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Data Makes The Difference: How Direct-To-Consumer Brands Can Take Data And Personalization To The Next Level

0aaOlivier Scott ScalefastThe e-Commerce world is constantly transforming thanks to the rise of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands over the past few years. From razor blade subscription services to major apparel brands, more and more companies are tapping the Internet to sell their products straight to customers. DTC sales are expected to increase by 71% in 2018 alone, according to Forbes.

While DTC business models are profiting from eliminating third-party resellers that have typically served as middlemen, one of the biggest benefits of this shift is that brands are now able to learn more about their customers than ever before. By owning the customer relationship from start to finish, brands are able to collect a wide range of transactional, behavioral, demographic and CRM data.

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44% Of Shoppers Reward Retailers That Share Their Values

While price and experience remain top-of-mind for shoppers choosing a retailer, a company’s culture and philanthropy also make important contributions to brand perception. Consumers prefer shopping at retailers that share their values, and are more likely to share personal information with them as well.

A brand’s alignment with personal values is important to 52% of Millennials, 48% of Gen Xers and 35% of Baby Boomers, according to the Evolution of Retail: The Brand Perception Effect study from Euclid. While brand perception has the strongest effect among Millennials, it still matters across all generations: 44% of all consumers say they want retailers they shop at to share their values.

“This is part of a broader theme that we talk about it, which is that traditional advertising and marketing is changing pretty dramatically,” said Brent Franson, CEO of Euclid in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “If your marketing is not relevant, consumers, particularly younger generations, will tune out.”

Inclusion Draws Millennials; Baby Boomers Want American-Made

Expressing positive values is more likely to elicit trust from consumers than opposing negative issues. Diversity and inclusion were the most important values among Millennials, with 52% of this generation finding them important. In comparison, 33% of Gen Xers and 17% of Baby Boomers agreed that these issues matter.

“I think what we’re seeing with the younger generations is more diversity being represented and resonating,” said Franson. “That makes sense, because we have such a diverse population.”

Some retailers already are embracing authenticity and diversity in their marketing. Nike has launched the Pro Hijab and features female athletes from the Middle East in its ads. CVS Health is giving its beauty ads a makeover as part of its “Beauty in Real Life” campaign, which features unaltered imagery of a diverse cast of women.

Among Baby Boomers, 66% consider “American-made” products to be a positive contributor to a brand’s perception. While this term has less impact among younger shoppers, it still resonates with 50% of Gen Xers and 33% of Millennials.

Loyalty Trumps Inconvenience

When retailers can engender brand loyalty among shoppers, the benefits can be widespread. For example, loyal shoppers are more likely to stick with an omnichannel retailer even if the physical location nearest to them closes. While nearly 20% of shoppers would switch allegiance to a similar retailer with a physical location in their vicinity, another 40% would choose to shop at that retailer’s e-Commerce site or travel to the next-nearest location instead.

Should a preferred retailer close its nearest outlet, 41% of Millennial shoppers would search for or purchase a retailer’s products online 70% of the time or more. However, Millennials are generally more willing than Baby Boomers to check out new brands online, soretailers should secure Millennials’ loyalty quickly to keep their business.

“What we find with older generations is that there’s more of a fear of the unknown, that their credit card is going to be stolen or that they’re going to put some information into the wrong corner of the Internet,” said Franson. “With Millennials there’s more of a willingness to try something new and hip that aligns with their values. They’re more comfortable spending money online.”

Trust Forms The Foundation Of Personalization

Trust doesn’t just build loyalty and drive purchases — it also builds up faith that the company won’t misuse personal information. This effect can give retailers tools to improve personalization: 41% of shoppers are open to having retailers know their purchase history if they trust the brand.

Another 35% of shoppers feel comfortable sharing their purchase history if they have previously made a purchase from that retailer. Baby Boomers are particularly likely to develop loyalty to a brand through shopping at its brick-and-mortar locations, according to Franson.

However, gaining a consumer’s trust is just the start. Shoppers are even more responsive to receiving tangible benefits in return for sharing personal data: 52% of Americans said they would let a retailer know their purchase history in exchange for coupons or other promotional discounts.

“I think there’s a more explicit awareness of the value of data,” said Franson. “With the tradeoff of knowing I’m going to have a brand talking to me more, I want to make sure I’m getting something in exchange.”

