In the retail market today, brands are trying to get more personal with their customers, but few are doing it right. Here are some tips on successful ways to win at the personalization game.

It all starts with collecting good data. It is important to look at each customer’s history. Review information such as customer shopping patterns, preferences, sizes, colors, and fit. A review of the customer’s shopping cart items and shopping cart abandonments is also an excellent method to understand the customer. Another key to collecting good data is to be honest with the customer and explain your privacy policy, and also the benefits to the customer when they become part of your data collection. Benefits can include special offers, free shipping of items, sale merchandise and other valuable offers.

A recent example of this is when Amazon bought Whole Foods it told customers that if they used their Prime membership they would get a discount. Also, keep in mind that research shows that consumers expect a fast response to reinforce the data collection. A special offer of something is expected by customers within 24 hours.

Benefits can also include developing retail partners with vendors, or other types of partners. If you are a retailer and you want to provide your database with
something that does not conflict with the sale of your products, you can choose another type of company to provide value-added. It could be a complimentary buy-one-get-one complimentary meal or it could be a 30-day membership to a gym; there are many eager companies looking to increase their brand awareness and sales that you can tap into. Personalization is also about making the transactions less painful for customers, so the focus should be on how to improve your brand’s service or experience to meet the customer’s satisfaction.

Data is a powerful tool, but it’s all too often out of reach of the very people who need it most. That is changing as the model for consuming technology and the technology itself evolves to better support the needs of companies.

The ability to collect, manage, and intelligently leverage data will clearly be a differentiator for the foreseeable future for just about any brand or retailer.

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