Personalization

The Missing Link for Retail Personalization at Scale

Personalization might be all the rage, but it’s really nothing new. Store clerks and business owners have been using the personal touch to sell more products, retain more customers, and drive more earnings since the invention of commerce. The trick was to know customers really well, and use that knowledge to stock the right items, engage with individuals about what mattered to them, and understand customers’ context enough to recommend just the right products at the right times. It was about relationships and common sense.

For any fellow Anne of Green Gables fans out there, do you remember the scene from the Megan Follows version where Matthew goes to a store to buy a dress for Anne? He’s too shy to come right out and ask for the dress, so first he buys brown sugar and a new rake (neither of which he needs). Finally, the nice store clerk is able to gently pull what he really wants out of him. Then she recommends the perfect dress, which Matthew buys and Anne adores. It’s so sweet.

The thing that made that experience work, is that the store clerk knew Matthew SO WELL. She knows him, she knows his daughter, and she knows what his daughter likes.

Store clerk trying to discern what Matthew really wants in “Anne of Green Gables”

Now imagine trying to translate that type of intimate customer experience to today’s multi-channel, digitized, and massive-scale retail experiences? There are thousands of tools available to help brands with personalization, but they are missing a glaring prerequisite: knowing customers really well.

If you know someone’s name, do you know them really well? No. What if you know their email address and their response rates to emails? Still no. How about if you know their name, their email responses, their clickstream data, and their demographics? Closer… Now if you add in all their transactions (in-store and online) and social interactions, you’ve begun to build a complete picture. One that allows you to (this should sound familiar): stock the right items, engage with individuals about what matters to them, and understand your customers’ context enough to recommend just the right products at the right times.

The data exist to know customers really well and to act on that knowledge. However, bringing that data together, building customer profiles at the individual level, and fueling myriad touchpoints in concert to power omni-channel personalization ‒ that’s the hard part. It’s also difficult to drive this type of change in your organization. And finally, which personalization use cases are the best to start with, once your data are in order?

We worked with Steve Hartman, seasoned marketing executive who drove digital transformation and personalization at eBay, Urban Outfitters, and Eddie Bauer, to put together The Comprehensive Guide to Retail Personalization to help brands like your unlock the step-by-step approach to getting data in order and using it effectively. Read it now!

 

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