Insight

6 Ways to Improve Personalized Customer Experiences in Retail

Need ideas creating personalized customer experiences for the on-demand shopper? Here's six to help you out!

November 15 2018

Do you want happy, loyal customers? Then you need to provide them a personalized customer experience. 70% of customers are comfortable with giving you the information you need to do this, so long as it improves their customer experience. It’s likely you already have this data. Getting personalization right results in revenue growth, higher impulse buys and fewer returns. By 2020 75% of customers will expect a personalized customer experience, so it’s important to act today to retain customers tomorrow. Here's a few tips on how to personalize the customer experience and reap the rewards: 

1. Provide Incentives to Collect Customer Data

Shoppers are glad to share personal information if there’s something in it for them – 63% say that receiving a discount within an hour of interacting with a brand will help drive loyalty. A good way to collect useful customer information is to get your customers to fill out a shopper profile and reward them for stages of completion.  

Collecting this data will help you to create the type of personalized offers that drive customer loyalty. The information you ask for should include: 

  • Their first name  
  • Birthday   
  • Products they’re interested in 
  • Preferred channel of communication 

Knowing your customer’s preferred channel of communication (such as chat apps, SMS, push notifications, etc.) allows you to engage them via one to one marketing on the channels they’re most responsive on. Asking for your customer’s birthdate lets you target them with special birthday deals over these channels. Security concerns may make customers cautious about sharing their full name. This is fine, because you’re aiming to achieve a first-name basis relationship.  

2. Use Customer Data Effectively 

You know how to instantly lose trust in a relationship? Try calling someone by the wrong name. 76% of customers said that they get frustrated when brands get their name wrong. The same survey shows that 37% will be less willing to make a purchase.  

By using placeholders and matching these to corresponding fields in your CRM, you can personalize highly automated, targeted campaigns. Personalizing the customer experience in this way shows your customers that you value them more as people rather than walking credit cards. 

chat app personalization example

Getting your customer’s name right is just one personalization strategy. Another thing customers expect you to know is their purchase history. In fact, 63% of customers expect a brand’s mobile app to remember web purchases. When this doesn’t happen, you risk frustrating 71% of your customers. Keeping tabs on their purchases can help you to personalize the shopping experience by offering items based on their spending habits and product ranges that interest them. 

3. Get Personal with the Right Channels 

Millennials and Gen Z live on mobile. Research shows 95% of millennials are doing other things while they shop  - they're binge watching their favorite shows, commuting, etc... If you want to grab their attention, it needs to be through personalized experiences over the right communication channels. 

While email is good – almost free and has the highest ROI - 74% of millennials say that they receive too many marketing emails.  Also, GDPR has changed how broadly you may use customers’ personal data, including their emails. In a different survey, 76% reported that they were happy with an impulse purchase when it was communicated over push notification. 

More than half of millennials said that they want to receive delivery notifications via text. However, only 20% reported that they receive texts from the brands that they do business with. 

This preference comes from the fact that millennials would rather text than call. In the same survey, 80% stated that they would rather text businesses than call them for customer support issues. Using a chat app for this is ideal since almost everyone uses a chat app, and they allow for one to one marketing. In addition to helping you build a more personal brand experience by texting customers, chat apps also support images and higher character limits. This gives you even more customer experience personalization options.  

4. Don’t Silo Your Customer Data!

Data silos occur in retail organizations when different strategies are employed for different channels. The result? A fragmented customer profile which makes creating personalized experiences difficult. 

Keeping all customer data in a single central database gives your marketing team the insights they need to create a personalization strategy that drives customer loyalty, but also sales and revenue. 

Utilizing this data in real-time allows you to provide compelling, personalized offers that satisfy the rising demand for instant gratification from today’s shopper. 40% of customers have spent more than they planned to because the experience was personalized, and 23% of them spent more than $50 on a single purchase of this type. 

5. In-Store Personalization Still Matters 

It’s no news that brick and mortar stores are struggling to keep up with online. But it's also not really true. Millennial and Gen-Z shoppers are opting to visit physical stores more and more. In fact, 50% of millennials prefer taking their shopping in-store. The physical experience is important to the price-conscious millennials, as well as to Gen-Z – who are also very value-oriented. 

When they visit your store, they still expect personalized customer service. However, only 17% find that retailers are doing a good job with this. A further 41% expect retailers in a brick and mortar to know what they have purchased online, though only 19% have experienced this. 

Most importantly, millennials are shopping on their mobile devices, in-store. Consider your brick and mortar a showcase room for them – the better the personal experience in store, the more likely they are to convert.  

6. Complimentary Offers Grow Loyalty and Revenue

70% of millennials are comfortable with retailers tracking their purchasing and browsing behaviors as long as it improves the customer experience. In fact, they expect this and will reward retailers by making purchases off the back of personalized offers. 

When taking into consideration their previous purchases, however, it’s important to make sure your offers are complimentary and not just more of the same. 

Think sofas – they’re expensive, occupy your customer’s private living space, and are long-term purchases. When your customer buys a sofa, they won’t appreciate receiving an offer for another at a discount.  

For true customer personalization, think complimentary offers– throw pillows or stain remover. Take it a step further and match the throw pillows to the color of the sofa, and stain remover to the material the sofa is made from. This is the sort of personalized customer experience that helps build loyalty. Get the idea? 

retail messaging personalization example

In today’s competitive retail space, it can be difficult to attract and retain customers. But by paying attention to what your customers are trying to tell you, and by giving them the channels to do this, you can create a personalized customer experience that drives loyalty and pays dividends this shopping season and for many more to come. 

See how other retailers are getting personal with their customers

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