Personalization is a key aspect of promoting sales today. Consumers expect stores to remember their purchasing history and to provide an experience that makes them feel welcome and noticed even if they’ve only minimally interacted with a brand.
Creating a personalized approach requires each company to evaluate its consumer base and identify interaction modalities that make the most sense for the company. The more a brand can personalize a consumer experience, the more likely a consumer will be to shop and become loyal to that brand.
Retail companies can no longer afford to assume old methods will deliver the same results in a market that increasingly caters to consumer response. Here are some trends to watch for and consider implementing to become more personalized in a retail approach:
- The in-store experience. Many shoppers can find everything they need in an online environment. They go to a physical store for the experience. In stores, sales representatives who remember repeat customers and who have the ability to access purchasing history and data can offer a personalized shopping experience.
Creating an in-store experience that carries over from other channels of interaction is one of the best ways companies can make the most of the consumer experience. Consumers have come to expect a level of personalization in the online shopping experience. Retailers who carry personalization concepts over to the in-store experience provide a higher level of interaction that is more likely to be remembered and respected by shoppers.
- Personalized advertising. Companies that advertise online need to ensure consumers who come across their brands remember them when looking for products or services. Ad retargeting and personalized advertisements based on previously viewed items increase the time a company has in front of a consumer and influences consumer decisions about a product.
- Investing in 3rd party consumer insight companies. Many retailers don’t have the technology or processes in place needed to gain insight into consumer behavior. Companies like The Consumer Insight offer mystery shopper services, customer surveys, and compliance audits to provide retailers with the information needed to develop a universal, personalized approach at retail stores.
- Personalized online shopping. When consumers use online shopping sites, they expect to be able to recall purchasing histories and items they’ve previously viewed. Companies that offer added value for repeat online shoppers and who otherwise go above and beyond the general personalization expected in an online shopping experience will be remembered as providing great shopping experiences.
- Omni-channel consistency. When one interaction medium is better at offering a personalized experience than another, the overall consumer experience can seem disjointed. Any strategy directed at personalization should include all channels of interaction with a consumer, from online shopping to email and the in-store experience.
- Associate intelligence. Associates who have access to shopper histories are naturally able to provide better service. They can direct shoppers to viewed products they have not yet purchased and can also engage shoppers in dialogue about their current levels of satisfaction. Over time, these small interactions have the ability to improve customer loyalty and associate retention rates. The experience becomes more meaningful, rather than a sales push.
Every retailer’s personalization approach will be different based on target market expectations. Some stores are finding that offering food or drinks during the shopping process improves consumer interaction. Others find that seamless connectivity between mobile devices and the store experience makes a difference in the bottom line. Experiment with different levels of interaction to determine the best approach.