Mike Harris is vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at cloud-based personalisation specialist Monetate
Retailers are entering a new era of shopper engagement, as consumers abolish the typical in-store journey in favour of browsing the internet. By moving online, customers expect retailers to not only understand their shopping habits, but also understand them intrinsically – who they are, where they live, what they like. The great news for retailers is that having all of this information can enable them to offer shoppers a more personalised engagement to encourage further and more frequent purchases.
Many retailers believe that they are offering personalised content to their customers. Ask a retailer to outline their current personalisation strategy, and many will highlight product recommendations and ‘Dear Bob’ personalised greetings in their emails marketing as direct lines of communication to their customers. Unfortunately, this is not sufficient.
During a recent survey of Drapers readers, 81% felt that retailers do not deliver any kind of tailored content across online platforms. With only 5% claiming that they would not want data to be used for catered offers, the opportunity for retailers to use personalisation to market to shoppers is clear.
So, why aren’t more retailers getting personal with their customers to provide a truly individual shopping experience? Unfortunately, many retailers often believe a personalisation plan is both expensive and time consuming, when in reality good personalisation doesn’t need to be intrusive or cost the earth. In fact, great personalisation is rarely visible, the consumer just sees products and services that are super relevant, satisfying their needs with the right content, in the right context, at the right time.
Retailers need to understand that a holistic personalisation strategy encompasses everything from content to design and delivery channel, regardless of the device it is viewed on. Retailers want to embody the ultimate personal shopper. So, what can they do? Personalisation is much more than product recommendations and email marketing – this only scratches the surface. When it comes to effective personalisation, the possibilities are endless, from replacing core real estate with relevant banners and tailored promotions to personalised navigation tools and delivery offers, available to help retailers woo their customers into shopping with them; a vital ingredient to help nurture customer loyalty.
With this in mind, personalisation should be at the forefront of every strategic marketing plan, as this will illustrate how a retailer is willing to help the customer find the product that’s right for them. Shopping behaviours are evolving. Consumers want a ‘me’ not a ‘we’ experience, and now retailers must respond to this need to see a positive impact on conversion rates. Now that makes good business sense.