Displaying items by tag: personalization - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints https://www.retailtouchpoints.com Thu, 20 Jun 2019 17:04:18 -0400 RTP en-gb Enriching The Customer Experience Through Journey Mapping And Personalization https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/enriching-the-customer-experience-through-journey-mapping-and-personalization https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/enriching-the-customer-experience-through-journey-mapping-and-personalization

0aaaDeepak Moudgil WiproDigital technologies have given customers unprecedented power to dictate the terms of purchase, to the point that instant gratification has become the norm. Customers expect the same kind of immediacy, personalization, and convenience in all their interactions with a brand. Therefore, companies must understand customer-behavior and be ready to cope with the demands created by multiple customer touch points. Failure to deliver personalized customer experiences at the right time, on the right channels can lead to customer churn and even business demise.

The question is, how can personalized services be provided in a highly digital-driven world? How can an organization deliver a connected, consistent experience across all touch points? More importantly, how can companies balance human and digital interactions to deliver an enhanced user experience while strictly adhering to privacy regulations?

The answers to these pertinent questions lie in identifying and transforming the customer journey management process. For customer journey mapping and personalization to succeed, the entire organization must be aligned to the goal of ensuring that every customer’s journey with the brand is delightful and beneficial. It also involves getting rid of a non-collaborative culture and improving disjointed processes and systems working in silos. To achieve this, it is important for organizations to address broader issues like traditional channel fatigue and ubiquitous connectivity. The backstage functions should also be aware of system and technical issues to be able to identify where customers are “stuck or lost.”

Approach To Customer Journey Mapping And Personalization

The majority of personalization efforts by organizations have been an ‘inside out’ approach, which typically involves content deployment based on customers’ purchase history, preferences or any other implicit behavior. This customization is meant to target customers with the right offers at appropriate times. The ‘inside out’ approach also aims to cross-sell and upsell, and is systems-driven.

However, once we think from a customer’s perspective and take an ‘outside in’ approach, personalization efforts are refocused to cover a range of emotional needs. This innovative personalization approach addresses the basic psychological drivers like bonding and attachment, learning and growth, desire to feel in control and security for uncertainties.

Customer Journey And Personalization Management: The Key To Better Customer Engagement

With an ‘outside in’ approach to personalization in mind, here are three ways to improve customer engagement.

1. Focus on end-to-end customer journeys

Disruptions in the customer purchase process and other critical success factors are uncovered through effective customer journey management. This approach places the customer at the center and offers organizations the ability to hear and act upon inputs from customers, employees and the larger business environment.

By shaping the customers’ experiences (CX) at each stage of the buying cycle using different channels, companies can influence customers’ perception toward their brands and also uncover various aspects of customer behavior, thoughts, feelings and preferences in new ways.

Customer journey mapping also enables companies to identify gaps and disjointed or frustration points in customers’ experience with the brand. For example, common pain points are gaps between the devices, channels, departments and customer communication. Effective customer journey mapping or personalization ensures contact center transformation solutions leverage journey mapping and analytics-enabled Artificial Intelligence (AI). This helps retailers understand customer behavior and associated patterns to predict future needs and formulate a proactive, customized approach to achieve customer engagement.

2. Standard vs. Personalized Experiences

Amongst the key pillars of customer experience, which include personalization, integrity, expectations, resolution, time and effort, and empathy, personalization has the most significant impact on advocacy and loyalty. While it is important to advance all pillars to deliver an excellent experience, the priority should be on personalization. This means demonstrating that you understand the customer’s specific needs and circumstances, and will adapt the experience accordingly. For example, using the customer’s name, past history of interactions and preferences all give a personal touch. Customers form an emotional connection with the brand and eventually might also become brand advocates.

Leading companies are using individualized attention to drive an emotional connection. Companies like Netflix, Amazon and Uber are investing in AI algorithms for recommending personalized content. AI-led solutions improve personalization using ‘deep learning’ — a method of organizing content to reflect how the brain works. These companies have cleverly put customers in control, giving them the freedom to choose the way they want to interact with their brands.

3. Focus Self-Service

Within the next few years, the majority of customer interactions are likely to be managed with minimal human intervention. Therefore, it is important for staff to be trained on process capability and functional and technical aspects to be able to cover end-to-end customer journeys. This is integral to a customer experience strategy and ensures that the right products and solutions are delivered.

To keep up with advancements and manage volumes of customer activity better, companies also need to deploy newer customer engagement solutions, such as digital CX, Natural Language Processing (NLP)-enabled intelligent chatbots, voice biometric authentication and cognitive capabilities. Organizations can deploy self-service content (including videos, FAQs, interactive manuals, etc.) and digital channels (like chatbots, voice bots, etc.) to further enhance personalization and win customer loyalty. Integrating digital channels with social media also offers better convenience and speed to the customers.

