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While shoppers appreciate the personal touch they get from some online retailers, the majority aren't willing to share too much personal information to get it, new research shows.
A study by Adobe Systems Incorporated discovered that 28 percent of U.S. online shoppers feel it's valuable when a website makes personalized product and service recommendations.
However, most shoppers still aren't willing to share private information in exchange for that personalized and customized online experience. Specifically, more than half of those surveyed think asking for a Social Security number and about personal preferences beyond the product their considering buying crosses the line from customization to invasion of privacy.
A large chunk also feel their privacy is being invaded when retailers share personal information with third parties, collect data without their knowing, as well as have technology that either knows their geographic location or is able to recognize them when they log on to the website.
Ann Lewnes, chief marketing officer for Adobe, said digital marketing has created a remarkable opportunity, but it comes with higher expectations from consumers.
"They expect a story tailored specially for them, a level of trust and transparency with the brands they do business with and, most importantly, a great experience," Lewnes said. "Brands delivering anything less will ultimately be ignored."
Overall, many shoppers are dismissive of all forms of online advertising, personalized or not. The study shows that 30 percent of U.S. consumers perceive online ads as not effective, with 54 percent feeling that the commonly used Web-banner ads don't work.
"Banners have brought much of the worst characteristics of advertising — being intrusive and manipulative, catching one's eye with hyperbole, and using surreptitiously captured information — into the digital space," said David C. Edelman, global co-leader for digital marketing and sales practice for McKinsey & Co. "Consumers realize they are now in control and won't accept it."
Lewnes said the survey's results demonstrate that marketers aren't quite delivering on digital marketing's full potential yet.
"We now have the technology and know-how to target relevant and personalized marketing messaging and media to our customers," she said. "Shame on us, if we don’t deliver on that."
The study was based on surveys of surveys of 1,000 consumers and 250 professional marketers in the U.S.