Brick-and-Mortar Chasing the Personalization Gap in 2018

Thanksgiving-SaleAs we head into a week of Thanksgiving and Black Friday and then Cyber Monday, I’m sure this retail blog will resonate in some way. These days, no matter whether shoppers are in store or online, the expectations of a personalized experience are only increasing. I mean I now expect that I’ll receive coupons/notifications/emails that are tailored to what I buy. This is forcing retailers to step up their game for the upcoming holiday season … or is it?

We all want to be treated as individuals and with all the rapidly evolving technology out there, we expect companies to keep up. From the big box stores to Amazon to local mom and pop shops, we enjoy having that personalized experience and we expect it to be factored into the marketing efforts from the brands we shop, am I right?

According to NectarOM Marketing Personalization Survey, 83% of us expect a personalized retail experience. This only reinforces the point that a personalized experience is essential to winning the hearts of the retail customer.

The truth is though, that it’s actually a tough ask for many big box stores. While they may do a great job at personalizing your online experience, many do not do so well of a personalization job in their physical stores. Most stores provide essentially the same shopping experience for all shoppers, and there’s a valid reason for it: The cost is low and the overall experience is good enough for customers. However, that means the personalization factor is lost. This can result in a confused message and a big gap between online and offline marketing.

What gives? This is really a data and a technology problem.

The good news for us is that 88% of retailers agree that personalization is a top priority in order to meet customer expectations. Unfortunately, a little less than a half of retailers report a big discrepancy between that initiative, budget and the resources set aside to narrow the personalization gap. About a third surveyed say that it will be an initiative for 2018, but clearly marketers are still at the beginning stages of this in-store personalization quest.

Perhaps there is some low-hanging fruit for retailers. More than half of us shoppers expect to receive a personalized discount within the first 24 hours of visiting. This outreach alone can drive brand loyalty, and since the most expensive impulse buys still happen at brick-and-mortar locations, that touch point shouldn’t be left out of the planning.

The bottom line is that we expect companies to remember who we are, whether we found them on a digital channel or walked into a physical store. The marketers who get personalization right will gain loyal customers, reap the sales rewards, and I will most certainly be writing about them in one of my blogs next year. And who wouldn’t want that?

Happy Thanksgiving!


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