There is often a very thin line between a good experience and a bad one. A single interaction — big or small — is all it takes to lose a potential loyal customer. To that end, companies must invest in delivering delightful experiences through consistent and connected customer experience, work to understand customer needs across the journey and personalize what is delivered. In the end, an organization’s genuine efforts toward personalization are likely to be reciprocated with customer loyalty.


Deepak Moudgil is Global Head – Go To Market, Enterprise Business, Wipro Digital Operations and Platforms (DO&P). Moudgil is an accomplished IT/ITeS professional with over 20 years of international and diverse industry exposure. He has expertise in telecom, consumer, utilities domain, platform and processes, providing digital and business enterprise transformation solutions for global clients.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Deepak Moudgil, Wipro) Executive ViewPoints Tue, 18 Jun 2019 09:29:03 -0400
Ulta Beauty Powers Personalization With Expanded Google Cloud Partnership https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/ulta-beauty-powers-personalization-with-expanded-google-cloud-partnership https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/ulta-beauty-powers-personalization-with-expanded-google-cloud-partnership Ulta Beauty Powers Personalization With Expanded Google Cloud Partnership

Ulta Beauty is expanding its partnership with Google Cloud amid increased engagement with customers in-store and online, along with the development of its Virtual Beauty Advisor tool designed to deliver tailored recommendations and help shoppers choose the right products.

Ulta is presently using Google Cloud solutions to power personalization initiatives and to organize, analyze and transform data from 30 million Ultamate Rewards loyalty members into valuable insights for its customers, Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, wrote in a blog post.

Typically, Ulta generates loyalty data through sales, transactions, product reviews and social media engagement. But the beauty retailer now seeks to leverage data analytics and machine learning to reach customers in new ways and further enhance the guest experience.

In January 2019, Ulta Beauty announced it was working with Google Cloud Platform, leveraging features such as:

  • BigQuery to perform data analysis and generate dynamic content, personalized product recommendations and event-based messages for customers;
  • Cloud Storage to provide available, secure, resilient and cost-effective access to data across the entire enterprise;
  • Compute Engine to grow with customer demand while painlessly migrating existing applications to the cloud; and
  • Anthos to build a hybrid cloud foundation that allows their applications to take advantage of all this data, combining the power and flexibility of the Google Kubernetes Engine with the ability to leverage their existing investment in secure infrastructure on-premises.

Ulta chose to expand ita existing partnership with Google Cloud after considering a number of cloud providers, according to Kurian.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Tue, 11 Jun 2019 11:16:14 -0400
Data As Currency: Personalization With Permission Increases Share Of Wallet https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/data-as-currency-personalization-with-permission-increases-share-of-wallet https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/data-as-currency-personalization-with-permission-increases-share-of-wallet

0aaaBrian Cleary RedPointGlobalThe scales of power are tipped in favor of the consumer. With a single click or tap of a button, consumers can order anything they want and have it delivered in mere minutes to their doorstep. But it’s no longer enough for brands and retailers to have a one-way conversation with customers. The majority of individuals demand a two-way dialogue. That means companies must not only streamline the checkout process, they also have to provide consumers with a personalized experience along the way.

The shift from transactional to meaningful customer relationships requires data from the consumer to personalize the process. But just as consumers are in control of their path to purchase, they are also in charge of their personally identifiable information (PII). They can enable push notifications or text messages to alert them about the next best offer, and they can certainly choose which data they want to allow brands and retailers to have access to. They expect that brands will request permission to use their data — and if/when they hand over their information, they want it to be used to enhance their experience. These new levers of consumer power are driving changes in marketing behavior.

Brands that value the consumer’s choice and preferences, and prioritize privacy, will increase their share of that consumer’s wallet over their competition. Those that do not face serious consequences — as evidenced by the backlash surrounding Facebook’s privacy mishaps — and risk losing consumers’ trust and business.

The Data-Value Exchange

Customers, especially Gen Y and Z, are willing to supply brands with their personal data on the condition that they have transparency and control over their own information. Consumers understand that personal data drives personalization in a modern, omnichannel world. In exchange for their data, they not only expect value, they also demand transparency and control over their information.

Research from the Harris Poll study commissioned by RedPoint Global revealed that 54% of consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for a better customer experience. A survey from Accenture echoed similar sentiments. About two-thirds of consumers said that they are willing to share PII in exchange for a perceived value, and one-fourth said they are willing to share PII for better service or the ability to choose which data is shared with third parties.

A Matter Of Trust

While most consumers understand that personal data drives personalization, providing a brand with PII does not give marketers carte blanche to use customers’ information however they see fit. According to the same Harris Poll survey, more than half of consumers say it is very frustrating when a brand sends their personal information to other companies, and they will be less likely to shop with them or use their services in the future. When a customer interacts with brands and retailers, they expect their information to be safely guarded.

