“Tell me who your friend is, I will tell you who you are.”

This could be rephrased to any retailer as “Tell me who your customer is, I will tell you how to sell”.  Just imagine you are in a crowded place, say a theater or a concert, with hundreds of people conversing, chatting and screeching simultaneously. With this set of circumstances your subconscious mind is trained effectively to filter any kind of external noise, so that you can focus on what your friends are saying nearby.  Nevertheless, the magical word can snatch your attention despite being vocalized by someone detached. It’s nothing but your name and that is what personalization is all about. Every person in this world is heterogeneous just like their thumb print. It becomes vital for retailers to perceive each one of them and proffer a unique experience which each would distinctly prefer.

Personalization is a goal all retailers should try to achieve

Whether its Ecommerce or Brick & Mortar, providing a personalized experience plays a key role in conversion.  Customers are keen about being in the priority books of retailers. It gets quite infuriating to see your inbox flooded with sales pitches.  It surely doesn’t make you feel significant. Have you ever been interested in knowing what’s in it? Well, this is how retailers out there are losing customers. We are in the era of an individualistic society and our desire for products just keeps growing. In today’s world, retailers should be aligned with customers based on their individual preferences and personality types in order to effectively express themselves, as well as meet the needs of a specific lifestyle that they are trying to lead.  Retailers should always keep in mind that if personalization diminishes, so does the response rate.

I once called the customer care number of one of the leading banks in India. We all know how the IVR systems out there work. My query was related to one of the transactions made on my credit card and to narrow down the options recorded on the system, it took the executive almost 6-7 minutes. During this waiting period, the system was constantly promoting the credit card which I was already using. Isn’t that frustrating? A customer contacts the customer care service to complain about a service and is targeted by advertisements promoting the benefits of that same service while waiting to lodge a complaint against the very service!! Obviously, nothing is personalized in this case.

Half a decade ago, at most you could expect a personalized message like ‘Glad to have you back’ that made a website visitor feel like they were being spoken to.  If the personalization was particularly advanced and could figure out who the customer was based on a sign-in or a browser cookie, then the message might have extended to the usage of the customer’s first name: ‘Glad to have you back, Suresh’.  Every small difference in terms of customer experience based on personalization makes a huge difference in the mind-set of the customer which might lead to a record getting appended on his order list. These days with the wealth of data available it is a much easier job for retailers to come up with personalized promotions and content. The key to personalization comprises of the following elements:

  • Identification
  • Differentiation
  • Segmentation
  • Customization

Benefits of Personalization for Retailers are as listed below:

  • Useful Marketing
  • Drives Customer Engagement
  • Easy Conversion
  • Elevate Sales
  • Customer Acquisition
  • Retention of Customers
  • Increase in Trust
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Focused Marketing
  • Campaign Optimization
  • Cross-sell and up-sell

Retailers should work on customer data, segment it basis related parameters, maintain and build strategies based on personalization both to compete with rivals and increase sales.  It is a must for retailers to take care of this evolving process throughout their retail journey.

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Posted by Siva Arunachalam

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