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The Union of Digital and In-Store Personalization Will Create the Ultimate Customer Experience

Brett Carneiro  |  October 30, 2015

Brett Carneiro  |  October 30, 2015

        

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The Decibel Insight Soapbox is a place where anybody from across the worlds of web analytics, ecommerce and user experience can go to rant or rave about whatever they feel passionate about in the industry.

Brett_Carneiro_headshot.jpgThe speaker clambering up to the Soapbox this week is Brett Carneiro. Brett is an Ecommerce & Social Media Consultant Focused on Omni-Channel Marketing and Brand Strategy – Spinning #SmarterCommerce Solutions with Storytelling at the heart.

Connect with Brett on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Brett is taking to the Soapbox to discuss the role personalization plays – and will play – in providing the ultimate customer experience in retail.

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Personalization is tremendously important for digital retail stores. It allows ecommerce sites to tailor their marketing messages to very specific audience segments. When done effectively, in real-time, this more targeted communication should result in higher conversion rates, larger average order values, opportunities for better cross-merchandising, improved customer loyalty and, of course, an overall lift in sales. It can also affect good old in-store, brick and mortar retail – more on that later.

"Personalization" has certainly been one of the biggest buzzwords of 2015, but it just replaced this idea of relevancy. How relevant is your main category page to the customer researching "holiday gifts"? How relevant is the message in your SEM advertising to the end user searching for information on "safe family cars"? How relevant is your brand's Facebook content to potential/current customers looking for "letterpress wedding invitations"?

In order for brands to be successful today and stand out from the crowded digital dashboard of other sites and ads, they need to start thinking like the customer and meet them halfway. Fundamentally, personalization should be perceived as ecommerce's version of a personal shopper. 

“Fundamentally, personalization should be perceived as ecommerce's version of a personal shopper.” 

The key to effective personalization is having the means to gather intelligence about your customers on your website (there are certainly plenty of vendors for this) and then executing against that information in a variety of ways. It starts with your website, but personalization should be actioned through email marketing, print collateral, social media, SEM, SEO, blogger outreach and so on too.

Now, interestingly, these more targeted digital messages also benefit physical retail shops because they improve brand loyalty – so this is where you can start to create some nice synergies between digital and in-store experiences. 

Indeed, with all the mobile payment options these days, merchants can now target customers before they even think of coming to their store, shoot them an offer which may convince that person to actually enter the store, then based on where they are in your store and what they are looking at you can even send them another message with a coupon or promotion for the very product they are considering.

Impressed? Well it doesn't end there. Once the happy customer has left the store, you can send them one more message thanking them for their business and offering them an additional saving to come back again some time.

This demonstrates how our digital and physical worlds are converging. Brands have the power not only to improve the customer journey, but to inspire and create the demand for that journey altogether.

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The growing convergence between what happens online and what happens in-store in terms of personalization brings to mind the other big buzzword of the year: omnichannel. 

The technology that exists in the digital world – which is gathering more and more information about our non-shopping behaviors (thanks to access we unknowingly give to apps and network providers without even being fully aware of it) – is just going to give brands more ways to influence our browsing and shopping behavior.

Forward-thinking companies are utilizing that technology to nurture one all-encompassing customer channel. They create their own product demand, work to satisfy that demand, secure a percentage of successful conversions into repeat purchases (through brand loyalty, loyalty programs/reward points and so on) – and then the cycle starts again. It won't matter how you fall into the funnel, because the funnel is getting bigger and bigger with technology, and will continue to grow the more we are connected. 

I think it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens as mobile payment solutions start to become truly ubiquitous. I've been reading more and more about a cashless world. Paper money - which couldn't really be tracked – will be replaced by digital currencies. Digital currencies leave footprints, and thus they provide data – data that can be harvested, analyzed and used to drive sales. 

There will always be a need for a VP/Director of Retail brick and mortar stores – just like there will always be a need for a VP/Director for ecommerce – but I don't think they will sit so far apart any more. In fact, they will probably be asking each other for help. 

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Do you agree with Brett’s vision for personalization? Let us know in the comments below – or join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #DecibelSoapbox.

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Brett Carneiro

Written on October 30, 2015 by:

Brett Carneiro

Ecommerce and Social Media Consultant focused on omni-channel marketing and brand strategy.

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