Research shows that a majority of consumers will hesitate to transact with companies that fail to protect their personal information, regardless of whether that action is unintentional (hacking) or intentional (selling data). Anything less than complete transparency and control over their own PII could result in a consumer switching brands or a complete loss of business. Once a brand or retailer loses a consumer’s trust, recovery is often dependent on two factors — quickly repairing the trust and providing value that consumers will say is worth the risk of exposed personal information.

In the Accenture survey cited above, four of 10 consumers said that their trust in a brand or company goes up when a breach is handled swiftly and correctly. And eight in 10 said that trust is a key driver of brand loyalty. This tells us that consumers will give the brands they like the benefit of the doubt when it comes to protecting PII if it’s used to enhance the customer experience.

Fragmentation, Friction, And Frustration

What consumers ultimately mean when they talk about better customer experience is a desire to be recognized across an omnichannel journey. Case in point, the Harris Poll survey found that 63% of consumers expect personalization to be part of the standard service they receive. Asked to define personalization, consumers rated “knowing I’m the same customer across all touch points” as second only to “sending special offers available only to me” as the most effective ways a brand can personalize the experience. A customer who makes an in-store visit may expect a retailer to know about online research they did on that retailer’s web site that preceded the visit. Or if a customer places a phone order for a provisioned smartphone, there is often an expectation to pick up the phone at the carrier’s retail store the next day.

Customers understand that enabling this seamless experience across all touch points requires the sharing of personal data, and they are willing to make this exchange because doing so reduces friction and improves the personalization of the customer experience. However, retailers that don’t get personalization right put their own businesses at risk; in fact, personalization failures cost U.S. firms $756 billion and a total of $2.5 trillion globally.

A Personalization And Privacy Balancing Act

Fragmented systems and siloed customer data impede the ability to provide the frictionless, personalized customer experience that consumers expect. Consumers faced with friction are less likely to entrust a brand or retailer with PII. Conversely, companies that eliminate fragmentation will be better positioned to deliver the value that their customers expect, and in return will have a greater chance of being entrusted with PII. When a company is transparent about how a customer’s data is being collected, stored and used, the customer is more apt to share the personal data that is necessary to personalize the experience.

With GDPR and other data regulations taking hold, concerns around privacy and compliance will continue to be top of mind for consumers and businesses. Consumers understand that they wield power over their data just as they understand that their information is the currency in the personalization economy. Brands that embrace the empowered consumer and balance their privacy concerns with their personalization needs will ultimately emerge victorious.


As RedPoint Global VP of Solutions Marketing, Brian Cleary is responsible for ensuring that the voice of the customer and RedPoint’s key markets are reflected in our technology roadmap, as well as RedPoint's go-to-market approach. Cleary brings more than 20 years of success in directing product management, marketing, and sales strategies for emerging software companies and top-tier enterprise software vendors.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Brian Cleary, RedPoint Global) Executive ViewPoints Thu, 06 Jun 2019 09:15:38 -0400
Exclusive Q&A: How Shoppers’ Awareness Of Their Own Data’s Value Is Redefining Personalization https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/bi-analytics-shopper-data-intelligence/exclusive-q-a-how-shoppers-awareness-of-their-own-data-s-value-is-redefining-personalization https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/bi-analytics-shopper-data-intelligence/exclusive-q-a-how-shoppers-awareness-of-their-own-data-s-value-is-redefining-personalization Greg PortellConsumer data represents an emerging market that could be valued at $7 billion, according to Greg Portell, Lead Partner in the Global Consumer and Retail Practice of A.T. Kearney. With data protection laws becoming a point of discussion in some states, retailers need to plan for how they will handle the coming shift in data ownership and use.

The future of data will be the focus of the Personalization: Elusive But Not Impossible session at Retail TouchPoints LIVE! @ RetailX, June 25-26 in Chicago. Portell will explain why technology and data alone aren’t enough to create true personalization — and how shoppers have become increasingly aware of the value of the data they produce.

In this exclusive Q&A, Portell offers a sneak peek at his session as well as his thoughts on what constitutes true, relevant personalization.

RTP: Your upcoming session at Retail TouchPoints Live @ RetailX notes that ‘true personalization’ still eludes retailers. What do you believe the industry needs to do in order to achieve this goal?

Greg Portell: At its foundation, it’s a shift in perspective. The simplest way to think about it is through traditional loyalty programs — they’re all about the consumer being loyal to the retailer, and what we're advocating is a view that's much more about the retailer being loyal to the consumer.

So how are retailers putting consumers and their needs at the nexus of the way they approach the market? Currently, the practice is still very much a retailer pushing messages to the consumer. If we're really going to achieve true personalization, we need a message that is connected to and driven by the consumer.

RTP: Which best practices should retailers follow when harnessing collected data to ensure maximum impact of their personalization efforts? What pitfalls should retailers watch out for?

