Consumers are connecting with brands via multiple channels, which means retailers must do more to drive customer loyalty.

Marketing teams need to harness actionable insights from the multiple data channels available to them to create engaging and relevant conversations with the customers.

The more personalised the experience, the happier the customer.

The happy customer isn’t just a customer who wishes to purchase more, they are a customer that is retained, upsold to and – perhaps most importantly – a customer who becomes an advocate for your brand.

Every customer is on their own unique journey. Motivations to try, buy or stay loyal change depending on the individual making the choice.

But marketers can ‘own’ that moment by using technology to harvest and interpret data and create contextualised campaigns that are triggered by customer behaviour, not by their best guess.

Marketers need to gain a single view of their customers that will enable them to deliver even more personalised marketing interactions that increase brand engagement and sales.

They need to interpret big data to automatically personalise and contextualise marketing communication that will help their brands to engage and build relationships with their customers.

They also need to contextualise any messaging by using a host of factors including location, weather, customer age and gender, favourite brands and products, web browsing history, past buying behaviour and abandoned carts.   

Here are my top five tips for retailers on how marketers can utilise personalisation.

Build trust with your customers

The first step to creating a personalisation project is to gain the trust of your customers. This way they will offer up more personal information about themselves that will allow true personalisation to occur.

The more data a retailer is able to gather about its customers, the more refined and targeted marketing messages become. 

Don’t track people who don’t want to be tracked

Building a relationship with customers includes not tracking those people who don’t want to be tracked.

Retailers have to have explicit permission to collect certain information about customers.

A retailer can ask for as much information they want to but this has to be weighed up with turning off some customers who will not be happy about a retailer collecting certain information about them.

Create segments of one

Marketers have been used to creating segments of their customers based on common traits they share.

Now with greater amounts of data being collected about customers, we are seeing segments of one being developed.

These are segments of individual customers with unique preferences and demographic information that can be used to offer them individually personalised marketing messages.

When someone sees highly personalised offers and messages targeted specifically to them, they are more likely to respond to this type of marketing.

Offer real-time personalised promotions and offers

Customers are much more likely to respond to an offer or promotion if it is personalised and sent to them while they are actually shopping for a product or purchasing a service.

People are receptive to promotions and offers and if these are personalised it will help to push customers to purchase more and help to increase the marketing ROI for retailers.

Offer personalised cross-generational marketing messages

Another way that a retailer can really personalise marketing messages to their customers is finding out the different age groups their customers belong to and offering them content based on this demographic factor.

It’s becoming clear that advanced email and truly personalised marketing are key to successful marketing campaigns and driving incremental revenue and that contextually relevant real-time interactions are no longer optional extras for marketers.


Published 23 October, 2015 by Dr Janet Bastiman

Dr Janet Bastiman is Chief Science Officer at SmartFocus and a contributor to Econsultancy.

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Comments (3)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

Good article. I totally agree that appropriate personalization boosts ROI and is becoming increasingly essential, but there are a couple more really important issues.

(1) It's great to know a lot about your existing customers, but about 75% of shoppers arriving at a typical Website are new. You know almost zero about them. They probably bounce within 4 page views, so you only have a very short time to sell to them, which means it's essential that you can also personalize based on crowd-sourced data - trending product recommendations and the like.

(2) Real-time is essential. One of the biggest pluses for real-time personalization is that it can avoid dumb mistakes such as continuing to market products that are low stock, out-of-stock, or where the price was keyboarded wrong. For example product recommendations in emails must be generated at "open time" not at "send time". It's almost free for the marketer (using the right system), but real-time personalization can boost sales more than any clever marketing algorithm. For example:

almost 3 years ago


Matt Quinn, Cso at Sauce

Great point on the tracking of customers that don't want to be tracked Kym!

It's almost silly right? Customers want personalized experiences but at the same time they ask you to know nothing about them. What we've found is that if a retailer points out that they cannot personalize to a customer as they have opted out of tracking; the customer ends up permitting tracking but also becomes loyal as they appreciate the transparency.

Another cool tool I've seen in use is retailer polls/questions. Instead of asking every visitor on your site if a question. The questions have been tailored to customers in a specific segment thus providing more information for a single segment to become 3 or 4.


almost 3 years ago

Ivan Burmistrov

Ivan Burmistrov, Usability Expert at interUX Usability Engineering Studio OÜ

“The more personalised the experience, the happier the customer”??

It's not all that simple. There is a lot of research showing that customers don’t want personalization.

“Only 16% shoppers say they are willing to buy a product suggested by a website based on their interests and past purchases”:

Retailers rank personalization first, but customers rank it fourth among six CX trends:

Customers definitely hate retargeting:

Why do consumers ignore personalized offers? New research says customized deals often backfire:

People don’t want to be tracked even if it means more relevant ads:

Studies show that 63% of consumers say they have grown numb to personalisation and 33% say they are annoyed by superficial personalisation:

It's not all that simple…

almost 3 years ago

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