The Growing Importance of Personalization in Retail
While some retailers excel at greeting customers by name and acting as their personal advisor, others know how to leverage data so they can make recommendations for new products based on those customers have already purchased.
Blending the two worlds to create a genuinely personal experience both online and off should be the ultimate goal for retail brands. Why?
“Because so many customers respond to it,” says Brendan Witcher of Forrester Research. “We see nearly three out of four consumers responding to personalized offers, recommendations or experiences.”
“If retailers can provide more relevant experiences, they can both enhance their relationship with customers and boost sales. But for many brands, the personalization journey is only just beginning.”
Proof that Personalization in Retail Matters
According to research by Accenture and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), 63% of consumers are interested in personalized recommendations and most of them are even willing to share their data if it means getting perks such as automatic credits for coupons/loyalty points, exclusive deals, points/rewards, or special offers for items that interest them.
Furthermore, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from retailers that recognize their customers by name, remember their purchase history, and provide relevant recommendations.
Research cited on Smart Insights reveals that over 52% of consumers will switch away from brands that don’t personalize communications.
Based on these findings, it’s clear that retailers need to be willing to meet customers on their terms, giving them what they want quickly and making them feel special in the process.
Why are Retailers Resistant to Personalization?
In spite of the telling statistics cited above, retailers are still dragging their feet when it comes to investing in personalization.
As a recent survey by Retail Week reveals, only 14% of retailers think personalization is essential. And according to Smart Insights, “The general perception is that personalization is difficult to implement and even more difficult to get right.” Surprisingly, though, it’s a matter of a simple knowledge gap between retailers and their ability to make full use of the technology available to them.
There’s no question that retailers now have more customer touchpoints to manage than ever before, including e-commerce, social media, CRM, email marketing, brick-and-mortar, and traditional advertising.
“Today’s omnichannel landscape gives even more reason to implement personalization. These multiple touchpoints all play a part in the modern customer journey. Personalization helps make sense of this complexity and translates it into coherent and relevant experiences for customers.”
Source: Smart Insights
“Shoppers want to have richer, more personalized shopping experiences, whether in-person, online or via mobile,” says Retail Dive. “They are willing to provide the personal data necessary to drive those experiences…”
And really, there’s nothing holding retailers back. In fact, according to Smart Insights, “The technology, insight and ability to pick off tactics one stage at a time means it’s within everyone’s reach (and budget).”
Retailers that want to stand out from the competition and achieve growth in 2018 should consider what personalization can do for their business and incorporate it as part of their organizational goals.
Also published on Medium.