Portell: The best retailers are those that create a two-way street. It's not just me pushing content to consumers, it's consumers having an opportunity to share content and their perspective with me. Subsequent to that, it’s being able to act on that input.

It's very disingenuous for me to say, 'Tell me what's really interesting to you,' if I can't then act on it. That's really where most traditional retailers are challenged, because they're built for a different purpose and a different era, and being able to execute on those types of programs consistently is difficult operationally.

RTP: What factors create the difference between authentic messaging and outreach that comes off as phony or self-serving?

Portell: Having a link to actual consumer data that can anticipate their needs is important. Being able to filter through noise versus true signals is important, as well. The understanding of what works for consumers is also very important.

If I buy a piece of jewelry for my wife, and the retailer is actually trying to find styles and dimensions and accessories that complement my choice, that's a high level of authenticity. If they're just using my information to send me an email every day for something I might need, then that's different. That's a very self-serving, push type of engagement, and it's difficult to call that personalization.

There are the retailers out there that send you the email blast every day, whether you’re in the market and have a need or not. That's very phony and self-serving — it's not personalized. It may still be an effective marketing strategy, but it's not and shouldn't be claimed to be personal just because it's a somewhat customized email.

RTP: Consumers are increasingly aware of the value of their data. How do you expect this to change the relationship between shoppers and retailers? Are there any scenarios where it could help retailers — say that if people are getting something for their data, they may be more likely to share it and/or be more candid?

Portell: This is actually where a big emphasis of my presentation will be. The average consumer’s data is worth about $1,000 a year in the U.S., and they receive a fraction of that, typically in the form of discounts and free content. We believe that there's a market emerging for validated consumer data where consumers can openly monetize their data.

A key part of that comes down to the accuracy of the information. Right now retailers are in a world where they're looking at 10 or 12 different disparate data points and trying to come up with a view of a particular consumer. Well, as data becomes more valuable, and as consumers have a better path to monetize it, retailers are going to be able to react to actual signals of demand, not inferred signals of demand.

What I mean by that is if a woman is walking down the street and she sees a pair of shoes she wants, she can take a picture of them and send that to a retailer and say, ‘I really love this shoe,’ and then the retailer can react and meet that need. This is as opposed to right now, where the retailer has to guess that the demand is there, and sometimes they're right and sometimes they're wrong.

We expect that as consumers move down the path of sharing more valid data, they're going to expect better service, and retailers are going to have an obligation and an expectation of being more accurate in their predictions.

RTP: How can a commitment to transparency improve a retailer’s personalization efforts?

Portell: I think we're at a point now where transparency has become the norm. The challenge now is that being transparent doesn't mean you're good, and consumers expect a certain level of accuracy from all the data you're collecting.

It's fine if you say you're collecting this information, you have cookies on your web site, you’re tracking my purchases across these seven channels and you’re looking at the indicators that I'm sharing on social media — that's great. That transparency is helpful, and well appreciated. But if you don’t use all that information, if you try to sell me a handbag that I don't particularly care for or don’t realize that I'm not in the market for them, the personalization side of things fails.

The easiest way to think about the conflict is that if you're running a direct marketing program, you run it to an NPV of zero, which makes your response rate 0.3% or 0.4%. Those are good response rates for most direct marketing programs. Well, if you're thinking about it as a customer service experience, those response rates and accuracy rates need to be at 90% to 95%. All of a sudden, the concept of customer service and curation conflicts with direct marketing theory.

What retailers need to come to grips with is not only how they collect the information, but how they set the expectation of what's going to happen with that data. That's probably where you see the biggest improvement opportunity: making sure there is a consistency between those two elements.

RTP: What has been the impact so far of privacy regulations like GDPR on personalization efforts? What do you predict will be the impact in the future?

Portell: Right now GDPR has really had minimal impact on the retail world, because it's fairly easy to get consumers to opt in, and since it mainly affects Europeans, it doesn't really have a lot of impact in the U.S. The California laws and some of the other state laws that are moving forward will probably have a bigger impact on U.S. retailers, simply because they clarify the ownership of data.

You can read about how during the Sears bankruptcy, they talked about their consumer database as one of their best assets. Well, in the new world of data privacy and data regulation, that's no longer theirs to own. The consumers own their own data now going forward, and the best a retailer can do is rent or borrow it. That will change the definition of ‘proprietary,’ and it will change the definition of the asset in a way that many retailers are still adjusting to. Data will still be a commodity, but it will be a commodity that is owned by someone else.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) Business Intelligence / Data / Analytics Thu, 06 Jun 2019 08:40:44 -0400
41% Of Shoppers Say Most Personalized Messages Still Feel Like Mass Marketing https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/shopper-experience/41-of-shoppers-say-most-personalized-messages-still-feel-like-mass-marketing https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/shopper-experience/41-of-shoppers-say-most-personalized-messages-still-feel-like-mass-marketing 41% Of Shoppers Say Most Personalized Messages Still Feel Like Mass Marketing

Retailers that want to personalize the shopper experience will find a receptive audience: 49% of consumers are more than willing to opt in to receive personalized communications via SMS, email or social media from the brands and retailers that they know, according to Periscope By McKinsey. But for a significant group of consumers, personalization still doesn’t feel personal: 41% of shoppers say that most personalized messages still feel like mass marketing messages that were not created with their specific needs in mind. These shoppers noted no discernible difference in the relevance of personalized versus non-personalized communications received from retailers and brands they visit often.

