3 Tips for Offering Customers a Truly Personalized Retail Experience
Every retailer wants to be the go-to place that consumers rave about. And in today’s overcrowded business world, one surefire way to win customer loyalty is to provide personalized retail experiences through marketing campaigns.
When you offer personalized digital experiences for your customers, they’re more likely to feel understood and important. This leaves them less likely to switch to another brand and drives better results for your business. However, successful personalization that fosters brand loyalty can’t happen without a strong foundation and careful planning — and that starts with understanding the three stages of retail personalization.
Breaking Down the 3 Stages of Personalized Retail
The first stage of personalized marketing in retail helps you understand your customers and what they care about. That begins with optimizing large-scale data collection and usage. If your data is sorted, analyzed and applied correctly, you can offer the experiences your customers want, exactly when they want them. Once you’ve got this down, you can expand this knowledge across all your marketing channels and provide a unified, yet personalized experience at every touchpoint.
The second stage relies on actionable consumer insights that inform simple personalization, allowing you to quickly and easily optimize the consumer journey. Simple personalization could include pre-populating your “find a store near me” page with the consumer's ZIP code, for instance. That’s not a complicated change to make, and it removes an obstacle for consumers who want to buy from you.
The final stage of personalized retail experiences is predictive dynamic personalization that's unique to one consumer. During this stage, consumer data is mixed with outside data to create a one-of-a-kind experience, essentially drilling down each consumer segment to a single person.
Consider a pet goods retailer, for example. If a consumer gets a puppy, you can certainly serve them relevant content for puppy food and beds or kennels, but that only stays relevant for a limited amount of time. Predictive personalization in retail goes far beyond this. You might start with content about caring for a new puppy, but over time, that puppy grows. The needs of the owner and pet change, so the content that’s served to them on “you may also like” carousels, website banners, and email campaigns needs to change, too.
When you invest in the personalization journey as part of your retail marketing strategy, you can make major inroads with current and untapped audiences and effectively improve the customer experience.
Implementing All 3 Personalization Stages Into Your Retail Marketing Strategy
Looking at the process in three stages makes implementing personalization into your marketing strategy easier, allowing you to take decisive action and measure return on investment in specific areas. It also turns personalization into a business process that builds on the foundation of your company’s unique goals.
So how can you implement these stages of personalization into your retail marketing strategy to create better consumer experiences and see results? Start with these steps:
1. Define your business objectives.
Determine what you want your personalized consumer experience to look like in measurable terms. For example, you might want consumers to have a meaningful experience. What does “meaningful experience” mean, though? Every business has a different answer.
To more accurately measure the success of your personalization, tie that effort to business objectives — and get specific. Think “increase CRM registrations to 20 percent in the second quarter” (rather than something vague such as “engage with target personas”). With a distinct, measurable objective, you can better evaluate your progress and make adjustments if you aren’t seeing results.
2. Start with a solid foundation.
If you want to create a truly personalized retail experience, you have to know where to start. If your data collection practices are in order, begin by implementing simple personalization. If you’re still struggling to collect and piece together your data, take a step back and work on your data collection efforts before trying to implement fully dynamic and personalized consumer experiences.
Remember, you have to walk before you can run. In other words, you can’t create fully personalized and dynamic experiences for consumers without a solid foundation of data collection and simple personalization to build off of.
3. Find a personalization partner to meet your needs.
Want to master personalization in retail from the get-go? Seek out a partner that understands the full scope of the personalization process and can meet your company's unique needs.
For example, if you already have excellent data collection practices, you don’t need a vendor focused on that stage. Instead, you’d be better off seeking partners that understand simple and predictive personalization and beyond. Once you find a vendor that can help you where you are in the personalization process, be sure to evaluate them at least annually to ensure they continue providing what you need.
Most companies think they’re offering personalized marketing experiences — in reality, though, many of them still have room to improve. Knowing the stages of personalization allows you to understand how to provide truly dynamic, personalized consumer experiences that ultimately drive results for your business.
Diane Keng is the CEO at Breinify, an AI-driven platform that helps enterprise brands collect data and create personalized digital experiences for consumers.
Diane Keng is the CEO and co-founder of Breinify, an AI and predictive personalization engine that helps brands curate dynamic, meaningful experiences for their consumers at scale. Diane is on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for enterprise technology and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, TechCrunch, OZY, and Inc. Magazine. Diane ran three successful businesses before she was 18 and is a noted software innovator who frequently speaks on the intersection of AI, personal data, privacy, and the future of smarter products. Breinify works with retailers and consumer packaged goods brands to enable data science in marketing campaigns that secure 51% year-over-year online sales, 20 times the click rate, and six times the reaction rate.