In this hyper-personalized retail environment, exclusive offers have emerged as one of the most effective ways to target and drive conversions for affinity groups, such as students, teachers and members of the military. With exclusive offers, retailers have increased conversion rates by more than 8x, tripled repeat purchases from loyal customers, and driven ROAS as high as 20:1.
But what do shoppers like about exclusive offers? How do they feel about them compared to other promotions? And how willing are they to share personal data in order to qualify?
These are the kinds of questions we asked in our latest consumer shopping survey conducted with Kelton Global: Privacy, Personalization, and Promotions. And the results clearly underscore that brands have a tremendous opportunity to leverage exclusive offers to acquire high-value customers likely to make repeat purchases.
But the survey also revealed that exclusive offers can be a risky undertaking. If brands deliver them in a way that disregards consumer privacy concerns, they can do more harm than good.
Let’s take a closer look at what shoppers say and what it means for brands.
Consumers Are Eager for Exclusive Offers
94% of Americans say they would take advantage of an exclusive offer. And these exclusive offers play a significant role in driving urgency and frequency in purchasing behavior: 58% of shoppers say an exclusive offer would increase their likelihood to purchase, while 82% say it would increase how often they shopped with a brand.
Even as a newer digital marketing technique, exclusive offers are already on par with other marketing tactics: Americans are just as likely to say an exclusive offer (84%) would make them likely to shop with a brand as a price-match guarantee (86%) or VIP access (80%).
And it’s the exclusivity that matters. 68% say exclusive offers have greater appeal than discounts intended for everyone.
Exhibit A: LEGOLAND’s implementation of an exclusive offer. To honor military service men and women, the Florida resort introduced an exclusive online promotion for military service members – up to 25% oﬀ tickets, plus a second day free.
The promotion had immediate appeal and led to a marked increase in service members and their families engaging with the resort. Every shopper who used the exclusive offer bought nearly four tickets (on average, 3.6 per transaction) – an upsell that contributed to an ROI of $27 for every $1 spent on verification.
If Exclusive Offers Aren’t Exclusive, Consumers Will Extract a Price.
As appealing as exclusive offers are, shoppers are extremely sensitive to the process of being verified for one. According to the survey, over nine in 10 Americans (92%) are concerned with some part of the verification process for an exclusive offer.
And when brands handle verification poorly, it adds fuel to the fire. Around 47 million Americans (19%) say knowing a brand allowed customers to wrongfully use exclusive offers would negatively impact how they interacted with the brand. Of these individuals:
- 80% would lose trust in the brand
- Over half (53%) would shop there less often
- 33% would recommend their friends and family shop elsewhere
- 21% would even share negative sentiments about the brand through online forums or their social media profiles
Clearly exclusive offers have potential pitfalls. But what exactly makes consumers balk?
Consumers Don’t Like How Brands Handle Personal Data
One of the biggest mistakes brands can make when verifying exclusive offers is asking consumers to provide too much data, or data that’s too personal. In our post-Cambridge Analytica world, consumers simply suspect the worst.
83% of Americans have concerns with the types of data that would be collected, and nearly three quarters of shoppers (73%) believe brands use personal information without their knowledge when verifying a consumer for an offer.
Not surprisingly, the more personal the data, the greater the concern. While more than 4 out of 5 shoppers would be willing to share common information like an email address (84%) or name (82%), far fewer would say the same about their credit card information (27%) or social security number (18%).
Consumers Are Looking for a Consent-Driven Approach
In spite of consumer skepticism, there is a way for brands to provide and verify exclusive offers in a way that consumers want.
The survey revealed that shoppers have a great affinity for consent-based marketing, a model that enables them to decide when they engage with a brand and what information they exchange for access to products, services, more information, etc. In fact, consumers prefer these opt-in – or consent-based – models over traditional inference-based approaches by a ratio of 2:1.
Consumers also want brands to step out of the verification process. 57% would rather be verified by an independent third party than a brand’s customer service representative. Shoppers are calling for greater control and more secure processes.
It’s Time to Make Exclusive Offers Reach Their Full Potential
Exclusive offer programs have already proven their value to both consumers and the brands they shop with. And with a consent-based approach, they’ll gain even more traction as brands spend less time dispensing unsolicited offers and more time inviting shoppers to take advantage of discounts available to their affinity groups.
If brands meet consumer demands for how their data is collected and verified, they’ll create customer relationships that have more integrity and lead to greater loyalty.
The takeaway? Privacy and personalization no longer need to be mutually exclusive. In our next post, “5 Steps to Verifying Exclusive Offers the Way Shoppers Want,” we’ll explore just how brands can protect exclusive offers and give consumers the experience they prefer.
To see the results of the survey firsthand, you can download the full report.