The study, titled: The Art of Personalization — Keeping it Relevant, Timely and Contextual, surveyed consumers in four mature e-Commerce markets — France, Germany, the UK and the U.S. in March 2019. Respondents were aged between 18 and 69 and evaluated by age, category and gender.

U.S. shoppers are the most likely to sign up for personalized messages, at 55%, followed by consumers from the UK (52%), Germany (46%) and France (44%). U.S. shoppers also were the most prepared to opt in for personalization; indeed, one-fifth (19%) say they frequently do so. In contrast, consumers in the UK (15%), France (15%) and Germany (11%) are more inclined to keep brands and retailers at arm’s length, only opting into personalized messaging on a selective basis.

French shoppers had the largest group (47%) feeling that personalized messages still carried a “mass marketing” taint, compared to only 36% of U.S. shoppers.

Despite this current personalization shortfall, individualized communication efforts do prompt 31% of consumers to act immediately, either by checking out an offer or making a purchase. U.S. (37%) and French (32%) consumers are the most likely to act on personalized prompts, while German (27%) and UK (26%) consumers lag slightly behind.

Personalized Deals Top Incentives For Shoppers To Act On Messages

As is typical of consumers everywhere, price continues to be a prime motivator throughout the shopping journey. Consumers in the U.S. (61%), the UK (59%), France (54%) and Germany (49%) all felt that the top motivator to act on a personalized communication was if the retailer delivered a personalized offer that saves them money.

Messages about products they wanted to buy provided the next-highest motivating factor for consumers in the U.S. (47%) and UK (45%), followed by communications about products in their price range (41% for both the U.S. and UK). Messages about products that match their personal tastes were the number-two motivating factor for consumers in Germany (48%) and France (47%).

Shoppers Want Product-Heavy Personalized Content

When it comes to the type of personalized content received, shoppers in all countries said they most wanted to receive messages about products relating to their interests.Recommendations related to a previous search also ranked in the top three responses for U.S. (43%) and UK (39%) shoppers, while French (44%) and German (40%) shoppers prefer referring back to an exact product for which they’d previously searched.

Personalized updates relating to product availability and/or price proved particularly popular in all four markets, taking the second spot with 42% of shoppers in Germany and the UK, and they were identified as the third most relevant message type by 44% of consumers in France and 42% in the U.S.

Spontaneous Communication, Location-Tracking Messages Still Spook Shoppers

Unsolicited communications from companies they don’t know was a top issue for U.S. consumers (41%), and the second-biggest cause for concern for German shoppers (39%). However, the eeriness of location-tracking messages caused the most anxiety for German (40%) and UK (40%) shoppers and was listed as the second greatest cause for apprehension among French (41%) and U.S. (40%) consumers.

Shoppers also are still uncomfortable with getting a message within seconds of purchasing or having conducted an online search — it’s the second-most likely cause for concern among UK consumers (38%), and third-highest among French (37%) and U.S. (38%) shoppers. Cross-sharing of shoppers’ browsing history also was the top issue for 42% of French consumers, while the cross-sharing of profile information was the third-most likely tactic to turn off 37% of German shoppers.

Across all four countries, women were more likely than men to find receiving location-based messages more intrusive and unsettling.

As far as getting the shopper’s attention in a good way, SMS/text messages generated high engagement levels with shoppers everywhere. In the U.S. and France, it was the channel most likely to elicit an “open and read” action, at rates of 42% and 45% respectively. German shoppers actually read texts at a higher rate than their American and French counterparts, at 57%, but messaging apps such as WhatsApp get the most attention at 67%.

UK shoppers reviewed 41% of communications sent via messaging apps, which marked the highest engagement rate of all channels accessed in the country, ahead of SMS (40%) and email (39%).

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) Shopper Experience Tue, 04 Jun 2019 09:00:00 -0400
Study: Better Personalization Can Entice 44% Of Shoppers To Switch Brands https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/study-better-personalization-can-entice-44-of-shoppers-to-switch-brands https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/study-better-personalization-can-entice-44-of-shoppers-to-switch-brands Study: Better Personalization Can Entice 44% Of Shoppers To Switch Brands

Marketers are sold on the benefits of personalization: 88% say they have seen an increase in business from using personalization tactics. The catch, however, is that consumers are quick to compare different brands’ personalization prowess, and to take action when a brand comes up short: 44% of shoppers are willing to switch to brands that do a better job personalizing the experience, according to Infogroup.

