As retailers continue to reimagine their physical stores with innovative digital technologies, “personalization” is emerging as one of the most compelling opportunities. By arming associates with real-time data, personalization enables store personnel to know their customers as never before – and to begin influencing their purchase decisions from the time they arrive in the store.
A new BRP Consumer Study, combined with our just published 20th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Survey, reveals the importance of personalization in the shopping experience.
The key to customer loyalty
One striking result from the Consumer Study is the importance shoppers place on receiving personalized service from a sales associate – 79% of shoppers surveyed said it was an important factor in determining which store they choose to shop at.
Personalization from sales associates is much more effective when the associate can identify customers and access their profiles as they walk in the store. However, only 37% of retailers surveyed indicated they can identify customers before checkout. Given the high level of consumer desire for a personalized experience, retailers for whom shoppers are anonymous until completing their purchases have a clear opportunity to build customer loyalty and increase sales through greater personalization.
The first step is to know all repeat customers the minute they enter the store, typically identifying them by their mobile phones and a combination of beacons, Wi-Fi, or MAC address. Consumers do not consider this intrusive, as 64% of shoppers surveyed say they are comfortable being identified electronically if it leads to a more personalized experience.
Once the customer is known, it’s easy to push mobile promotions. Retailers that immediately identify customers today most often utilize mobile loyalty programs (52% of retailers surveyed, up significantly from 32% last year), and mobile websites/apps (49% of retailers). Within three years, 75% of retailers plan to offer these mobile personalization strategies.
The power of clienteling
For even greater customer engagement, associates should have access to a customer’s profile and purchase history to more completely personalize the shopping experience. This requires real-time data, customer context (weather, location, time of day, etc.) and analytics to accurately identify shopper preferences. Only 25% of retailers surveyed currently offer associates the ability to make highly relevant product suggestions, promotions, and rewards before the customer reaches the checkout.
Expect clienteling to explode as a competitive weapon. Within two years, 86% of retailers plan to provide product recommendations based on previous purchases, and 78% plan to offer personalized rewards based on customer loyalty.
To accelerate your own move to personalization
Enabling personalization can be a demanding project to implement, but the rewards for both consumers and retailers are enormous. To learn more, please visit booth #4609 at NRF 2019. BRP Consulting will be happy to share additional findings from the Consumer Study and 20th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Survey and discuss the best approaches for moving forward.
Ken Morris is the Principal of BRP Consulting. Ken previously served as CEO and President of LakeWest Group and founder of CFT Consulting and CFT Systems, a retail software company. Earlier in his career, he held retail information technology executive positions at Lord & Taylor, Filene’s (Macy’s), Talbots, Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, and Sears. Ken is experienced in strategy, selection development and deployment of retail management systems and processes.
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