ReachFive research highlights value exchange key to online consumer shopping experience - The EE

ReachFive research highlights value exchange key to online consumer shopping experience

Russell Loarridge of ReachFive

7 December 2021 – The enforced lockdowns imposed during COVID-19 changed consumer buying behaviour, with people forced to shop online for essential and non-essential goods alike.

However, as ReachFive‘s UK and European consumer research confirms, for many online-only retailers, this change looks unlikely to be a permanent shift. Launched, the study of 2000+ consumers highlights fundamental pain points and frustrations with the ecommerce experience that retailers must address to convince these ‘online doubters’ to stay. At its core lies a concern over the exchange of and use of personal information. 

The study’s key findings include:

  1. Consumers (54%) are far happier to share personal information if they are clear on what it will be used for;
  2. Timing is everything when asking consumers to create online shopping accounts: 36% of UK respondents are likely to abandon the buying journey when asked to create an account up-front to access a site;
  3. Consumers (67%) are reluctant to share personal information online if they perceive a lack of transparency in how their data will be used;

In addition, the ReachFive study revealed interesting comparisons between UK and European consumers. While 53% of British shoppers stated they prefer the online experience, compared to only 46% of French consumers surveyed, UK respondents are significantly more impatient with account creation than their French counterparts and also have far less faith in brands’ ability to handle their data correctly (25% compared to 15%). This suggests that retailers addressing a UK audience need to streamline their account creation process and be far more transparent in communicating their intentions to shoppers.

Recommendations include:

  1. Personalised benefits should be offered to consumers who participate in a fair trade for data they are willing to disclose;
  2. This ‘give to get’ system should offer exclusive benefits (discounts, access to new products, preferred delivery…) based on individual customer preferences to improve their shopping experience.
  3. Tell the customers what you are going to use their data for, specifically how it benefits them.

Russell Loarridge, director, ReachFive UK, comments, “Unless pure-play ecommerce retailers make fairly significant changes to the way in which they treat consumers’ personal information, it will only be a short matter of time before they lose the ground they gained over the last two years back to the high street. 

“The onus is on retailers to find a fair, balanced system for customer identity and access management, with a genuinely, mutually beneficial exchange of data in return for personalised benefits and an improved consumer experience. The key is to empower consumers with direct control over their identity data to allow a frictionless experience for customers, whilst at the same time enabling brands to maximise the usage and potential of insights drawn.”

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