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69% of consumers want an individualised customer experience yet only 40% of brands offer one 

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Consumers are sending a strong message to brands with 69% of consumers wanting an individualised experience, and two-thirds expecting it, and yet only 40% of brands actually offer one today.

So finds Me, Myself & I: The Individualisation Imperative a new study by Cloud IQ, which identifies customer experience pain-points and attitudes to data sharing and how brands are faring in the UK, US and Australia. This research explores how personalisation is not cutting it with consumers and as such how individualisation is emerging to benefit both consumers and brands.

Individualisation: the new frontier?

Consumers are not making it easy for brands, they have an appetite to engage across various touchpoints but are still wanting to be treated like an individual. To date, personalised marketing campaigns have been an important influence on online purchases, but increasingly consumers are shutting down on a personalised approach: marketing overload – 81% have unsubscribed from brand mailing lists because they get too many emails; frustrations over offers – offers expiring too quickly (36%), having to add more information (29%) and one third cited irrelevance.

Cloud IQ’s research illustrates that personalisation is not enough to satisfy consumers. As to what makes up a great online experience: the key contributors are – the Three Ss – Speed (94%), Seamlessness (92%) and a Sense of Control (91%), combined with an individualised experience (83%). Consumers define being treated as an individual as: being rewarded with highly relevant offers (77%), being remembered (60%), being listened to and understood (59%) and feeling in control (57%).

The personal data exchange

So, what is the trade off? Almost two-thirds of people (64%) recognise the value of their personal data as currency in exchange for a more individualised experience. However, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of this exchange, with 26% being “reluctant” and one-fifth being “enthusiastic” about brands using information they hold on them to create the best possible online experience.

The research identified over a quarter (28%) as “brand selective” – allowing a few brands to use their information – and 26% as “data selective”, whereby they would like to control the amount of data that brands use.

Nick Peart, Chief Marketing Officer at Cloud IQ, explains: “What this research has revealed is a personalisation paradox – brands thinking they are exceeding consumer expectations by offering curated content across multiple channels but this having the opposite effect and consumers switching off from the white noise. Marketers now need to go beyond personalisation and make a shift to individualisation – putting customers front and centre of their own experience. Individualisation may be the new frontier in marketing, but this will only be open to those brands that are highly focused on becoming trusted, transparent and expert in using personal data to deliver superior customer value.”

Trust in an age of inertia and irrelevance

The cornerstone of a personal data exchange – receiving great online experience in exchange for personal data – is trust. With GDPR on the horizon and power back in the hands of the consumer, brands need to be transparent about what data is being collected and for what purpose. Once GDPR comes into force in May 2018, over half (53%) say they would opt out selectively based on brands they trust.

However, despite the significant change in data legislation, in the UK, only 1 in 10 is aware of GDPR and what this means for them as a consumer. Two-thirds say they were unaware until now and 26% say they were aware but don’t understand what this means for them as a consumer.

For brands, the cost of not being transparent is high: 75% of consumers say they tend to give brands one chance and if trust is broken they will go elsewhere. If a brand was to use personal data in a way that was deemed inappropriate, almost half (47%) say they would never trust that brand again and one in five say it would take more than a year to regain that trust.

When it comes to who consumers trust online retailers rank highly, with over half of consumers (52%) saying they trust these completely or mostly. This is followed by banks, insurance and financial service providers (49%). The least trusted are travel / holidays / airlines (37%) and mobile, broadband or media providers (38%).

Get it right and reap the rewards

Those brands that provide meaningful experiences, individualised content and real-time, relevant offers to their customers are likely to see positive business outcomes as a result. Consumers say they would feel more valued as a customer (71%), say more positive things about the brand to others (70%), be more likely to buy from them (70%), trust them more (64%) and spend more money with that brand (61%).

Consumers also want to specify the types of data that people are most happy for brands to use to get a great online experience. The most popular being product preferences (85%), whilst people are least happy for brands to use identity data (44%).

Peart continues: “We see a huge opportunity for brands here. Consumers are looking to them for a fast, seamless experience and are also calling out to them to be treated as true individuals via meaningful and relevant experiences. GDPR [General Data Protection Regulations] gives consumers the opportunity to press the reset button on their own data, brands who are willing to build trust with their customers by translating personal data into customer value are the ones who will claim this frontier and will make gains in terms of reputation, loyalty, spend and a willingness for customers to share even more data.”

Cloud IQ’s effortless commerce platform is based on real-time behavioural and inventory-driven data to enable brands to engage effectively and dynamically with consumers tracking over 400 million ecommerce customer interactions every month. With Cloud IQ, global brands such as Samsung, EE and TUI, are able to act on real-time insight of their customers to build lifetime value and loyalty.


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