New Sailthru + Coresight research report reveals retailers and consumers agree that personalization matters, but few retail marketers actually excel.

Marigold Engage by Sailthru, a Marigold brand and the leading personalized marketing automation technology provider for retailers and publishers, announced today the results of its retailer and consumer survey with Coresight Research, which reveals the critical importance of personalization at every touchpoint throughout the retail experience. The study was conducted as part of Sailthru’s Retail Personalization Index, a comprehensive analysis of the omnichannel and personalization capabilities of top retailers, which launched on March 30. As customer engagement becomes even harder to capture in today’s market, the new findings reinforce the need to implement a strategic, data-driven value exchange that not only improves personalization and the overall experience, but retailers’ competitive advantage as well.

The results from this Sailthru + Coresight research report indicate that consumers will share data to get more from retailers — when online and in-store — creating immediate and strategic opportunities for an enhanced value exchange:

  • 80% of consumers are willing to share personal data to earn loyalty program benefits.
  • 70% of consumers are willing to share their data to receive special discounts and offers.
  • 71% of consumers will shop more often with brands or retailers that personalize their communications.

“The willingness of consumers to share data in exchange for value should serve as a wake-up call for retailers to build more engaging marketing and data collection strategies. With new policies limiting current data collection methods, now is the time for retailers to pivot to zero- and first-party focused strategies that improve outcomes, such as from machine learning, predictive modeling, and other advanced AI-based methodologies,” said Jason Grunberg, GM of Sailthru. “If retailers elevate their efforts to meet consumers’ expectations for custom content and experiences, and treat personalization as a strategic priority, they will see immediate benefits that deliver long-term effects.”

Marketers must continue to improve their personalization capabilities. Although nearly all (98%) are using some personalized tactics currently, including predictive personalization and email send-time personalization, marketers need to elevate their strategies further in order to impress — and win over — consumers. Aligning personalization efforts to key channels including website and email is now table stakes, and a critical component to future strategy:

  • Reality of Personalization Performance: While 71% of retailers think they excel in personalization in marketing, only 34% of consumers agree.
  • Email Remains Top Channel: Retailers surveyed cite email as the fourth-most important channel for personalization, while consumers placed email as the second-most important. 
  • Social Platforms Deliver Lower Impact: 23% of retailers and brands surveyed view social media as a top channel for personalization compared to only 11% of consumers.
  • Value of Underutilized Touchpoints: Providing personalization in areas that are rated poorly for customer experience, such as shipping and fulfillment, could provide measurable improvement for retailers.

The Marigold Engage by Sailthru + Coresight research report also found a lack of consumer knowledge around data privacy. Although 64% of consumers noted they are concerned about data privacy, many are not fully aware of various data privacy laws and protections; for example, only 39% are aware of Apple’s mail privacy protection. With this juxtaposition, brands can educate consumers about their data privacy rights and provide the necessary value to build loyalty and also ensure consumers are more willing to share data for even better, personalized experiences.

“Personalization has emerged as a critical component of both marketing and retail customer experience. Consumers are aware of its value and expect the next level in experience across key channels, including website and email,” said Ken Fenyo, President of Research & Advisory at Coresight Research. “So far, marketers have largely adopted personalization in a channel-specific manner, and now must integrate personalization strategy with a much more holistic approach that delivers real value to consumers in order to stay competitive.”

Sailthru + Coresight Research Report Methodology
The study combines results from three original surveys conducted by Coresight Research. Coresight Research fielded a consumer personalization survey in October 2021, gathering responses from 5,014 consumers aged 18–84 based in the US and the UK in a split representative of the ratio of the national populations (4:1). Also in October 2021, Coresight Research fielded a retailer personalization survey, gathering responses from 260 brands and retailers that have an online presence and are based in the US and the UK in a split representative of the ratio of the national populations (4:1), surveyed in October 2021. In December 2021, Coresight Research fielded a consumer privacy survey, gathering responses from 1,002 consumers aged 18–84 based in the US and the UK in a 50:50 split.