Skip to main content

Digital Marketing

2015 Consumer Markets Trend – Personalization


We talk about personalization a LOT!  Especially when it comes to different trends in the Consumer Markets industry that have occurred over the last year and this coming year.  Personalization spans across many different topics, especially the ones we have discussed already in our 2015 trends, however, it is SO important that we are treating it as a trend in and of itself!  As we stated in a previous post, this year we can see a large focus from brands/retailers creating individual and unique products for shoppers through customer management, loyalty and co-creation tactics.  From smart fitting rooms to shopping cars, from using RFIDs to beacons, retailers are discovering many ways to help customize/personalize the shopping journey.
It will continue to be a top priority for retailers/brands to connect the dots between customers and individualized, customized messaging and content.  Due to the shift in the shopping experience, retailers/brands have had to invest in technology and marketing to stand out in the marketplace.  Better understanding shoppers’ needs is a priority but a challenge as well.  A recent survey showed that as many as sixty percent of retailers do not have adequate or sufficient data to ensure successful targeting efforts.  Another study showed that 2/3 believed that they have the data necessary for personalization but only a third is actually actionable.  With multiple data silos, these retailers/brands are unable to see a single, unified view.  At NRF 2015, speakers pointed to an important fact that in order to be a leading enterprise, one needs to dedicate resources: evaluating current processes, setting expectations with their consumers and collecting and analyzing the right data.  So as we can see, there is a lot of work to be done in order to take advantage of personalization to improve consumer markets business.
Personalization in 2015:
Over the last year, there has been an exponential rise in everything from mobile in-store technology to new mobile apps to cross-device targeting, etc.  A lot of progress has been made in retailers/brands ability to deliver more seamless experiences across channels.  Hyper-relevance is playing a huge role in personalization from responsive sites enabling better mobile experiences to tactics like push notifications that create relevance through beacons and location targeting.  These are all attempts to connect the dots and deliver hyper-relevance that consumers are demanding:

  • iBeacons (popular topic amongst trends this year) – integrates the online and in-store experiences even further and provides hyper-local experiences that drive engagement, loyalty and purchase decisions
  • Push notifications – push consumers towards specific bundles/ensembles, gift ideas or items that are in-stock
  • In-app – also known as “pull” personalization – so beneficial that the consumer opens the app every time they go to shop in-store or if they are browsing the web from their living room

