Hyper Personalization in Retail – I Want it that Way
I still love that Backstreet Boys song.
Know every lyric. In fact, my 12-year-old daughter can also recite it to me word for word. The truth is, that phrase resonates more today than it ever did. But the concept is nothing new.
Nowadays, everything has become more and more about ‘me’. When I come home, I can shout my favorite command to google, make only certain lights go on, adjusted to a specific temperature and brightness, accompanied by my favorite old school RnB tunes to welcome me. When I scroll through short, addictive Reels on Instagram, they cater to what I seem to like or stay tuned into. And these are just a few examples. Honestly, I’m not ashamed to say that I love all this attention I’m getting. I deserve it! And so, why wouldn’t it be the same for my online and in store experiences? It has to be.
Personalization has existed for many years. Segments of customers with similar interests and demographics have been receiving targeted email, SMS and in store offers for years. What started off as ‘mass’ communication’ become more targeted, which was a great step forward.
So, what is ‘Hyper’- Personalization?
Hyper-personalization is the most advanced way brands can tailor their marketing to individual customers. It’s done by creating custom and targeted experiences through the use of data, analytics, AI, and automation. Through hyper-personalization, companies can send highly contextualized communications to specific customers at the right place and time, and through the right channel.
[Bilal Jaffery – Deloitte – Connecting with meaning Hyper-personalizing the customer experience using data, analytics, and AI]
It’s not only about what you bought, where you live, or how old you are. It’s also about that item you clicked on, the basket you abandoned, that twitter comment you made, your latest phone call in to customer service, how often you walk by a store, your lifestyle preferences, the preferences and historical shopping habits of people similar to you… this can go on forever.
Hyper-personalization should mean receiving relevant messaging and offers via any channel. Often when I head to the airport in Montreal, my airport app alerts me with offers for various restaurants and shops as I approach the terminal departures area. Some may think that’s personal. I find it annoying. Why am I receiving offers for women’s costume jewelry I’ve never shown interest in? I should instead receive offers from that menswear store I visit, specifically for Ray-Ban sunglasses that I’ve been browsing on the store’s commerce site as well as on Ray-Ban’s Instagram ads. Once I enter the store, the associate should know who I am, and what I’ve purchased on any channel. He or she can direct me to the relevant department and products. The next time I visit, my experience will be even more tailored based on the feedback I provide, my purchases, and my interactions with in-store technology such as smart shelves, mirrors, and beacons.
Hyper-personalization also means my real time, in session online experience, which includes the pages I see, the products recommended to me, and the price I pay, should constantly adapt and excite me based on my consent, preferences, browsing habits, and purchase history. The more the commerce site learns about me, the better the experience will be for me. More shopping, less clutter.
And finally, we cannot forget about the positive impact Hyper-personalization has on sustainability, and ROI. If you offer me the right item, at the right price, and ship it to me on time, I probably won’t return it. This means a smaller carbon footprint due to less return packaging, transportation, and less items ending up in a landfill.
So then, what do retailers need to make this real? Various solutions play an active role.
- In store experiential technology leveraging IOT and sensor data can gather those customer events, and potential purchase intent, and even direct customers to where they need to go, before they even decide to purchase
- Point of sale is still the backbone of retail, securely identifying customers, gathering transactions, and so much more
- Commerce solutions transact, display recommendations, enable contextual product discovery, upsell, capture consent, provide personalized promotions and offers, and must do all of this in a simple, intuitive way
- Marketing solutions can gather all those omnichannel insights, events, and demographics and use them to properly segment audiences for more personalized engagements
- Service needs access to a 360-degree view of customer history, preferences, orders, product information, return intelligence, and more to provide that level of service that goes beyond expectations
- Customer Data Solutions are needed to provide and manage consent and authentication, while coordinating, gathering, and enhancing customer data from various channels to create that golden record for analytics, marketing, service, and more
- ERP and supply chain pricing, inventory, order management, and fulfillment are key to making sure that the price is right, the item is available, and that it gets shipped on time
That’s just to name a few. And of course, they all need to work in symbiosis. Sounds simple enough:).
I’m all for it. Hit me up with those offers that I want to see. Bombard me. I can take it. In fact…I WANT it that way.
Am I wrong? Have we gone too far nowadays? Too much personal data being gathered? Leave me your thoughts. In the meantime, read up more about personalization.