How personalization influences today’s retail shopper

At the recent CRMC conference for retailers, I led a panel discussing why customer experience is the new driver for loyalty. Whether a consumer is making a purchase online or in-store, they expect an experience that’s personalized, convenient and meets their needs. And consistency across channels is key.

Retailers need to know and understand the preferences of their shoppers so they can deliver on these and influence the next sale. For example, a panelist shared how six out of ten shoppers use their mobile phones while in their retail store and that the mobile app is a preferred purchase channel. Having this insight allows marketers to tailor personalized messages to consumers on the app while shopping in store. For example, Ulta Beauty’s GLAMlab feature of their mobile app offers personalized make-up application services where users can experiment with 1000+ products and shades that reflects accurate color representation for the consumer’s specific skin tone. Ulta Beauty can leverage the data insights gleaned from the app to support the development of future marketing programs/messages that are personalized to the shopper’s needs.

In addition to mobile app technology enhancement, the topic of concierge services was discussed during the conference. Attendees shared how they are integrating concierge type services (a concierge model) within their stores to enhance the customer experience. A concierge model often includes designated space within a brand’s retail store that provides exceptional customer service and is fueled with data insights about an individual’s unique needs. Store associates who are a part of this service model are equipped with data about customers to help them make relevant product recommendations. For example, retailers are leveraging concierge services that provide in-store, online and mobile guidance to help consumers choose products and get tips on recommendations. Let’s take a look at an example.

From leveraging data, Designer Store Warehouse (DSW) learned that a large segment of their customers prefer customized insoles to fit the needs of their foot types. Informed by this data, DSW created Polaris Lab Store which includes a concierge area called the Sole Lounge where guests can create custom insoles, get their shoes and handbags repaired and even get their nails done while they wait. While 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences, the concierge model certainly makes sense. But let the data decide.

The role of data

It’s important for marketers to leverage data for their decision-making. With the proliferation of first-party data available on consumers coupled with the power of third-party data across both offline and online channels, marketers can achieve a true 360-degree customer view. Having consumers’ shopping/retail preferences (self-reported data) and understanding their retail services preferences (tailoring, etc.) further enables your ability to offer customized/personalized services.

So whether you’re a retailer of fashion apparel, furniture or pet supplies, evaluate your strategy to determine how personalization will influence your brand’s the next sale and how you can best improve the customer experience by doing what’s right for your customers, and your brand.

The advances in data and technology together are unstoppable. Take time to evaluate your program to determine if the concierge model is a good fit for your brand.