The Rise of Personalization at Retail

05.01.2018
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In today’s increasingly connected world, consumers have come to expect extremely personalized experiences. One size no longer fits all. Savvy retailers have to adjust their in-store and online strategies to provide a completely custom, 360-degree experience that will keep consumers coming back for more. One study found that 89% of consumers want shopping to feel personalized, but only 18% say retailers are living up to this expectation. Clearly, there is room for improvement. Retailers and brands who hope to keep up with the times or, better yet, lead the pack, must personalize the purchase for the customer to increase sales and create lifelong brand fans.

Personalization: A Result of the Changing Path to Purchase

In the past, the process of guiding consumers to purchase was more linear. Traditional marketing tactics drove consumers to stores, where the purchase would ultimately happen after interacting with a retail associate. Today, the path-to-purchase looks more like a twisting rollercoaster. Consumers now have the power to compare products online, get recommendations from friends on social media, demo products in stores, pick up their orders in-store, and more. Retail is less about brick-and-mortar, and more about being able to purchase the right products for your lifestyle any time, any place. This is where personalization ultimately comes in – it’s about tying the online with the offline, providing a unique purchase experience, and delivering “the tech, tools and talent to be relevant to the individual consumer.”

Planning for the Future

This personalized store of the future is no longer looming in the distance – it’s becoming today’s reality. In a recent article, The Atlantic shared the various personalization tactics that some brands and retailers are already testing – racks of clothes replaced by personal stylists, “town squares” and “avenues” instead of stores, associates that know your likes and dislikes when you walk through the door, and more. However, “only 22% of consumers said they’re satisfied with the level of personalization they receive”, which means this is still an untapped area of opportunity, especially when “49% of consumers say they’ve purchased a product they weren’t planning on buying after receiving a personalized recommendation.” That’s incremental sales right there that you could be missing out on.

So, as a brand or retailer, where do you begin with personalization? 1) Gather the customer data that you already have on hand. 2) Define the different paths to purchase based on your data – look at your customers not as segments, but as individuals who are driven to take action with your brand by different touchpoints. 3) Select and implement the right marketing tools to create relevant, tailored, online and offline experiences for each unique consumer. 4) Don’t forget to keep in mind protecting your customer’s privacy during the process. Ultimately, by including elements of personalization in your current marketing efforts, you’ll see stronger brand loyalty, incremental sales, and happier customers.

From implementing targeted digital marketing campaigns to building retail environments that influence sales, our experts are here to look at your unique customer’s path to purchase through a new lens and custom-build programs to personalize the experience for your customers. Contact us today to learn more!