How Personalization, Customization and Mobile are Changing Consumer Expectations

By the Editors

In today’s increasingly mobile-device-dependent world, consumers are demanding a new kind of retail that has been dubbed “good for me” retail. The experience needs to be global in its reach but very localized in terms of the consumer’s needs and expectations. Computer technology giant Oracle should know; it conducted a research study of consumers to find out what  they’re really looking for in their retail experiences. Here’s what the study found, and how it might affect your own mobile market research efforts.

Consumers want companies to create retail experiences for them that take into account their local context and culture, and that are appropriate to their individual preferences in terms of frequency of contact and level of intimacy. The overall opinion of consumers indicates that Amazon is a company that has successfully shown how to harness the information it gathers from its customers to then create tailored retail experiences that are good for them.

Excellent customer service is in high demand among these consumers, and it needs to be evident in every interaction a customer has with any store associate. By the same token, poor service experiences are likely to be shared through social networks and have the potential to take negative feedback viral. For online consumers, an overarching concern is to be able to shop anytime and from anywhere.

Mobile and social channels are not necessarily on the top  in terms of options (yet), but they are clearly growing very rapidly. Consumers who have gone mobile in retail shopping expect offers and deals to be highly personalized to their preferences and delivered to their mobile devices. But they also want the option of a single shopping basket that spans channels and platforms. The key is to make sure they have access to a full array of options.

So what does all this mean in terms of leveraging mobile technologies in your company’s market research efforts? First and foremost, it means you need to be gathering the data that reveals what kind of retail experience your customers are looking for. It is important to differentiate between customers that use their mobile devices as part of their shopping experience and those who do not. Do your customers want to use their mobile devices primarily for research purposes before and/or while shopping in stores? Do they want to receive special deals and offers through their mobile devices? Do they want to shop via a mobile-optimized website? These are just a few of the questions you need to explore if you’re going to meet your customers where they’re at.

Start by offering your known mobile customers an incentive for participating in survey opportunities that will reward them for sharing. Then use more traditional research methods to reach out to customers who are not as mobile-engaged to find out why that is the case. Along the way you should be able to find ways to strategically ramp up your mobile opted-in base. As you grow your knowledge of what your customers are looking for through mobile market research, you’ll be better equipped to make informed, data-driven decisions on new campaigns and strategies that will increase engagement and revenues.