BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - March 15, 2011) - Announced by Aberdeen Group a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS) in the recently released The Customer Connected Store: 2011 Store Automation  report, according to 40% of retailers surveyed, one of the major strategic areas of improvement over the next two years is personalization of the in-store experience including identifying customer preference, customizing merchandising, promotions, actual sale, and continued customer contact, for example.

The main reason why personalization of the shopping experience is becoming more relevant for at least 40% of retailers is the pressure on stores to adapt to the shift in purchase demographics (ethnic groups, millennials etc.) and psychographics of consumers (behavioral propensity to buy). This is in addition to the obvious wider net of purchasing choices led by online commerce, smart phones, and web-based social interaction.

"Retailers are encountering a customer transformation movement in the stores. The constant change in the consumer's store buying behavior is partly due to factors including: dynamic lifestyles, instant product-related intelligence, spending peaks and troughs, and a different basket of choice for goods and services compared to even just two years ago," says Sahir Anand, vice president / principal analyst, retail and banking at Aberdeen. "According to our data, retailers that are applying localized merchandising, personalized promotions, and customized selling programs, are on average 30% more likely to see conversion, and sales comp."

Aberdeen data shows that process management capabilities enable a more personalized store environment, which ultimately drives customer traffic and conversion rates. These capabilities are created by aligning key store operations areas (e.g. promotions, pricing, and merchandising) micro-segmentation data and consumer insights. In-store personalization must reflect the purchase behavior, and expected intent of customers over a period of time on all aspects of the store. For instance, two-thirds of retail stores need to introduce or improve access to cross-channel retailing on a continued basis so customers are able to research products, use promotions, check inventory, and place an order at any store using an online, mobile, call center or catalog channel.

"Our data shows that the ability to deliver promotions to a consumer-owned mobile phone device is still at its infancy (only 12% adoption). However, more than half of retailers (51%) indicate planned adoption of mobile promotion capabilities within the next two years," concluded Anand.

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About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen provides fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having queried more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 854-5200, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748.

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