Poor product recommendations are one of the biggest problem areas., according to the Infogroup survey, titled: The Power of Personalization: 53% of consumers say advertising for an irrelevant product is the most annoying thing a brand can get wrong.

Providing relevant messaging also is a major component to personalization, especially for Millennials. As many as 40% of Millennials say that the most important thing a brand can do is ensure that its messages are personalized to their interest, whether through targeted Google ads in their email or personalized via Instagram feeds.

The survey revealed that 93% of consumers report receiving marketing communications or advertising that are not relevant to them, showing that today’s retailers often still miss the mark on how to communicate effectively. As many as 90% of shoppers are at least slightly annoyed by irrelevant messaging.

The five biggest mistakes retailers and brands make when personalizing the shopper experience, according to the 1,500 U.S. shoppers surveyed, are:

  • Sharing/talking about topics that the shopper has no interest in;
  • Attempting to sell products the shopper already owns;
  • Misspelling the shopper’s name in a message;
  • Misidentifying the shopper’s gender; and
  • Misidentifying the shopper’s location.
feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Wed, 22 May 2019 17:16:13 -0400
Engaging Shoppers With Relevant, Personalized Messaging Across Multiple Channels https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/engaging-shoppers-with-relevant-personalized-messaging-across-multiple-channels https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/engaging-shoppers-with-relevant-personalized-messaging-across-multiple-channels

0aaaBob Gaito 4CiteIn surveys across the board, marketers say that personalization is a top priority. When done right, it increases engagement, builds loyalty, and drives sales by delivering messages that align with — and anticipate — what each customer wants.

Leaders in martech have leveraged technology to reach new heights in delivering highly-personalized, relevant and immediate messaging that’s cohesive across multiple channels. By identifying online shoppers and capturing their associated shopping data to automate content, they’ve drastically raised expectations to the point that most consumers today expect individualized interaction — not just personalized, individualized — that shows them what they want, when they want it, while also saving them time and money. And it’s easier than ever for them to take their business elsewhere if they don’t get what they expect.

To keep up, retailers must identify customers each time they visit their web site in order to build a cohesive understanding of each customer’s wants and needs. For the walled gardens like Amazon, this is easy because customers log in — but most retailers don’t have that luxury. Fortunately, it’s often possible to link web visitors to their email address regardless of whether they enter any identifying information. And because the email address is often linked to other identifiers such as home addresses, social media accounts, apps, loyalty programs, in-store kiosks, etc., it’s an ideal connector to other stores of data.

The email address is far superior to anonymous cookies and third-party data that guess at a shopper’s identity — because to be effective, identity resolution should link each shopper to a unique, cross-device ID that’s directly linked to that person (instead of a browser or device). People-based marketing is a term used in every corner of the martech landscape, but not everyone has figured out that this requires people-based identification. Too much of what’s called personalized marketing today still uses cookie-based guessing strategies, with the wrong messages going to the wrong people.

Marketers who embrace the email address to identify web site visitors and personalize their messaging — be it through email, web site, in-store, social or the mailbox at the end of the driveway — are much better poised to succeed in their multichannel personalization efforts.


Triggered email is about as personalized as you can get, with content determined by an individual’s recent activity on your web site — i.e. items carted, browsed, searched for, etc. It also covers a wide spectrum of opportunities to re-engage customers, from abandoned cart reminders delivered within a few hours to new arrival notifications delivered when new merchandise aligns with a customer’s prior web site activity.  Product recommendations can further personalize content, both in triggered email and scheduled sends.  In addition, innovative email-based identification technology now enables personalized timing of bulk email by sending each email individually when the recipient is primed to shop (i.e. currently opening other retail email or on another retailer’s web site).

Web Site       

Web visitors can be linked to an email address before the homepage loads, enabling instant personalization of the shopping experience. Does this person usually shop for women’s shoes? Load graphics of women’s shoes. At the same time, automatically welcome the user with a message customized to past activity. Did they leave something in the cart the last time they visited? Ask if they’d like to view the items in their cart. Are they new to your site? Ask them to sign up for email. As they browse, display unobtrusive overlays with dynamic product recommendations and other content relevant to each shopper’s past and current activity.


Thanks to advances in digital marketing, in-store identification can now unlock sophisticated, real-time personalization that’s seamless with communication across other channels. In-store apps, kiosks and iPad-equipped salespeople should always use the email address (or an identifier linked to email address) for identification purposes. This enables the same real-time data that powers personalized digital content to power personalized in-store content (i.e. “That blue top you looked at online is in aisle 5, available in your size”).

Direct Mail

The same goes for direct mail — linking the email address to a home address enables a whole new level of personalization driven by online activity. Like triggered email, triggered postcards feature browsed or carted items and can include dynamic product recommendations and offers based on each shopper’s data. Typically mailed within 24-48 hours, they can reach web visitors who aren’t signed-up for email with a level of personalization that’s not possible with ad-based retargeting.


