Retailers have been in a constant struggle to come up with new ways to personalize the shopping experience in an effort to keep up with the “Amazon Effect.” But the results have been mixed. No matter how much someone likes shopping at a department store, odds are, the sales associates don’t know your name, they don’t know your taste and they certainly don’t know the last 15 items you purchased.
However, Amazon can’t help you try on clothes, test out a product or talk to you about the pros and cons of two similar items made by different brands. Brick-and-mortar stores have a lot to offer shoppers, and with the right approach, they can achieve better personalization and an enhanced experience.
Personalization Beyond Messaging
Retailers know they have to personalize communication and messaging to their customers, and that they must ensure relevancy at every touchpoint. Savvy companies are taking it one step further, letting customers personalize their own products.
The New Balance shoe company allows shoppers to design their very own shoes that reflect their personalized style. Consumers who have a flair for being original are flocking to the system to create one-of-a-kind designs that no one else will have at the gym. The service is available online and in select in-store kiosks to enhance both online and offline shopping.
Form Beauty, a haircare products company for women of all ethnicities, shows their understanding of their shoppers’ personal needs. They offer a survey for customers to take that generates a specific hair-care regimen just for them. The plan includes the products they should purchase along with advice on how to properly use those products. Rather than scanning aisles aimlessly or spending hours looking for advice online, customers can simply tell the company what their unique problems are and receive a personalized system that addresses those specific issues.
Overcoming The Data Hurdle
Retailers have the data they need to create personalized, individualized experiences, but it has proven difficult to leverage that data effectively. The problem is often one of perspective. Teams can’t wait to dive in and create a flashy app or service, but they don’t always spend the time in the trenches organizing and understanding the data so it can be used to create an experience people actually want.
Think of it this way. Brands like Uber, Amazon and Netflix didn’t create something new, and they didn’t become disrupters just by using technology. What they did do was reinvent old service models and deliver something customers truly wanted. Your customers are telling you what it is they are looking for in terms of a personalized experience. You just have to dig into the data to find it.