It was a marketing tactic that when first introduced often freaked internet shoppers out. Although product recommendations still surprise some consumers, most have realised that this is not some big brother happening, but a modern marketing technique that can benefit them.
Evidence of this trend can be found in new research that shows how shoppers are increasingly appreciating it, in the US at least. The survey asked US consumers about their views on personalisation and product recommendations in email and on websites.
From the 2,000 US consumers that were polled as part of the study, almost three quarters (72%) admitted to opening and reading promotional emails from retailers – in early December last year.
Using historical data
It showed that 80% found personalisation useful to receive emails featuring products based on past purchases and 71% to receive emails featuring products based on online browsing behaviour (71%).
More than two thirds (69%) also valued online retargeting ads featuring products previously viewed on a retailer’s website and a similar proportion (67%) liked getting product recommendations on a retailer’s website while shopping.
Marketers often struggle with how frequently to email their customers to get the right balance between gentle persuasion and simple pestering. The results showed that 44% of Americans who open and read promotional emails from retailers said they received five or more emails per week from their favourite retailers, while one in five (21%) said they received nine or more weekly.
Yet it seems marketers are already in danger of annoying consumers – the survey showed that only 21% found it acceptable to receive five or more emails from the same retailer a week – even if it was from their favourite.
In reality shoppers often behave differently, though, according to Listrak CEO Ross Kramer.“When asked how many emails they want to receive, subscribers tend to say fewer although their actions prove otherwise,” he said.
However, personalisation does help customers cut through the fat when trying to decide on a product. “Shoppers are on-the-go and often time-challenged, and the number and variety of products online can be daunting, so they truly value when a retailer shows its familiarity with their individual personal preferences, current interests and purchase history to present them with products they are mostly likely to be interested in and to want to purchase,” said Kramer.