Social giants like Facebook can make it difficult to deliver personalized marketing that’s cohesive with other channels. With email-based identification, ad audiences can be managed in real time to enable a more consistent approach to content in tandem with other channels.

Making It All Seamless

Customers don’t think about discrete channels, they view your brand holistically and expect a consistent, seamless experience. The email address is what enables relevant, personalized marketing, fueled by real-time insights, across a wide and growing spectrum of channels.


Bob Gaito has more than 20 years of experience in servicing direct marketers. In early 2000, he founded I-Centrix which is now part of Epsilon. In 2010, he co-founded 4Cite and continues to serve as its CEO.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bob Gaito, 4Cite) Executive ViewPoints Tue, 21 May 2019 08:52:34 -0400
Study: Tailor Communications To Reach 5 Very Different Shopper Groups https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/digital-marketing/study-tailor-communications-to-reach-5-very-different-shopper-groups https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/digital-marketing/study-tailor-communications-to-reach-5-very-different-shopper-groups Study: Tailor Communications To Reach 5 Very Different Shopper Groups

Whether they’re looking for the best deals or a reason to visit their favorite store, nearly every shopper can be reached through email marketing, according to a study by Fluent Commerce. The report looked at five shopper personas that are defined more by behaviors than traditional markers such as age, gender and income, determining what kinds of outreach best break through their email filters and fuel conversions.

The most traditional group was the Old Fashioned, 69% of whom prefer visiting physical stores. Members of this group — who are not necessarily older people — also are very open to interacting with retailers: 37% check their email three timesa day, 27% read all of their emails from retailers and 69% have never cancelled a retail subscription.

These shoppers tend to enjoy in-store experiences, and reaching them is a matter of giving them a reason to visit a shop, according to Bill Friend, Managing Director and VP of North America at Fluent Commerce. This can be achieved through either discounts or events, as well as by promoting interesting sales that give them a reason to browse.

Focused Deal-Seekers And Indecisive Browsers Can Be Reached In Their Own Ways

Another archetype identified in the study is the Complainer, a tech-savvy shopper who is on the lookout for the best deal and will complain about bad experiences on social media. While 71% of this group still expresses a preference for email communications, their actions show that standard promotional strategies aren’t connecting with them:

  • Only 33% admit to opening a retailer’s emails;
  • Another 28% say that over 40% of retail emails they receive go directly to a spam folder; and
  • 84% are willing to provide their real email at checkout, but 51% opt out immediately after receiving a discount or other incentive.

The preferences of these shoppers display a need for control, according to Friend: they’re willing to share information but only for direct benefits, and they will ignore everything else. These shoppers need an immediate incentive to click on an email, making them likely to respond positively to improved personalization and easy-to-adjust contact options.

“One of the real trends here is having some sense of what the user’s preferences are, so it's not just a spam email,” said Friend. “This group obviously prefers email communication, but I think they want it a little bit more under their control.”

The opposite of the Complainer is the Browser. More than one fifth (22%) of these shoppers receive over 30 retailer emails a week, and 25% open more than 40% of them. Retailers can effectively leverage this group’s high open rate by examining their other traits. For example, Browsers admit they often store items in their cart rather than checking out due to indecision, making abandoned cart emails especially effective at turning their visits into conversions.

Busy Shoppers Care More About Convenience Than Discounts

Two of the report’s behavioral breakdowns were along gender lines: Dirty Johns (men who are uncomfortable giving away their information) and Female Go-Getters (who almost never use social media and often check their email hourly). Both personas were defined by their busy lives, but the approach to best reach them differs.

The study found that 61% of Dirty Johns don’t feel giving retailers their location information is helpful, making them prime targets for education efforts according to Friend. Explaining the ways location can be used to personalize offers and reassuring them that their data is safe can make them more receptive to further outreach.

While education can help make members of this group more receptive to promotions in general, but promotional offers must respect their time in order to be effective: 37% would not visit a retailer’s store location if they were offered an in-store-only purchase when browsing online. For this group, if it’s not worthwhile for them to make a purchase then and there, they aren’t going to bother visiting the store.

Female Go-Getters offer a different challenge: 31% of this group checks their email multiple times an hour, so retailers need to make offers that stand out from the crowd and are worth their valuable time. These shoppers are fairly consistent in their shopping habits, so rather than simple price promotions retailers need to offer products that complement their lifestyles and build on the patterns established during previous interactions.

The consistent theme among all these groups is that timing and content are vital in grabbing their interest. Promotions should be sent on a schedule that matches their email consumption habits, and the discounts or news within needs to be tailored to their exact interests.

