Personalization can be complex or simple, but it seems to pay off. According to a May 2016 Evergage survey of marketers conducted by Researchscape, one-quarter of respondents reported a lift of between 11% and 20% thanks to personalization on their website or app. What follows is a list of five personalization tactics from retailers and the services that support them, along with examples.
No. 1: Predict the Context of Their Shopping Trip
Understanding the context of the customer should be at the core of retailers’ personalization strategy, according to Meyar Sheik, co-founder and CEO of personalization software provider Certona.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is that consumer behavior is a powerful and accurate indicator of their intent and interest, but understanding consumer behavior has gotten more complex because almost no one is a single-channel shopper.”
At eBay, there are two factors that play into predicting a customer’s context: the moment the customer is in and their progression in the customer life cycle. “If a new customer is buying a garden hose, that may warrant a different treatment than someone who is a loyal eBay shopper and is in the market for a garden hose,” said David Doctorow, eBay’s head of global growth. “The more we can do to understand where the customer is in their life cycle, the more we can personalize at an ever-increasing degree of granularity.”
Because there is a lot of noise in the ecommerce space, retailers that focus on context will likely get to a higher degree of relevancy with personalization, said Jake Swenson, vice president of product marketing at user-generated content marketing solution Bazaarvoice. “People are rewarding marketers with their attention and dollars if they can position the right thing to them when they want it.”
No. 2: Know What the Customer Purchased at the Store
“[Retailers think] there are different ways to reach consumers—the store, desktop, mobile—but consumers have never seen it that way,” said Phil Granof, CMO of shopping platform NewStore. Instead, consumers view it as a brand interacting in whatever way is most convenient for them, the customer.
Achieving the same level of personalization across channels starts with one missing link—the store. Oftentimes retailers use online purchase data, but neglect to bring store purchases into the equation. “Retailers that operate physical stores can get huge value from the data and information going through their POS systems and store loyalty programs,” Certona’s Sheik said. “Relying just on digital information for personalization is not a holistic way of looking at it and leveraging all of their assets.”
Clothing and accessories brand Bow & Drape found a way to gather in-store purchase data directly from shoppers when customizing an item in the company’s shops in department stores: Ask for their email or number to alert them when their item is ready. “We integrated technology into that experience so it’s quick and seamless, and it creates an organic way for them to give us their contact information so we can track their purchases,” said co-founder, CEO and creative director Aubrie Pagano. “If someone isn’t customizing in-store and they’re just browsing, it’s so much harder to understand [them].”
No. 3: Personalize in Real Time