While promotions are almost always good for grabbing shoppers’ attention, appealing to their values is an effective alternate path to building loyalty. The beneficial halo from a positive brand perception can continue boosting sales well after an ad campaign ends, by creating a loyal customer who appreciates shopping with a retailer that shares their ideals.

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Personalization — Beyond Experience To Products And Services

0aaAmitava Sengupta HCL TechnologiesA few years back, personalizing the experience was more of a set of specific options that you could choose from a set of possibilities — a specific color, a nice monogram, cuts and smaller things that focused on the soft factors but did not usually impact the composition of the product itself.

Today, with rapid advances in technology, dramatically enhanced customer expectations and the increasing need for organizations to differentiate to stay relevant, more and more organizations are including a true personalization experience into their portfolio. Interestingly, some of these offerings have progressed beyond simple, trivial variations to core changes in the composition of the product itself or the way it is consumed.

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Oracle Bronto Releases Personalized Product Recommendations Platform

Oracle Brontohas launched Recommendations Web, a platform designed to enable marketers to add dynamic, personalized product recommendations anywhere on their e-Commerce site.

With Recommendations Web, retail marketers can leverage a combination of custom business rules and predictive models to automate dynamic recommendations without the need for extensive technical support. The platform can provide a transition from email to web by ensuring consistent branding and appearance of product recommendations across channels.

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47% Of Shoppers Comfortable With Use Of AI In Business Interactions

Just under half (47%) of surveyed shoppers are comfortable with companies using artificial intelligence (AI) in business interactions, with men slightly more comfortable (53%) than women (43%), according to a survey from SAS. Despite these general reservations, significant minorities of shoppers accept the use of AI for specific purposes:

  • Sending personalized, in-store information based on their physical location (40%);
  • Accessing payment information from their smartphones at cashier-free stores (36%); and
  • Using drones to deliver purchases (48%).
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Email Personalization Made Easy: New Strategies, New Results

0aaJustin Foster LiveclickerMany years after its inception and early use, email personalization still represents a significant opportunity for retailers today. To be specific, retail marketing teams can use customer data to create more effective campaigns that offer better — more personalized — experiences for customers and prospects.

In turn, these enhanced experiences pay off where it matters most: increased clicks, conversions, sales and profits. Consider the evidence:

  • “Personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%.” (Aberdeen)[1]
  • “Up to 74% of marketers report that targeted personalization increases customer engagement. Additionally, marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when offering personalized experiences.” (Econsultancy)[2]
  • “Personalized emails deliver 6X higher transaction rates.” (Experian)[3]
  • “Real-time targeting using open-time and live business-context data delivers a 13% improvement in email revenue.” (The Relevancy Group)[4]
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Chef’d And Innit Launch Customizable Meal Kits

Chef’dChef’d will now offer customizable meal kits through the Innit app. Shoppers can order the exact ingredients they want and receive personalized instructions in-app, merging the journey from meal planning to preparation on one platform.

Once the ingredients in a meal are selected, shoppers can choose the date when Chef’d will deliver their purchase. The preparation process is simplified by “Culinary GPS” video guidance on the Innit app, which sequences steps so that every part of the meal is finished at the same time.

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Symphony RetailAI Names VP Personalized Marketing

Symphony RetailAI has appointed Mike Bristol as VP Personalized Marketing. Bristol will be tasked with bringing to market the solution provider’s personalized marketing solutions, which help retailers better target customers with relevant, timely and personalized offers using artificial intelligence (AI).

Prior to joining Symphony RetailAI, Bristol was the Chief Revenue Officer at Endowance Solutions. He has more than 20 years of experience in customer relationship management in product management, sales and consulting roles for enterprise software companies including Ellucian, Infor, SAP, Baan and Aurum Software.

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The Missing Link In Personalization: Only 13% Of Retailers Identify Most Profitable Shoppers

While as many as 77% of retailers say they have an established process to identify their most loyal customers, only 13% say they can accurately identify those that are most profitable, according to the BRP 2018 Customer Loyalty Special Report. Up to 39% of retailersdo have processes in place to identify profitable customers, but admit that their efforts still need improvement. Another 27% project that they will be able to identify these shoppers within three years.

Retailers that want to maximize customer profitability as well as loyalty are leveraging personalization efforts across a number of different areas:

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