Give Consumers a Personal Touch; The Benefits to Chatbots

RetailTechNews’ weekly roundup brings you up-to-date research findings from around the world. In this week’s edition: Give Consumers a Personal Touch; The Benefits of Chatbots; and Bad CX Affects Loyalty

Give Consumers a Personal Touch

Retailers need to change their marketing outreach or risk alienating their customers, according to data from Ometria. Three-quarters of respondents (75%) feel most retailers don’t understand their interests: the few retailers that are getting this right are setting a high bar for other retailers to follow.

Despite the onset of GDPR and consumer concern over data misuse, the research found that 52% of respondents would be willing to hand over personal data in return for more relevant offers and product information. Women are especially comfortable with this, with 58% happy to give retailers their personal data, compared to 46% of men.

Women are also more likely to respond positively to a personalised offer – with 28% feeling ‘very valued’ when they receive a personalised offer, compared to 19% of men. However, according to Ometria’s research, 46% neither care nor don’t care about use of their first name, suggesting that consumers have bigger expectations around personalisation than the simple use of their first name in communication.

Every customer prefers a different approach. While overall respondents chose email as their preferred communication method, among 16-24s nearly 1-in-3 (31%) opted for Instagram – although email still came out on top in this age group at 40%. Among those aged 25-34, the level choosing Instagram more than halved when compared to 16-24s, at 15%.

The Benefits of Chatbots

Customer enquiries are placing a heavy load on businesses, according to research by LogMeIn and Vanson Bourne. According to the study, 68% of businesses admit their agents struggle with the volume of customer enquiries.

This means that less than half (49%) of customer enquiries are resolved during the first interaction. Despite this, 65% of businesses would not replace customer service agents with bots. Instead, if they could reduce the number of enquiries, they would retrain staff to handle different or additional tasks.

On the other hand, consumers are not averse to interacting with chatbots. Almost three-quarters (74%) of consumers see the benefits of using chatbots, but only 32% believe that leveraging a chatbot in some capacity – either alone or with the assistance of a human agent – provides the best results.

That said, it looks as though AI is still going to play a big role in the future of customer experience. Over half (54%) of consumers and 76% of businesses believe artificial intelligence is changing customer experience for the better.

Bad CX Affects Loyalty

Over two-fifths (42%) of shoppers prefer to shop in-store, as opposed to online, according to a study by Profitect. A further 34% prefer to shop in-store and online equally, while only 23% indicated they prefer to shop online only.

The main reason shoppers are leaning towards online commerce is a lack of excellent in-store experience. According to the survey, 67% of respondents indicated that the factor that mostly prompts them to add more items to their shopping basket is their feelings at the time. Beyond that, 40% of respondents said in-store displays influence them to add items to their basket. In a nod to the importance of retailers’ omni-channel presence, 33% noted that online and in-store advertisements influence them to add items to their basket.

When asked what holds the most influence on choosing to shop at a particular store over another, 48% of Gen Z respondents selected convenient location. Additionally, more than half of respondents (65%) said that the most convenient method of returning an item they purchased online was to go into the store.

The survey results highlight that Gen Z shoppers may not place a significant emphasis on in-store associates as an influencer to buy, unless they had a negative experience. More than half of the total respondents (57%) said that poor customer service would be the biggest reason for them to stop shopping at a favourite retailer.