What does personalisation mean?
Retail is going full circle. This is the most volume-driven of all businesses, built on selling large amounts which allows vendors to be price competitive. This in turn lends itself to scale and the cookie-cutter approach. The more you can replicate a model in as many places as possible, the more economies of scale flow to the bottom line. This all still applies in very broad terms but more and more, customers are flexing their muscles. They are increasingly demanding, individual and railing against the idea of mass marketing. That's why retailers need to define what personalisation means and apply that to the way they market and communicate to customers.
What does personalisation means for your business?
One of the most used words in retail discussions these days is personalisation. But how much is the talk translated into meaningful action? Our answer would be “not nearly enough”. Personalisation goes to the very heart of the customer's relationship with the brand, the product, the shopping experience, and how they feel after the purchase. And today, customers have never had so much choice. Their personal relationship with your brand is influenced by their experiences with others, which helps to define the context.
What do you want from a personalisation strategy? Being 100% clear on this is essential if you are to control the process and get what you want/need from it. This clarity is often missing and as a result, business functions are left to interpret what they think it means for them, without appreciating the wider strategic picture. That creates thought silos.
With no clear definition, business functions tend to think of personalisation within the confines of what they do, what they can control and what budget they have. Ecommerce teams use software to personalise the online touchpoint. Store and customer service teams use their customer-facing staff to personalise / humanise shopper interactions pre, during and post purchase. Marketing teams use social media and customer communications to personalise messages and offers. Some organisations struggle to join together customer data and that prevents silos from breaking down. Others still don’t look at customer insight holistically enough, in its ability to enable a more effective level of personalisation.
The customer has to be at the heart of any consumer business. There needs to be a single view with a single definition, so the entire business is singing from the same hymn sheet. There are a multitude of aspects governing personalisation and it is vital to have a clear, holistic view that all departments understand and can sign up to. Their wants, needs, motivations and where else they shop.
What businesses need to do is define what personalisation means and ensure that this definition is clearly incorporated into an overall customer vision, strategy and delivery plans for that strategy. All departments need to understand, buy into and own their part of the strategy and delivery. To achieve this requires sharp internal communication and collaboration. As a result all employees will have clear direction on what to do and importantly, what not do, in their role to deliver the strategy. This boosts employee engagement as well as engagement from the customer, as a result of a more seamless, positive customer experience.