Online brands must respect consumers’ data privacy if they expect to build strong customer relationships, according to a recent study by SAP SE. They must also offer discounts and respond to queries within 24 hours.
Fifty-eight percent of consumers said the main reason for shopping online was convenience. Retailers are trying to improve the digital experience by learning more about consumers through data collection. Seventy-one percent of respondents said they are willing to part with information, such as email addresses and shopping history, they are less likely to provide their mobile number, real-time location or monthly income.
In return for data they do share, consumers expect retailers to protect their interests (72%), being transparent in how they use personal data (66%) and protect their privacy in the event of criminal investigations (60%).
Once consumers have shared personal data with their regularly visited online retailer, they expect a certain level of service in return as well. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said they expect customer service to respond within 24 hours, while 20% said they expect a response within an hour.
Consumers also expect personalized, exclusive experiences. Sixty-one percent chose receiving surprise perks and discounts as their preferred personalized experience. They said they appreciate receiving responses from retailers who have a full understanding of their history (53%), relevant product recommendations (43%) and value-added services (42%).
“The need for a strong customer relationship has been recognized in multiple industries, especially in retail, where consumers have an increasing number of options to choose from,” said Matthias Goehler, senior vice president and head of SAP Hybris Solutions at SAP. “To meet shopper needs, leading retailers are embracing business models that deliver a customer-centric culture in every department, not just sales and service. A single view of a customer’s profile, fueled with real-time insights, equips all employees to engage contextually and meaningfully with customers, so they feel the appreciation, no matter whom they talk to.”
If retailers breach the trust and respect it has built with a shopper, the relationship will be immediately damaged. The results revealed that consumers often will leave a brand if their personal data is used without their knowledge (79%). Just as harmful to the relationship is unresponsiveness to customer service queries and requests and receiving messages that are not relevant to the customer.
Half of the respondents to the survey said they were willing to give a retailer a second and third chance, with 50% abandoning brand loyalty only after the same mistake was made more than twice. Certain brand actions, such as sending too many marketing and sales emails, will begin to alienate a customer, with 61% of respondents saying they found it irritating.