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Study: Retailers Still Falling Short of Customer Expectations When it Comes to Providing a Personalized Customer Experience

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - May 31, 2016) - Despite retailers' increased emphasis on delivering a personalized customer experience across channels, most consumers still see their shopping journeys as marred by inconsistency and impersonal service offerings, according to new findings from TimeTrade, the leading provider of appointment-driven personalization.

Indeed, the divide between consumers' needs and retailers' focus remains wide: 93% of retail decision makers say service personalization is a strategic focus, while only one-quarter of consumers feel they receive a consistent, personal experience across channels.

TimeTrade recently surveyed 100 C-level retail executives to gain a better understanding about the role of personalized experiences in retail. TimeTrade researchers gauged retail executives' perceptions and plans around personalization and customer experience. The survey revealed that most retail decision makers (69%) believe their organizations already provide a consistent personalized experience for every customer. These numbers contrast markedly with data from TimeTrade's recent State of Retail 2016 survey, which found that only 26% of customers feel they receive a personalized retail experience across channels.

The complete Personalization White Paper can be accessed here.

These studies highlight a major perception disconnect between retailers and consumers, as well as a significant divide between consumers' desires and retailers' focus. Retailers are missing a valuable opportunity to address consumer concerns and deliver a "concierge" style experience that meets their demands for fast, personalized service.

Other key findings from the white paper include:

  • A mere 23% of retail decision makers plan to undertake initiatives for personalization in the next 18 months, while 8% plan to do nothing at all.

  • Among organizations planning improvements, training store associates was noted as the top priority (83%).

  • In terms of experience improvement, the physical store is a top priority for retailers, with 45% of decision makers ranking it ahead of other channels. Social media came in second at 19%, web experience at 14% and call centers at 11%.

  • In contrast, 51% of consumers ranked call centers as having the poorest experience, followed by in-store with 26% of the vote and social with 23%.

  • When asked if they would be willing to schedule in-store appointments with a store associate, 59% of consumers said yes.

"While today's retailers seem to recognize the importance of delivering a personalized cross-channel experience, it's clear that their approach is not resonating with shoppers or meeting their growing expectations," said Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade. "Today's shoppers are more demanding than ever before. To remain successful in this environment, brands must work to better understand consumer demands and reexamine and evolve their approach to ensure that service is prompt, personalized and consistent across channels."

About TimeTrade
TimeTrade provides an appointment-driven personalization solution to consumer retail, retail banking, health and wellness, higher education and telecom customers. TimeTrade's appointment-centric customer experience solution enables customers to convert digital first touch interactions into a high-value, in-person meeting. TimeTrade has driven more than 400 million connections between consumers and businesses, directly translating into more than $3 billion in commerce every year.

Follow TimeTrade on Twitter at @timetrade