Almost half (49%) of UK consumers think personalisation is important, however there are conflicting views as to what actually constitutes a personalised service.

The Oracle report, which surveyed 538 UK adults, asked respondents what they define as good and bad service, with reference to both online and offline retail.

It also asked how respondents define personalisation, with 40% saying it meant receiving offers/discounts to their smartphone based on their preferences while not in-store, while just over a third (36%) said it meant receiving the same type of offers while in-store.

A further 29% said they thought it meant being able to access a single shopping basket across channels.

I have previously investigated which of the top UK retailers offer a single shopping basket across different channels and found that only Amazon, M&S and Tesco currently join up their mobile apps and desktop sites in this way.

However it’s not something that is immediately obvious unless you’re actively looking for it, and in all honesty I suspect that Oracle’s survey slightly overstates the importance of a joined up basket as it was a prompted question.

Looking at the responses that specifically refer to online retailers, almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) said they value a quick and easy returns process, while just over half said they value a simple, integrated returns process across channels and flexible delivery options (both 54%).

This supports previous data from comScore which found that when asked what aspect of online shopping consumers wanted to improve, 58% chose free or discounted shipping.

This was followed by ease of returns/exchanges (42%), and variety of brands/products and online tracking ability (both 38%).

For more information on this topic, check out our blog post listing 14 best practice tips for handling online returns.

Oracle’s survey also asked what types of communication customers want to receive from retailers.

The most popular response was order and delivery updates (58%), followed by information about products and services (44%), though a further 43% said they only want to be contacted when they have instigated the conversation.

When asked about what defines bad customer service, the most popular answers were unfriendly or unhelpful shop assistants (74% and 73%).

However poor fulfilment (52%) and a difficult or complicated returns process (50%) also proved to be common responses.

David Moth

Published 8 February, 2013 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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