Customer service without personalisation is like a pizza without topping.
Personalisation is about creating memorable customer experiences and building lasting relationships. If customer experience were a tool kit, it would simply not be complete without personalisation as one of its tools.
Its role in retail is vital now more than ever before as customer expectations continue to rise and their needs continue to change. Customers want a personalised shopping experience, and they know it’s possible to get it. Because customers have learned to expect personalisation, this is even more reason why it is essential for retailers to adopt strategies to deliver the value that customers desire.
So how exactly does personalisation create a memorable customer experience? And who is already using this element of customer experience to their advantage?
How It Works
Personalisation creates a memorable experience by making the customer feel appreciated and understood. By recognising customers as individuals, this allows for a greater connection between the customer and the retailer. An example of showing this understanding is when customers are sent an email addressed to them personally, outlining the offers or promotions that are relevant to them based on their purchase history. If a customer feels like their uniqueness is understood, they are then more likely to purchase, and purchase again, with your brand.
Another way that personalisation creates a memorable customer experience is by allowing customers to be involved with the personalisation process. In an age of mass production where items are less likely to be unique or one of a kind, customers enjoy being able to build their own product and customise the details themselves. This process adds value to the purchase process by adding value to the product. Something as a simple as a ‘personalise me’ option gives the customer the tools they need to feel a greater sense of engagement with a brand, and an experience that they are less likely to forget.
Who Is Already Doing It?
More and more retail companies are choosing to get personal with their customers, regardless of whether they’re on or offline. We’ve chosen a few that we think stand out to share with you as current examples of how this customer experience element works in action.
Amazon uses personalised algorithms so that when a customer goes to view their homepage, they are met with a range of product recommendations that are relevant to them based on their purchase history. This algorithm tailors the journey for the customer so that they can cut through clutter and have a personal online experience. Although this strategy may seem obvious, there are still many retailers who are yet to do this.
HelloFresh is one of the leaders of the pack when it comes to giving customers a diverse choice range. Customers can customise their purchase based on the preference framework HelloFresh has created based on an individual’s dietary requirements and living arrangements. This preference framework makes the shopping process less overwhelming, less crowded, and the customer can feel like their eating habits are personally understood.
Sephora understands the need for their customers to experiment with their makeup, however discovered that these customers were unable to experiment as much as they would like to. In response to this discovery, they released their augmented reality (AR) app called Virtual Artist. This AR app allows customers to hold up their phone and virtually ‘try on’ the makeup from the comfort of their own home. Sephora can then build a customer profile from this app, and as a result are able to better understand the different preferences of that customer. Numerous other brands have also jumped on the AR app boat to equip customers with this try before you buy access, such as IKEA Place and Dulux Visualiser.
While customers want personalisation, it must be remembered that they want it on their own terms. Whilst it can be extremely effective to send promotion codes while your customer is searching online or visits instore, retailers need to understand that customers don’t want to feel intruded/harassed, or feel like their personal data is being abused. The challenge for retailers will be earning and maintaining the trust of their customers, and ensuring that they remain transparent about how they use and store customer data.
At the end of the day, a pizza needs topping, and a memorable customer experience needs personalisation to be at its best.
Next week we will delve further to explore another integral element of customer experience- and maybe even another pizza analogy, too.
Until next time,