Swirl Finds Shoppers’ Pleas For Store Personalization Remain Unanswered

Amazon’s picks and discovery has left an indelible mark on consumers’ expectations.

Swirl's Hilmi Ozguc
Swirl’s Hilmi Ozguc

Despite the mainstreaming of mobile marketing tools, most store customers feel their retail experience continues to lack the same satisfaction and ease of online shopping, a survey of 1,000 consumers by proximity platform Swirl finds.

The study contends that very few retailers are provided a seamless shopping experience across in-store, online, and mobile, even as “omnichannel” tools web-to-shop pickup have gained considerable attention this year. Furthermore, Swirl posits that retailers that “continue to push irrelevant content, ads and offers risk alienating consumers and losing business to competitors.”

Specifically, a mere quarter of the 1,000 people who participated in Swirl’s survey said that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers regularly demonstrate an understanding of their individual preferences and needs.

In contrast, the years of Amazon and Cyber Monday deals have trained consumers to think differently about the tradeoffs in sharing purchase history in order to get what they want by using multiple channels.

“Amazon continues to be the clear leader in understanding individual consumer preferences and delivering highly-personalized shopping experiences,” said Hilmi Ozguc, founder and CEO of Swirl. In comparison, consumer experiences with traditional retailers are simply falling short – and that’s impacting both loyalty and sales. Mastering omnichannel marketing needs to be a top retailer priority in 2016. Beacon technology will play a pivotal role in bridging the physical and digital worlds so that retailers can deliver more relevant and personalized experiences across all consumer touch points.”

Swirl Consumer Data Outreach ChartsThe contrast between shoppers’ view of Amazon and traditional retail is striking, as Swirl notes that 56 percent of consumers say that Amazon demonstrates an understanding of their individual preferences and needs on a regular basis, compared to 25 percent of retailers who provide a similar level of attentiveness.

Swirl breaks the retail satisfaction and personalization picture down by category:

  • Grocery: 38 percent
  • Big Box: 35 percent
  • Pharmacy/Drug Stores: 29 percent
  • Specialty Retailers: 25 percent
  • Department Stores: 24 percent
  • Warehouse Clubs: 24 percent
  • Off-price retailers: 20 percent

Part of the problem is that retailers are bombarding consumers with what shoppers perceive of as useless content and messages that do not accurately relate to their desired products and services:

  • 79 percent of the mobile content and ads they see from retailers are irrelevant
  • 78 percent of the online content and ads they see from retailers are irrelevant

75 percent of the emails and offers they receive from retailers are irrelevant75 percent of the time in-store sales associates fail to demonstrate that they understand the shopper’s needs/preferences

The last section of the survey also drives home a point that other analysts, such as last year’s Accenture Retail survey of 750 U.S. consumers that told retailers blankly, if they want to win consumer loyalty and achieve growth across all channels, stores must must enhance their mobile commerce offerings if they are to improve the in-store shopping experience.

Swirl’s survey highlights the overwhelmingly positive results from retailers that deliver seamless and personalized, cross-channel experiences:

  • 88 percent of consumers said that more personalized and connected online, mobile and in-store experiences would increase their likelihood to shop at that retailer
  • 87 percent of consumers said that more personalized and connected online, mobile and in-store experiences would increase their loyalty to a retail brand
About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.