By now, everyone understands the importance of personalizing the online experience for shoppers, but what about personalizing the in-store experience? As retailers continue to look for new ways to draw customers into brick-and-mortar locations, the answer has been sitting in front of them all along. Retail personalization should be as much of a priority in-store as it is online, and stores should make every effort to leverage data to provide a unique, and tailored shopping experience customers will remember.
What Does Retail Personalization Look Like?
Put yourself in the position of a shopper and consider, for a moment, the following scenario:
You take a trip to your favorite electronics retailer to purchase a birthday gift for your teenager. When you enter the store, your smartphone alerts the sales team via their mobile devices, that you have arrived. The team can see your past purchases both online and in-store, and they are able to scan your interests quickly based upon items you’ve viewed, or stored in your online shopping cart. Their data tells them that based on the department to which you are heading, that you’re buying a gift for your son.
An associate approaches and greets you warmly, by name. Based upon your profile, she offers to make recommendations for your gift purchase. After choosing an item for your son, the associate mentions that the newest version of the smartphone you purchased two years ago is now available, and asks if you’d like to test it in the store. Not only that, but she offers you an exclusive deal if you purchase in the next week. She sends the deal to your smartphone, so it is ready to use when you return.
What would this type of personalized experience mean to you, as a shopper? If every experience was as warm and tailored as this gift-buying experience, you might be far more likely to return to that store for your electronics needs. Personalization is the key to strengthening customer relationships, and it can be achieved by strategically leveraging big data.
The Experience Economy Is Real
Consumer expectations have changed significantly in the last several years. Shoppers want an experience, rather than just a transaction. In today’s connected environment, nobody needs to get in a car and travel to a brick and mortar store. Shoppers do it because they want to. They want to see and touch merchandise, and when the experience is personalized and tailored to their unique needs, they typically will make a purchase in person as a result.
If you think that experience and retail personalization do not truly make a difference in the bottom line, think again. According to a RightNow Customer Impact Report, 86 percent of consumers have indicated they are willing to pay up to 25 percent more if they receive a positive, personalized experience. Additionally, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council has reported that more than half of U.S. consumers consider ending their relationship with stores that do not offer tailored deals and personalized experience.
Personalization Through Data
How can you know what your customers want without asking? Data and analytics. Consumers are now educated enough to know that retailers possess the power to personalize their experience, and their expectations are constantly growing. They are willing to share their data and preferences with their favorite retailers to help design the intimate experience they are looking for.
Now that data and analytics are a part of everyday life, retailers that fail to embrace its possibilities will remain stagnant, at best, and they will fail, at worst. Personalized experiences are at every retailer’s fingertips, as long as they know how to leverage their data to create meaningful connections with their customers.