Retail in Asia

In Trends

HK retailers fail to harness the power of data to improve customer engagement

Hong Kong Customer Shopping Experience Retailers ICLP study - Retail in Asia

Brands are caught in a vicious cycle when it comes to building a relationship with their customers. According to a recent study conducted by global loyalty marketing agency ICLP, a majority of Hong Kong consumers do not expect to get anything in return for sharing their personal details with only 9% reporting that their shopping, payment and delivery preferences are recalled and used by retailers.

“The reason for this is either because retailers might not be able to collect enough personal data or they don’t harness the data they have to improve customer engagement. Collecting data is one thing, but drawing insights to create a meaningful dialogue with customers is critical to trigger action,” comments Mary English, Executive Vice President-APAC at ICLP.

Brands fail to harness the power of data

Customers currently do not believe that retailers will deliver much when it comes to personalisation, whether it is providing product recommendations or remembering their favourite way to pay, according to the ICLP study.

· Only 9% of Hong Kong shoppers say that brands remember their shopping, payment and delivery preferences

· Only 9% say that brands remember their past purchase

· Just 10% are given personalised shopping recommendations

· Only 10% are given offers relevant to them

· As few as 12% find that retailers remember their birthday (perhaps the most basic level of customer recognition)

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The study revealed that 88% of Hong Kong shoppers say that they do not think that they will get anything in return for sharing their personal details with retailers – this is the highest percentage of the Asia-Pacific markets surveyed compared with 78% of shoppers in Singapore and 67% in China. The conclusion, based on this feedback, is Hong Kong consumers lack passion and excitement for receiving a brand’s information. The risk for a brand is that these consumers will ignore its communications, considering them irrelevant, and seek excitement elsewhere. Without that passion and the personalised dialogue, there is limited opportunity for the brand to improve its relationship with its customers or to surprise and delight them, and thus inspire them to shop more often or make impulse purchases.

To create an intimate relationship with customers, brands have to make sure they capture data across all channels. The data collected should not be limited to personal details, but also include social activities, and payment and delivery preferences. Customers realise the importance of their personal information and expect to benefit from providing it. Brands should therefore respect the data consumers provide, and reward them for sharing their information by offering discounts, offers or other rewards, and use the data collected in an effective way that actually delivers real benefits to the customer.

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Mary commented: “These findings reveal that Hong Kong customers don’t expect much from retailers by sharing their personal details. These particularly notable figures compared to the APAC territories and countries surveyed are certainly an action signal for brands to review their customer engagement strategy. Retailers need to respect the customers’ personal data by providing relevant, real-time experiences based on their shopping behaviour and incorporate elements of surprise and delight to drive customer devotion.

Brands should have a cohesive engagement strategy with data architecture for a single view of their customer to continually gather insights to strengthen their relationship with their customers. Harnessing personal, transactional and social data gathered at point of sale and from social platforms enables brands to understand customers’ shopping, payment and delivery preferences. With these data analytics, brands are then able to provide personalised experiences, build emotional connections with their customers as well as identify demand trends for use in product development.

In order to build stronger relationships with customers, brands need to be smarter in the way that they use and reward personal data. A devoted relationship requires intimacy, passion and commitment according to Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love. Delivering unique and tailored experiences helps build both passion, by delivering something customers will really value, and intimacy, by communicating when they expect it and through their choice of channel.”