Retailers know that personalisation drives engagement and sales, where the ultimate end-game is true 1:1 customisation of the entire user journey for each and every shopper.
While stitching up all the data from the different touch points with the consumer is the biggest single challenge a multichannel retailer faces today, taking this data and then scaling personalisation across every touch point is just as tricky.
Technology clearly lies at the heart of making this personalisation dream a reality, and the right technology is becoming increasingly accessible. However, the truth is that the breadth of what is out there can be overwhelming.
Relevant data rules
Meaningful personalisation isn‘t possible without the “right” data. But with masses of data retailers tend to overcomplicate things by looking at it too much. It‘s about sourcing and unlocking the data across vital touch points which will unlock the biggest value.
For example, Topman provides all of its student customers with a built-in option for student discounts when browsing online. However, the data identifying which users are students was locked away in an internal system, completely separate from the website.
Using a website personalisation platform, Topman pulled the siloed data from its CRM system, combined it with behavioural web data, and were then able to build targeted personalisations from those insights.
This delivered targeted experiences at scale, enabling Topman to provide all students with the same discount as they are offered in-store.
Invest in the right experiences
With the right data being collected and processed, it‘s then important to make sure you are powering the right experiences for your customers. But which ones work best? Will changing the colour of a button on the website or adding a countdown timer have the biggest impact on a shopper’s behaviour?
Traditionally there has been a fog hanging over the real world impact of these experiences However, a new study from Qubit has for the first time shed some light onto this effectiveness debate.
They analysed the effectiveness of optimisation and personalisation techniques by looking at more than 120 million purchases made across two billion user journeys. They found that by far the most valuable set of techniques in the analysis can be grouped around the idea of creating purchase impetus, as opposed to making cosmetic changes such as tinkering with the colours or buttons on a website.
There is a huge matrix of choice out there when it comes to powering your data-fuelled experiences, but you need to have a clear understanding of what the real impact of each experience is to make an informed decision.
Scale it with AI
Many personalisation efforts are essentially one-offs, but the ability to scale through automation and deliver all the effective techniques in combination is a real competitive advantage. Processing huge amounts of data and then using this to create personalised experiences across disparate groups of high value customers is what will make a significant impact on customer loyalty and ultimately spend.
As retail becomes increasingly competitive and customers trade brand loyalty for price and convenience, effective personalisation will become the industry‘s battleground and data the weapon of choice. But to truly reach a personalisation nirvana requires a level of automation and scale few in the industry have yet mastered.
Gareth Rees-John is the Digital Director at Topman