Personalization will be key for retailers in 2018

With the rise of online shopping, retailers have access to more information about customers and their shopping preferences than ever before. Access to this information means that online shopping has become a highly personalized experience. Shoppers now receive marketing messages online that are targeted specifically to them based on their browsing history and past purchases.

As this technology emerged and got smarter, customer expectations changed. The amount of personalization delivered online has become the new normal, but brick and mortar retail hasn’t quite yet caught up. While many retailers are working to integrate their online and physical store channels, there is still a significant gap between the two. The problem, according to an Accenture study, is that 41% of US consumers say they have ditched a company due to poor personalization. Translated into dollar value, those lost shoppers add up to more than $750 billion in potential sales lost by retailers.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder that retailers are planning to invest more in personalization efforts in 2018 than any other area of retail, especially when it comes to their physical stores. And while brick and mortar retailers need to ramp up their personalization efforts, they also need to be careful: consumers do want more personalized messages (targeted messages have been shown to drive revenue by 10-30%), but nearly half also say they are still concerned about their data privacy.

It can be tricky to walk such a fine line between giving shoppers the personalization they want and not overstepping boundaries, so here are a few tips to ensure that these efforts make a positive impact.

  • Timing: one of the most critical aspects of delivering targeted messages is ensuring that your shopper gets them at a time that is most helpful to her. Whether it’s an in-store notification about products in the aisle (sent using indoor mobile location) or a message about an offer happening in the store right now, mobile push notifications are only effective if they are relevant at the time received by the shopper.
  • Retargeting: personalization allows retailers to remind customers of items they may have been browsing, but didn’t purchase. If executed thoughtfully, a well-timed message offering more information or a deal on a previously viewed product could encourage the consumer to make a purchase. This is an opportunity for retailers with an online and in-store presence to use indoor mobile location signals to identify customer interests and inform online marketing efforts.
  • Helpful Reminders: with all of the data retailers collect about their shoppers through various channels, shopping patterns can be identified: items that are frequently repurchased, gifts purchased for special events like birthdays and anniversaries and frequently browsed product categories are all pieces of information that can be used to personalize marketing efforts. Using this information, retailers can let shoppers know when important dates are coming back up, when a product is back in stock, or when it’s time to repurchase a product, reminding the customer of something they may have forgotten to consider.

The common thread that runs through these personalization efforts is offering added value for customers. With customers shopping online and in-store, retailers have more access to data than ever before. But, when giving up their personal information, shoppers expect to get some sort of benefit in return. Whether it’s providing a targeted offer or an enhanced shopping experience, shoppers need to feel like they’re being rewarded and appreciated.



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