Location Awarenessbeacons
We talked a lot about beacons in our last post discussing the infusion of technology into the consumer markets industry.
Connected Consumers are empowered more than ever and retailers needs to provide a seamless experience across all channels in order to meet their rapidly changing demands.  However, retailers are empowered as well with technologies such as beacons and Wi-Fi.  BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) beacons are gaining momentum and are enabling retailers to offer a higher level of engagement within the in-store experience.  Wi-Fi can identify the shopper when they walk in and deliver a special discount but beacons take it to the next level with location awareness.  Due to the fact that most of today’s mobile devices have BLE capabilities built into the phone already, it is fairly simple for stores to take advantage of beacons capabilities.  As long as the consumer has the store’s app uploaded onto their phone, they are able to receive location-specific, real-time engagements.  Every time I pass a Walgreens, CVS or Starbucks my phone notifies me that a store is near as well as provides an advertisement promoting something I have previously purchased.  Another example is having walked into a store and coming into a certain distance of a mannequin, I have received information pertaining to what the mannequin is wearing; from prices and discounts on particular items to where to find those items in the store.
Consumers are not the only ones that are benefiting from a more personalized experience.  Retailers are obtaining a higher level of consumer insight by tracking behavior in their stores or on the website, yielding a real ROI.  Stores are now able to not only identify their shoppers but link them with the digital activities they perform as well.  As I stated before, much of the data that retailers and brands have are in silos but now stories can integrate them for a more comprehensive and single view of their consumer.  Retailers are able to gain a better sense of shopping behaviors online and in-store, where they are spending most of their time and previous purchase behavior so that they can make impactful improvements across all channels.  Leading enterprises are integrating technologies such as beacons into their existing infrastructures and are designing shopping experiences that meet and exceed their consumer growing expectations.
As I stated before, the percentage of retailers that are unable to deliver successful targeted messaging/offers is higher than one would think.  They also do not have the tools needed to deliver on basic promises they are making to consumers and one of them is directly related to commerce.  Retailers that are unable to connect data across channels and become “un-siloed” will not be able to have that single view of their customer resulting in the loss of understanding and targeting their customers and ultimately profits.  Retailers must understand the relationship between merchandising, inventory, marketing and returns and integrating this with connected data (customer profiles, purchase path & history across channels).  This will create positive experiences as well as high profits.  To create operational excellence, retailers must make intelligent commerce a priority, allowing their shoppers to execute every step of the shopping journey on their own terms (browse, shop, buy, delivery, etc).  The only view that should matter is the one through the eyes of the connected consumer.
Online MarketingPersonalization3
Digital and on-line technologies are helping retailers/brands in exponential ways and leading enterprises are combining these technologies with personalization strategies and techniques.  Web analytics provided a huge leap for personalization allowing the marketer/retailer/brand to determine consumers interests, how they came to view the page, etc.  Search results also became data that helped retailers organize their websites and marketing efforts based on the shoppers’ journey.  Today, successful enterprises will use customer data (demographics, behavioral insights) and overlay them with 3rd party data for a multi-dimensional view of who their customers are, when they are taking action and when.  This can also help build segments or “buckets” of customers that are similar.  Using techniques like this help retailers gain a better understanding of their customers and identify them prior to visiting the store so that they are able to assign them to these “buckets” and treat them in a more personalized manner.
In 2015, the personalization challenge will be the identification of touch points (mobile, web, tv, search, displays, print) to create a single view or “ID” of the customer.  Having a single ID allows the retailer to better personalize messaging and target consumers but more importantly, enables the retailer to accurately measure successes.  When these pieces are in place, retailers/brands are able to accurately learn what works and what doesn’t to apply knowledge in gaining new customers with accurate messaging and targeting.
Pricing Strategies
Shoppers are not only looking for that seamless experience but they are looking for the best deal that they can find.  Digital tools have allowed consumers to do that while they are actually in the store on their mobile devices using websites and mobile apps.  This has empowered the consumer greatly and has put pressure on physical stores as consumers can compare their prices with competitors in-store with their mobile devices.  Competition is being driven by the open visibility of prices and leading retailers with better analytics are getting smarter about what prices they need to match.  Retailers need to realize that consumers are not always driven by price but also by value.  When a retailer/brand eradicates data silos and integrates internal and external data (strategic objectives, competitive and consumer data, financial goals, etc), they can adapt better pricing tactics and strategies based on consumer and competitor behavior.  Retailers/brands need to excel their pricing strategies with taking a data-driven approach allowing them to personalize prices and offers to individual consumers.  Without leveraging analytics and creating a 360-degree view of consumers and their preferences, retailers/brands will be unable to enable a consumer-centric approach to pricing.
Customer ServiceCustomer Service2
This may seem like an obvious fact but customer service’s importance is worth mentioning.  As we already know, consumers want flexibility with shopping on their own terms, making their own decisions allowing them to make purchases when, how and at the best possible prices.  We know that they are moving away from the typical and traditional path to purchase, becoming more unpredictable and more difficult for retailers to know when and where they will be executing a final purchase. The variety and increase of touch points creates a challenge for retailers in regards to offering a satisfactory and seamless level of customer services.  Luckily with the latest advancements in technology, many enterprises are able to meet these challenges and are moving towards automation to move forward.  Leading retailers (Amazon is one that comes to mind) are already effectively combining a consumer-focused strategy with technology.  Investing in technology that will better the customer experience should facilitate a better personalized shopping experience as well as improve data driven efficiencies.  Once these technologies and processes have been put into place, the execution by the retail associate will affect the success and ability to exploit the new technology to fill the gaps the system has yet to deliver.  As automation becomes more wide-spread in customer service (self-checkouts/kiosks, etc), the humane element still plays a crucial role in the shopping experience. Customer service also relies on a high standard of personal service – the processes and people within each organization that help ensure a positive experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Heather Bowman

More from this Author

Follow Us