In a data-rich world, effective use of consumer information plays a powerful role in connecting like-minded people and forging strong communities and brand advocates.

Shoppers are willing to share their information with brands and retailers when it is made clear to them what they’ll receive in return. Research indicates that discount offers are the highest incentive, with 68% of shoppers stating they would like to receive discounts in return for sharing personal information. The second most desirable incentive is access to special events (25%) followed by product or service previews (21%).1

While incentives add value for shoppers, information exchange must also occur through content tailored to suit the individual’s preferred method of communication, selected frequency and interests. Overwhelmingly, email is the preferred communication channel for consumers with 79% indicating it is the best form of communication from retailers.

3 things that shoppers want to see more of in the area of information exchange

To assess the area of information exchange, we spoke to a number of shoppers to find out how they would like retailers to manage and use their consumer information. Below are the top four recommendations.

1. Community

Facilitate bringing like-minded shoppers together through activities and events, online communities or clubs. For example: Mitre 10 hosts Do-It-Yourself ladies nights, bringing together women sharing common interests to offer them advice and guidance through hands-on events and demonstrations.

2. Transparency

Provide customers with up-front information on the benefits of joining your database and clearly outline what their information is being used for. For example: Supercheap Auto has a popular VIP program that clearly outlines at the outset the benefits in joining. If a product a customer purchases goes on sale within two weeks, they will credit the difference to the customer’s VIP account.

3. Channel and frequency

Give customers the option to determine how and when they are contacted by you and abide by these boundaries. Shoppers indicated they couldn’t cite an example of a retailer doing this well. This is an opportunity to be an industry leader by communicating with shoppers when and how they want.

“I think that growing interaction online, especially with social media, means that people are looking to share stories and belong to communities. ” – Anne, female shopper Western Australia
1AMP Capital, Recommended Retail Practice Report, September 2014