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Online customers not persuaded by personalised suggestions and recommendations

The efforts many retailers have made to enhance and personalise the online shopping experience maybe missing the mark with Australian consumers.  New research from Power Retail has shown that 69% of shoppers feel that personalised suggestions and pop-up recommendations don’t influence their overall purchases.

Each month Power Retail produce their monthly Trajectory report drawn from benchmarking data of over 10 million sessions per month. This data encompasses a broad cross-section of Australian online retailers and is combined with monthly survey data from 1,000 consumers.

David Fear, Head of Data at Power Retail

In designing personalised shopping experiences, the focus for a number of brands has been on generating upsell and cross-sell opportunities rather than improving the experience for customers. David Fear, Head of Data at Power Retail comments, “Through our research, we’re seeing is a bit of a disconnect. On one hand consumers are telling us that they want their experience to be fast and seamless and they want a site to help them find what they need. On the other hand, we continually see focus from retailers on personalisation”.

Making the shopping experience fast and easy

The report found that 47% of shoppers are time poor and stated clear visuals and descriptions are the website features most important to them, with 73% stating the Search function their most-used feature, “Where retailers get the best results is where they are able to blend those two considerations in a way where personalisation doesn’t become such a jarring experience.  Instead of just using it to cross-sell or upsell products that they want to sell, retailers are able to integrate it into their search results to display products that are more likely to be aligned with what a particular consumer is looking for”, says Fear. 

Rather than personalised recommendations or suggestions consumers want an experience that saves them time and effort as well as money. “With all of our research, when we ask consumers what they want, there’s always a common theme: they want anything that helps them save time or make it easier to find and buy the products that they’re interested in”.

Returns policies are critical

“The other thing we constantly hear concerns delivery costs. Delivery costs are one of the biggest friction points for Aussie consumers. We get a lot of people saying they’re looking for delivery calculators or trying to find information on delivery thresholds and returns policies when they buy online”.

Customers look for convenience in their shopping, and online retailers have the opportunity to offer this through clear, easy website experiences. Fear says, “Clear product details and all things that help them do comparisons is really important.  Returns policies are also really important. If the customer knows they can return something in stores creates a lot of confidence when the consumer buys online. It’s actually one of the key drivers for cart abandonment if the customer doesn’t believe or trust that the retailer can give them a good returns process”.

Fear strongly recommends for retailers to have click and collect available, he says, “Click and collect is becoming a very desired feature for online shopping. There’s been a huge growth in click and collect, which is telling me is that even if the customer is going to go to the store to pick something up they prefer to complete the purchase online. While that’s not the majority, we have seen a pretty dramatic increase in the number of people saying that is how they prefer to buy”.

Other findings from the research include:

  • 41% of consumers said they find pop-up notifications annoying, and only 5% find them helpful
  • 60% of customers prefer to do their shopping online at with only 24% preferring to buy in-store.  
  • If stock is unavailable, 76% of shoppers admitted that they will just give up on a purchase rather than search for a similar item elsewhere
  • Buying online for specific events has risen 6% from 2022, which may indicate a growing trust that online purchases will arrive promptly for time-sensitive occasions.

Mark Atterby

Mark Atterby has 18 years media, publishing and content marketing experience.