It’s time retailers got up close and personal

By Andreas Pouros | 01 Dec 2014

Savvy retailers have seen that a personal touch can drive sales., for instance, is tailoring its site search to deliver more relevant product suggestions. However, to truly personalise the shopping experience, retailers must do more than simply recognise a shopper's gender or location and display men's or women's clothes, or prices in the local currency.

To make shopping truly personal, retailers must treat consumers as individuals, not members of a macro group. They must develop an understanding of shoppers beyond the broad buckets of gender, country, age and purchase history.

What retailers should aim for is 'me-tailing': linking consumers, devices and data and acting upon that intelligence for mutual benefit. True personalisation can only be achieved by 'getting to know a shopper' and engaging with them on different devices, with messages and interactions that are genuinely helpful, relevant and timely.

Westfield's malls in London provide a great example of this. They gather insights about individual consumers by inviting shoppers to vote for brands they like and dislike via a mobile app. This allows them to create profiles from 600 interests, 2,000 brand affinities and 84 demographic fields, making it possible to target shoppers with highly relevant offers and tailored messages from their favourite shops.

Many retailers are now trialling iBeacon technology to send targeted offers to opted-in customers as they enter a store, based on their profile.  Great customer data is the prerequisite for true personalisation, so retailers must be great at gathering it. A good start is to learn more about your audience using calls to action promoting one channel on other channels; for example by promoting downloads of your app via SMS. This gives you more points of engagement to capture data, allows you to segment users based on channel usage, and permits you to use those channels for communications in the future.

Research firm Forrester predicts 'connected retail' will influence 44% of retail sales by 2016, so it really is time to get personal.

NB: Article first published on Drapers.

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