Retail businesses aim to deliver positive customer experiences for their users by creating messages that their audience finds relevant, useful, and easy to understand.
Today’s post highlights the differences between customer experience personalization and optimization, and what yields the best ROI for Retail Brands.
“If brand loyalty is a goal, make sure you have a detailed understanding of your customers.” — Salesforce
The notion of personalization might sound stale to you as it has been around for years. But why is this still a relevant touchpoint for businesses?
This is because customers today are leaning toward brands they feel listen to them, understand them, and pay attention to their specific wants and needs. Consider it a basic customer expectation for businesses to deliver a positive customer experience. Hence, creating a personalized engagement strategy is a must-have for increasing conversions and loyalty in retail.
Optimization stems from behavioral data. It is about finding a balance between what your customers want and what your business can afford to offer — improving customer experiences for the average user.
Personalization on the other hand is a more intentional approach focused on addressing each customer’s specific needs.
Ideally, both approaches should be closely associated; but many brands are distracted by the number of resources they think are pivotal to doing it right. How else can you possibly keep up with changing preferences, individual history, and needs, all while maintaining continuity across channels?
Creating personalized experiences that deliver real value for your customers and your business is actually much easier than you think with the right tools in place.
“Almost 90% of online businesses already invest in personalization.” — Forrester
Technology such as conversational AI and predictive analytics can take off all the time and cost-consuming manual work and enable you to create outstanding AI-powered, data-backed experiences effortlessly — and with a smart conversational engagement tool, you can do so across all the preferred channels your customers use!
How personalized experiences help retail brands stand out
“72% of customers will only engage with personalized messaging.” — SmarterHQ
“48% of consumers have left a company’s website and made a purchase elsewhere. The only reason: the experience was poorly curated.” — Accenture survey, 2018
If you’ve ever bought something on impulse while casually browsing through the Internet, you know that not every purchase decision is a rational one — our emotions play a big role, too.
Emotions are personal to us. And that personal connection is something that savvy retail brands are leveraging via contextual marketing to create relevancy, increase loyalty, and essentially boost their bottom line.
“Consumers are more than twice as likely to view personalized offers as important than unimportant.” — Salesforce
Therefore, personalization efforts should consistently focus on appealing to the consumers’ emotions by delivering real value. Demonstrate that you understand your customers and help them achieve their goals!
But how do you spot the right personalization opportunities?
A good way to get started is to think about what’s good for your customers. Whatever this is, is good for your conversion and loyalty rates!
- Get up close and personal with your data — Don’t let data be an obstruction on your path to delivering better retail experiences.
Of course, data is the key to knowing your customers intimately enough to then begin trying to meet their needs or predict what they might want at a particular touchpoint throughout the customer journey. Customer data should be at the core of your personalization efforts.
Be that as it may, don’t aim for perfection. Understand that you can not make everything happen overnight — you might not be able to start running hyper-personalized campaigns just yet. Work with the customer data you already have, even if that means starting off with things as simple as using the customer’s first name or location. Just endeavor to be creative and keep it simple.
2. Identify imbalance and dropout points in your customer journey, and fix them!
Look into the purchase and browsing history, content, and channels, identify customer preferences, anticipate their needs — and address them!
3. Consistently learn from your customers
When it comes to customer journey optimization through personalization, constant learning and experimentation are the way to go. Each new experiment — good or bad, will help you learn something useful to improve campaign performance and ROI.
If you however still can’t figure out why things work or fail, try taking a few things:
- Try walking in your customers’ shoes! Experience your buyer journey yourself or request feedback from a few customers.
- Implement two-way conversations in your customer engagement strategy. it’s an impressive strategy for brands looking to improve digital experiences and ROI.