Image: G.I. Barone Image: G.I. Barone

The top e-commerce companies in the UK are failing to take user preferences, personalisation and optimisation across devices as seriously as they should, according to new research.

Whilst the majority (96%) use email as their primary form of marketing communication, only 26% actually personalise emails, revealed The Digital Customer Engagement Index by Mapp Digital.

Although 60% personalise web experiences, a mere 2% use a personal approach in their mobile apps, despite most brands asking for customer names and other identifiable information.

A large percentage (78%) of emails assessed during the study were not fully responsive, meaning that the mobile email experience for most customers is very limited, whilst only 13% of brands assessed had a preference centre on their website, inhibiting personalisation of messages and content.

As little as 11% of brands with mobile apps connected the dots between digital channels (for example, by enabling social sign in) and when it comes to posting seasonal content on social media channels 45% of brands chose Facebook, 52% turned to a Twitter feed and only 20% utilised their Instagram account.

Rolf Anweiler, senior vice president, marketing, Mapp Digital, said: “All data no action summarises the broad approach we’re seeing from the UK’s top e-commerce brands. But broad is no good when it comes to marketing in a digital revolution when customers relationships with brands are changing to an ‘always on’ culture, and you explicitly ask for information about them.

“Many brands are still more 9 to 5 than 24/7 when it comes to marketing. With the proliferation of channels, devices, and technologies comes a great opportunity for marketers. At the moment, though, most are being bland, formulaic and not quite delivering.”

In mobile app marketing, where 92% of brands have a mobile app, most seek permission to send notifications. Despite this, only 17% actually delivered a message across the duration of Mapp’s study.

The study also looks at how brands are orchestrating cross-channel engagement, noting that only 25% of the top brands with bricks-and-mortar stores are using technology to drive engagement when potential customers might be passing by. This indicates that most are wasting a huge opportunity to grow the mobile channel and engage with customers, especially mobile savvy millennials.

Mr. Anweiler added: “What this research most clearly highlights is that in an era when brands are pushing for more personalised, individualised marketing, some of the largest e-commerce brands in the UK are still failing to create meaningful engagements due to inconsistent use of digital channels.

“Never has having a consistent strategy been more important, nor has combining the data from the multitude of digital channels to create a holistic view of the customer. It is – or should be – simple to deliver highly bespoke messages. Marketers today have all the tools to achieve this.”