Additionally, 78% said they were open to receiving product recommendations from retailers, suggesting that - when done properly by the retailer - personalisation can drive greater sales and higher overall profitability.

"It's clear that consumers welcome personalisation for their back-to-school shopping and those retailers that embrace personalisation will be the big winners, not just for back-to-school sales, but by building sustainable, loyal customer relationships," said Brian O'Neill, Chief Technology Officer for Monetate.