How personalization is changing retail
In today’s era of personalization, consumers are looking for unique shopping experiences tailored to their tastes and preferences. In this article, we explore how personalization is impacting retail and how companies can leverage this trend to drive growth and customer loyalty.
The algorithms of social networks and Google itself have accustomed us to getting what we are looking for in a simple way, in fact almost without asking for it. Social networks and Google are in charge of offering us the content that catches our attention and hide the content that interests us very little, that’s why we like to spend so much time on them. Today we are looking to replicate this same experience of personalization in retail, because that is when the final consumer decides for one brand or another.
What does it mean to sell in the era of personalization?
The way we do business has undergone a revolution in recent years. With the massification of online stores and the Internet and social networks in general, shoppers’ expectations have increased dramatically. You don’t have to be in retail sales to realize that the most successful businesses are the ones that treat each customer as if they were the only one. From handing you your coffee cup with your name on it, to modifying products on demand, strategies to win over customers are setting the bar higher every day.
For a long time, salespeople were the ones who had the upper hand and determined how the buying process should be, but now in such a competitive world you must provide extra value to stand out from your competition, because your customers are no longer satisfied with being in the background.
Fortunately, today’s technology makes the task easier, because we have access to data that allows us to know our customers better, to offer a personalized service.
Today, the businesses that prosper and those that manage to survive the first year are those that dare to put the customer at the center of everything. Because we can measure customer interaction with our business, we can now tailor our buying process to their needs. This is the main characteristic of the era of personalization.
According to a Deloitte study, 50% of consumers prefer to buy personalized products or personalized experiences. Although one of the first industries to adopt this hyper-personalization was the fashion industry, today this way of selling has reached all markets, including retail, where brands used to be at the center.
When we talk about personalization, we are talking about offering individual solutions to customers. Personalization goes beyond just adapting the product or service, as it has reached the entire purchasing process. Therefore, retail is facing new challenges and today we are going to tell you what are some of the things that are changing, so that your business can start offering a personalized customer experience.
The power of data
In the past, we have talked about the importance of big data in everyday life and in particular for the business world. Thanks to technology, data collection and analysis allow retailers to better understand their customers in order to offer experiences that are tailored to their needs.
If you have an online store then you already know how much data you have access to, but physical businesses are not far behind because today they can collect data on customer satisfaction.
By collecting data such as customer age, gender or schooling, you can get a clearer idea of what your ideal customer is like and what their needs are. However, data collection does not end there, as it is essential throughout the entire buying process, even from the moment the customer makes the first contact with your business, to the post-sales follow-up.
If you want to offer a personalized experience you have to start by collecting data, you can do some satisfaction surveys or surveys on the ease at key moments of the purchase process, such as payment, delivery or return; you can help you with one of the many evaluation tools that are on the market.
Personalized shopping experience
Retail is the last link in the sales process for a brand, which is why, for a long time, it was the brands themselves who dictated how the buying and selling process would be. However, those involved in this sector have to change this if they don’t want to lose out to online commerce.
From online personalization to physical stores, the best-performing retailers are adapting their strategies to deliver individualized shopping experiences.
No matter what niche market you are targeting, you must offer personalized shopping experiences. To achieve this, it is important to create a customer journey map with which you can pay attention to how the customer experiences each moment of the purchase process. The important thing is to provide a service that makes the customer feel unique and not just another buyer.
Personalized recommendations and suggestions
Another of the transformations that retail is undergoing, thanks to personalization, is that you can offer your customers totally focused purchase suggestions, so you can be sure that these recommendations will be conversions, so you can forget about mass advertising.
Once again data is the key and thanks to tools like algorithms or artificial intelligence we can use it to offer highly relevant product recommendations and personalized suggestions to customers through email marketing campaigns or else internet and network advertising with the help of Google Ads or Facebook Ads.
This also means that you will be able to run less costly campaigns with better results, as you will be reaching only those customers who are really interested in certain products and not massively.
Surely you have already heard one of the maxims of marketing: it is cheaper to convert a customer than to make a sale. For marketing, one of the most important objectives is not to make sales, as is often thought, but to achieve loyal customers, because they mean subsequent sales and not just one-time sales. In other words, focusing your efforts on building customer loyalty is more productive than launching a campaign to attract new customers.
The era of personalization is also changing this, and offering a more personal shopping experience and non-invasive follow-up after the sale can help you convince a new customer to return to your business.
A good example of this is that loyalty programs are evolving to adapt to individual customer preferences and reward interaction as well as personalized shopping.
Some challenges for retail personalization
Undoubtedly, the era of personalization promises great benefits for the retail sector, but above all it promises its survival in a world where commerce competes for customers’ attention. However, it also poses new challenges for its transformation.
The first of these is that the retail sector not only has to adapt to the customer, but also to the brands, and it may be difficult to match the interests and needs of both. On the other hand, one of the challenges faced by personalization is the limitation to collect personal data, which may affect the design of sales strategies.
In addition, personalization implies a change in important company structures, such as marketing and customer service departments, especially at the technological level, since the implementation of CRM programs is necessary, which also translates into an extra cost.
The era of personalization is revolutionizing retail, offering exciting opportunities for both retailers and consumers. Those who can adapt and deliver relevant, personalized shopping experiences will be better positioned to meet changing customer demands and thrive in this new landscape. Tell us what other changes you’ve seen in the retail sector thanks to personalization.