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Most Shoppers Are Unimpressed With Your Attempts at Personalization

Every online seller’s goal is to put the right product in front of the right customer at just the right time, but data released by SAP indicates you probably aren’t doing it right—and could be missing out on sales in addition to alienating shoppers who have more choices than ever.

Online, e-commerce firms walk a delicate tightrope balancing those plentiful options with intimate personalization. Sure, they want to expose as much of their product catalog as possible, but brands  also must ensure they’re presenting the goods with the greatest chance of resulting in a sale.

SAP Customer Experience surveyed 20,000 consumers across 24 countries for its Consumer Propensity Study, which uncovered lackluster efforts when it comes to online product recommendations. Relatively few (25 percent) find product suggestions interesting or relevant nearly all or most of the time, consumers told SAP. Fewer Japanese (14 percent) and U.S. (17 percent) shoppers said they regularly encounter recommended items that match their interest and intent, but it’s even worse for those in the U.K., where just 6 percent are exposed to relevant suggestions on a regular basis.

Armed with more personalization tools at their disposal than ever before, brands have little excuse for failing to serve up what shoppers want to see, said Chris Hauca, SAP Commerce Cloud’s head of strategy and go to market. “There’s a striking gap in what consumers are seeing as they navigate online marketplaces,” Hauca said. “Brands too often miss the link that bridges consumer behavioral data—complete with context and intent—with the back-end supply chain.”

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With the festive season on the horizon, brands and retailers must achieve a holistic view of the customer to “enable meaningful recommendations and unique shopping experiences,” Hauca added.

Global consumers probably can agree on the biggest things they dislike about shopping online, but specific pressure points, challenges and desires vary wildly from one country to the next.

Unexpectedly steep delivery fees will cause Brazilian customers to abandon ship, 70 percent told SAP. Straightforward exchanges and returns would go a long way toward making for a better online buying experience, according to 66 percent of British consumers. Maybe they just want to know they’re getting the right bang for their buck, but most Russians (60 percent) prize comparison shopping tools as the means for bettering the digital path to purchase.

Thai people, it turns out, are techies at heart. More than half (51 percent) are interested in seeing augmented and virtual reality installed on retail websites so they can visualize products in something resembling real life before clicking the buy button.