Retailers See the Promise of Personalization—and the Hurdles, Too  

‘Amazon effect’ raises consumer expectations

Author: eMarketer Editors

April 5, 2017

Most retailers are persuaded of the value of personalization and have made at least some effort to make personalized offerings to shoppers. But many are struggling to get beyond entry-level tactics.

“Personalization has been an elusive vision for marketers,” said Yory Wurmser, author of a new eMarketer report on personalization in retail. (Subscribers to eMarketer PRO can access the full report here.)

Netflix, Google and Amazon have sharply raised customer expectations for a personalized experience. Of these three, Amazon has probably done the most to change consumers’ baseline expectations. An October 2016 survey of US internet users by OneSpot and Marketing Insider Group showed that 55% of respondents said Amazon provided the best personalized experience, compared with Google at 39% and Facebook at 38%. No other retailers made the list.

eMarketer spoke with a range of retail insiders over the past seven months and found accelerating activity in personalization.

Even companies that have personalization in place are seeking to step up their game. “Personalization has been a priority for a while at eBay,” said David Doctorow, head of global growth at eBay. “Now we’re trying for a much higher degree of granularity than we have ever conceived in the past.”

Listen to analyst Yory Wurmser talk about the challenges of personalization in retail in a new episode of eMarketer’s podcast, “Behind the Numbers.”