Retailers must concentrate on building relevant and inspiring personalised experiences both online and in store, leading ecommerce experts have said today.
Speaking at a panel session on the challenges and opportunities surrounding personalisation at the Drapers Digital Festival this morning, ecommerce directors from John Lewis, River Island and Uterque urged the industry to use the extensive data collected from customers online carefully.
“Customers are willing to share data with brands that the trust,” said Mark Felix, online trade director at John Lewis. “We have to work out where a personalised experience is relevant for the customer, where they want it and when in the journey they’ll be looking for a personalised experience.”
Josie Cartridge, customer director at River Island, stressed the importance of inspiring customers through personalised experiences.
“One of the challenges is how to tell a brand story within a personalisation and customer-focused engagement piece,” she said. “That’s what we’re thinking about: how do we inspire consumers with the most relevant products for them? Some customers have had poor personalised experiences simply based on what they’ve bought before and it feels like the retailer is just trying to sell them more stuff. That’s very much what we don’t want to be. We want to surprise, delight and inspire.”
Retailers are only at the beginning of the journey to close the gap between online and stores, Cartridge added: “How we pull the store into an omnichannel experience is still a challenge. We’re doing a lot of work around how browsing behaviour online and on mobile affects store purchasing decisions.”
John Lewis is using its app to help connect customers online and offline journeys.
“We see our app as the glue between the two,” said Felix. “People want to use their phones on their journey and it’s about how we use that data to see what they’ve previously been browsing.”