“The bigger message here is the need to really build a great model that connects browsing behavior, email and social,” said Friend. “It should look at you and your peer network and drive a more personalized content experience. I think retailers are trying to get to that, but at the end of the day they are still just scratching the surface.”

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) Digital Marketing Mon, 08 Apr 2019 09:00:55 -0400
AI-Powered Digital Mirror ‘Reads’ Sephora Shoppers’ Look https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/shopper-experience/ai-powered-digital-mirror-reads-sephora-shoppers-look https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/shopper-experience/ai-powered-digital-mirror-reads-sephora-shoppers-look AI-Powered Digital Mirror ‘Reads’ Sephora Shoppers’ Look

Sephora has installed a digital mirror at its flagship store in Madrid that will deliver personalized recommendations through AI. The retailer partnered with Wildbytes, an interactive experience solution provider, to design the technology.

The mirror detects data about the shopper looking into it, including gender, age, look and clothing, and uses those points to recommend makeup, skincare and fragrance offerings that best match the shopper’s needs. The AI-powered solution can differentiate between neutral and bright colors, floral and geometric patterns and other styles. The mirror also takes real-time information into account, including the local weather, season and top-trending items.

Shoppers who like a recommendation are offered a QR code that lets them purchase the products from Sephora’s web site, or helps them easily locate the item inside the store. None of these features requires input on the part of the customer — the mirror detects or draws upon relevant data automatically.

“Currently, we find personalization in online experiences but not their physical counterparts, which is a huge missed opportunity,” said Daniel Torrico, Managing Director at Wildbytes in a statement. “The same content plays in-store without any personalization to the shopper, their interests, style or preferences. Our aim was to make the shopping experience more relevant and fun, thereby shortening the purchase cycle.”

Sephora also has attempted to bridge the in-store and online experiences with the Sephora Virtual Artist mobile app, which operates through Facebook Messenger to let shoppers upload a photo of themselves to a virtual chatbot. The AI functionality then directs shoppers to a compatible shade of makeup and suggests products they might want to purchase.

Additionally, the beauty retailer is experimenting with an even wider range of experiential tools at its two Beauty TIP (Teach, Inspire, Play) Workshops in New York City. These experiential locations feature skincare studios where shoppers can get mini facials, Tap and Try kiosks that enable customers to virtually try on lip or lash products, and fragrance studios that lets shoppers smell a range of products through InstaScent technology.

Other beauty brands are using smart mirrors to create their own unique experiences. Coty’s Paris flagship features a mirror that puts the emphasis on AR, letting shoppers pick up different lipstick colors to see how they would look on them. Shoppers can complete the look with onscreen eye makeup and blush matched to their individual skin tones, then use the selfie function to produce an image that includes links to the products on Coty’s web site.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) Shopper Experience Wed, 27 Mar 2019 11:27:23 -0400
McDonald’s Acquires Personalization Provider Dynamic Yield For $300 Million https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/mcdonald-s-acquires-personalization-provider-dynamic-yield-for-300-million https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/mcdonald-s-acquires-personalization-provider-dynamic-yield-for-300-million McDonald’s Acquires Personalization Provider Dynamic Yield For $300 Million

McDonald’s is getting into the personalization game through the acquisition of Dynamic Yield, an AI-powered omnichannel personalization solution provider. The restaurant chain will harness Dynamic Yield solutions to provide personalized drive-thru menus that show food items based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items. McDonald’s paid $300 million for the company, people familiar with the matter told Wired.

McDonald’s began testing this technology at certain U.S. restaurants in 2018 and will begin rolling it out to other domestic locations in 2019 after the transaction closes. The company also will begin integrating personalization technology into other digital touch points, including self-order kiosks and the McDonald’s Global Mobile App.

The deal will help McDonald’s deliver better-targeted menus at the drive-thru window, where major chain restaurants make an average of 70% of their sales, according to a study by QSR. The AI-powered personalization initiative could help McDonald’s upsell products to customers based on their orders, such as by detecting an order made for children and suggesting a snack for the parent picking it up.

“When you look at the answers that this decision engine provides, it may not seem so obvious to begin with, but for customers it makes sense,” said Daniel Henry, McDonald’s EVP and global CIO in an interview with Wired. "It’s not just about the individual, it’s also taking training information from other customers. It’s only going to get smarter and smarter, the more customers interact with it.”

The use cases for personalization could expand in a number of directions going forward, according to McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook. The company already uses geofencing to detect when a mobile app customer is approaching a restaurant so their order can be prepared. This capability could be stretched to detecting the smartphone itself on an opt-in basis. Additionally, license plate recognition could help the system identify shoppers and further adjust the menu based on their purchase history.

Dynamic Yield will remain a standalone company following the transaction, and McDonald’s will continue investing in the company’s core personalization products. Dynamic Yield will continue working alongside its current partners and seeking to attract future clients as a solution provider.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Tue, 26 Mar 2019 11:30:52 -0400