5 Essential Ingredients to make “Personalization” count

Retailers know all too well that “Personalization” is mandatory for winning customers and forging life-long loyalty. But what many don’t realize is that their efforts aren’t always having the desired effect with consumers. The techniques retailers once used to broadcast their brand to a wide audience are no longer relevant.

Shoppers are on-the-go and often time-challenged. With the number and variety of products online,  they truly value when a retailer shows its familiarity with their individual personal preferences, current interests and purchase history to present them with products they are mostly likely to be interested in and want to purchase.

Still the facts paint a different picture. 83% of retail marketers think they do a satisfactory job in personalizing experiences for consumers, according to research from Adobe. The same survey indicates that only 29% of consumers feel retailers effectively offer them personalized content or offers.

So what does it take to make personalization count?

  1. Put the “Person” first in personalization94% of businesses say downloadpersonalization is critical to their engagement efforts, but only 25% of companies are using their data ‘to a great extent’ to do it effectively, according to a poll from Accenture. In the effort to target the masses, retailers forget to understand the context needed to create a truly engaging personalized experience. It is essential for them to understand that in order to be successful , they need to connect with customer at a personal level.
  1. Understand the journey all the way– It is now imiginsurancemperative that retailers show they recognize and understand consumers at each stage of the buying process. Analyzing the signals that a consumer shares through past purchases, both online and in person like the items they added to their cart, conversations held with customer service, special offers redeemed, store visits or branded app interactions can provide all the information required about customers without even asking them
  1. Be relevant to be desirable – AcknowleBook-Sketch-1-Give-the-Gift-of-Relevant-Contentedging that while personalized offers of discounts are probably more effective than generic ones, it is also true that customers still expect more than overt pitches to grab at their wallets. They want something meaningful and truly helpful. Meaningful relevance emerges when content meets context. It’s a powerful alliance, for sure, and one that signals to the customer that you’re right there with her, in step and in the know.
  1. Be agile and up to speed – Speed matters.stpsystems Shoppers will be most responsive to real time offers when they are on the retail website, or at the physical store. Serving up relevant information or offers in a timely fashion matters to making the personalized experience count. Machine learning software, made easier by cloud-based development modules, can help retailers meet the speed requirement.
  1. Transparency is the key– There is a thin line between being “cool” and being “creepy”. Being personal doesn’t meimagesan you need to invade the customers’ privacy and turn them off. It’s about providing enough value that they will trade it for their customer data. The best way is to be open and get their permission to interact. Maintain goodwill by keeping their personal information safe using robust security processes and controls.

The battle to win customers and customer loyalty has never been fiercer. In this hyper digital world, consumers want more than just deals and coupons and express delivery offers. They want retailers to listen to their unique needs and preferences, and deliver products that are relevant to them as individuals.

The bottom line is – whether its greeting customers as they enter your store, sending personalized emails, tailoring deals based on previous purchase behaviour or a “recommended products” section – personalization promotes customer loyalty. The real challenge is that it’s going to take consistent experience-creation and real-time relevance to not only grab customers but also keep them coming back to you again and again.

And we all know that loyalty is just as valuable (if not more) as attracting new customers.

Photo credits- marketo.com, miginsurance, stpsystems

-Ankita Asthana (Product Manager)

Ma Foi Analytics

Advertisements

“Want a Powerful Customer Experience? Then Listen up!”

AAEAAQAAAAAAAADiAAAAJDdjN2Y5NGU5LTMzZDItNGM1MS1hYTJkLTYwNjQ2NmQ2YjM1Nw

At a time when it’s never been easier to reach out to consumers with information, it has conversely become harder than ever to engage them. Today’s consumer is well informed, technically savvy and extremely experienced when it comes to shopping in traditional and virtual channels. Constantly connected, he is sophisticated and has high expectations around service, value, offers and choice. The power has definitely shifted into his hands and it’s now up to companies to deliver superior customer experience to meet the rising expectations at each and every touchpoint.

It is not that companies do not want to engage better but they constantly struggle to understand what their customers really want. They devise complex algorithms and predictive modelling techniques to churn tones of customer data for insights but most of them fail to make an impact.

So, we are back to the million dollar question – What does a customer really want? Here is a simple checklist of what “I” as a customer expect from retailers-

Recognize and remember me– Its simple – I know your brand and what you promise to offer but do you know me? If I have interacted with you earlier, why do I need to provide the same information time and again. I don’t want to be asked about my account number five times by five different people in a bank!  Try to reduce the frustration and make it easier for me to reach out.Personalize

Anticipate my preferences and take action- Don’t treat me like another data point on your sheet. Take time to understand my preferences and anticipate what I would like or not like. Help me in my buying journey be it in-store or online. Empower your sales staff to treat me well. Be personal: Surprise and delight me with offers meant just for me!

istock_000008390817small- wordpress

Communicate with me consistently through all the devices and methods I use- Know my preferred communication channel and take my permission to follow me without being creepy! Don’t confuse me. Make sure all your communications are pleasant and easy to comprehend. Share relevant content that conveys value for me without going overboard.

mobile_shopping_w1024- oracle

Use what you learn about me to help me with all my needs- Pick up signals that I leave while I am in store or online. Whether it’s in your merchandising, staff friendliness & knowledge or in store promotions, you need to offer me something that will force me to keep coming back. Enrich your understanding of my present and future needs and find out new ways to engage with me.

Senior employee handing a couple the contract for their car rental

Be there when I need you, in real time– I live in the “now” and expect immediate results. I don’t want to spend my time rummaging through your various channels to register my concerns. Take action on what bothers me and intervene instantly when it actually matters.

customer-service-smile

Is all of this that difficult? Not really. Thanks to advances in information technology, data gathering techniques and analytics. Using increasingly granular data, from detailed demographics and psychographics to consumers’ clickstreams on the web, businesses have everything they need to know about customers. The only thing to do is to make the insights actionable and use it intelligently to get the best returns.

Customers know what they want. Are you listening??

listen-to-your-customers-2

 

Photo credits – wordpress, Wikipedia, adobe.com,noobpreneur.com