Do you remember the days when you could go into your local store and the store assistant would have your items ready before you’d even had a chance to draw a breath? On top of that, they’d be making suggestions and offering you products based on what they know you need, and what you might like too. Fast-forward a few years and this level of service has fallen by the wayside. Or has it?
Retailers are now looking to the past in order to improve their future. According to research conducted by eBay, about one-third of UK and German consumers used multiple channels during a recent purchase. With consumers interacting with brands across multiple touch points including in-store, online and mobile, retailers find themselves in a powerful position. They have the opportunity to collect huge amounts of qualitative data which will allow them to gain a greater understanding of their customers which will help to deliver a totally personalised shopping experience to their customers, just like the good old days!
A recent survey by big-data marketing company BloomReach revealed that 31% of consumers said they would be “more likely to make purchases if they were offered personalised experiences such as product recommendations or tailored content.” However, only 2% of the 122 UK online retailers involved in the survey said that they thought a personalised shopping experience was an important factor. This just highlights the gap between what consumers are looking for in an online experience, and what the retailers themselves think their consumers are looking for.
A great example of in-store personalisation is sportswear and running shoe retailer Asics. The brand launched a brand new, interactive, digital product advisor which was unveiled in their flagship store in Hamburg in October last year. The Product Advisor combines a wall-mounted screen and iPad to match customers to their recommended shoe based on a series of questions, personal preferences and their running habits. This new technology is just one way in which the retailer is striving to deliver a more personalised customer experience.
The Advisor “invites customers to engage” rather than waiting for them to make the move, and this means that even when customers are just browsing they are engaging in a personalised experience. Rick Curtis, Chief Strategy Officer at Global Digital Marketing and Technology Firm; Amaze, said: “The idea of the Product Advisor is to not only offer customers this in depth experience but also to engage them with the brand on a one-to-one basis.
“The Advisor is theatrical by its very nature and has been choreographed so that it cannot be ignored by passing customers. Actively inviting customers to engage, it’s an example of how retailers can successfully blur the line between the digital and in-store environments.”
Personalisation in retail is absolutely ready to change up a gear, but it’s vital for retailers to remember that a personalised experience should be a pleasant one. Use the data you’re collecting wisely in a sophisticated and transparent manner. Don’t push too hard and never attempt to disguise how you intend to use their data. Arm your in-store sales assistants with the technology like mobile POS and Clienteling solutions to enable them to access customer data and give them the personalised brand encounter they’ve become to expect.