Customers Want You to Track Them Says SDL Tridion Survey
While it’s mildly annoying to have a flock of sales associates approach you the second you step into a store, but apparently consumers don’t mind the special attention when they’re shopping on the Internet.

This is especially important to note when you consider numbers like 74, which, according to a recent survey from SDL Tridion (news, site), is the percentage of people who actually like it when businesses mine their personal shopping information.

Stay at Home Shoppers

SDL Tridion’s survey titled ‘What the Customer Wants'  features the collective answers of 1,000 UK consumers. The key findings suggest that the recession has done interesting things to our shopping habits, including cause more people to hunt for the best bargains from the comfort of their own home. More specifically, the survey reports that 30% of Internet users shop online more than they did before.

As a result, ratings for customer stalking (better known as tracking customer data) have gone up, up, up:

  • When browsing content or shopping online, a whopping 74% of Internet users said that they value customer loyalty schemes which offer discounts based on their personal shopping habits more highly than other features
  • Over half (51%) of Internet users say that their decision of where to shop online would be swayed by a vendor offering one of these schemes
  • 45% of Internet users think it’s important that websites e-mail them with updates on products or services that cater to their specific preferences or interests (go Amazon!) and 45% would like to see suggestions for other products or services of interest while they browse

Tradition Shmadition

On the flip side, these survey participants reported that the old-school ways of advertising (unsolicited pop-ups and e-mails) are doing the sites that employ them dirty. In fact, 84% of the survey participants said that such tactics would make them less likely to visit the website again.

This is important information for the future, as a current 66% of Internet users expect to view content specifically catered to their interests. Moreover, 41% say that in addition to being “stalked,” they’d also dig it if their information was saved. Or, in less creepy words, they’d be more inclined to shop online with a vendor that allowed them to create a personal shopping profile that stored their information, browsing habits and past purchases.

The Moral of the Story

Consumers want to save money, and the recession has highlighted that in a big way. The emphasis on penny pinching has no doubt played a large role in contributing to making shoppers more sophisticated; more complicated. The survey shows that nowadays companies willing to reward their consumers with relevant offers and updates are going to get the customer loyalty that they need, as well as attract newcomers.

Of course, the approach is not without its downfalls; that customer information often sits unstructured in silos makes it extremely difficult to piece together. But obviously taking into account the results of SDL Tridion’s survey is worthwhile, especially in these highly volatile conditions.

For all the vendors out there, perhaps it’s time to stop hating on the phrase ‘Big Brother’ and start putting more effort into quelling the fears surrounding privacy issues. After all, most people still don’t see the benefit of sharing their information and, understandably, tend to be hesitant with putting it all out there.