Which Has Greater Influence—an Expert’s Opinion or a Friend’s?

Shoppers are increasingly demanding a more personalized shopping experience. According to eMarketer, half of shoppers would like retailers to offer promotions tailored to their past purchases. And 46% would buy more if the shopping experience was personalized across retailer channels. This shows that personalization is not only important in-store but online as well.

While consumers express their individualism on social sites such as Pinterest(R), they are also looking for their personal style and interests to show up more directly within their shopping or browsing trips. Pickie, the iPad Magazine that was recently introduced at TechStarsTM NYC Demo Day, fulfills this need by curating personal recommendations for the user based on whom they follow within their social network. On the other hand, e-commerce site ModCloth(R) offers personalized expert advice. The site allows users to live chat with stylists who suggest products based on user history and profile information. So the question becomes, which personalized experience do online shoppers prefer—an expert opinion or a friend’s social mentions?

We may not know the answer just yet, but it is likely to become clearer as more retailers incorporate personalization into their operations, both online and in store. The one thing we do know today is that to be more personal with our shoppers, we must make it comfortable for them to share more personal information. As with Modcloth(R) and Pickie, the more they know about their audience, the more helpful they are in offering individualized input per shopper.

Contributed by Jillian Kyle, Planner, Integer Denver