Successful retailers focus on creating a positive experience for customers when they visit a store, such as creating engaging clothing displays and using lighting to establish a specific mood. Successful online retailers are no different. The incredible growth in online shopping has changed the dynamics for retailers when it comes to creating a great customer shopping experience. According to Statista, global e-retail sales amounted to 2.8 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018 and projections show a growth of up to 4.8 trillion U.S. dollars by 2021. Amazon and its rivals have set the bar high for customer satisfaction. While selection, price and quality are still important, providing a superior customer experience can mean the difference between survival and closing a store.
According to Accenture Interactive’s Personalization Pulse Check, 65 percent of consumers are more likely to shop at a retailer — in-store or online — that knows their purchase history. Retail has transformed from a transaction-oriented approach to one that focuses on establishing a connection with customers, which leads to increased customer loyalty.
In order to create this type of connection, retailers are incorporating AI-driven personalization technology into the buying process. How important is personalization? Forrester’s The State of Retailing Online 2019 report states that 67 percent of retailers surveyed said they personalize recommendations for shoppers. Retailers need to develop strategies to establish a superior customer experience that is based on providing personalized content designed to focus on each customer’s specific interests.
However, there is a disconnect between what customers are seeking and what types of services retailers are providing. As highlighted in a report by professional services firm PwC, Experience is everything: Here’s how to get it right, “73 percent of all people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions. Yet only 49 percent of U.S. consumers say companies provide a good customer experience today.”
How can retailers explain the discrepancy in these statistics? For retailers, it is critical to incorporate technology into the customer’s purchasing process that delivers a personalized experience that meets each customer’s unique needs. We call that a content-driven approach, rather than a transactional approach, which will help separate your company from your competitors.
To give you a better idea of how this works, let’s look at two companies that have taken a content-driven approach to delivering a superior customer experience that increases customer loyalty.
Converse — Made by You
Let’s examine the iconic shoe brand, Converse. Easily, one of the most recognizable shoe designs is the classic Chuck Taylor model, even though it was created decades ago. But as with the majority of brands, it’s important to stay relevant and timely, especially with youth culture.
In 2015, Converse launched a new marketing campaign that sought input from customers about how they personalized their Chuck Taylor models. The campaign, called “Made by You," highlighted each customer’s unique creativity to help tell their own personal story.
Speaking at Microsoft’s Advertising Week Europe in 2015, Converse’s social media manager, Chris Marsh, explained the vision of the campaign. “We’re arguably the most iconic footwear of all time. One of the great things about our product is that it’s one of the only few in the world that when you take it out of the box it actually gets better.” Fans of Converse’s shoes are able to express themselves by altering and personalizing their shoes, usually through paint, and share via social media.
Retailers can learn a lot from Converse. By giving customers “a blank canvas” to customize their shoes and showcase their own unique style via social media, Converse is showing that it is a retailer in touch with its customers. The real benefit is that Converse is able to showcase to potential customers how they themselves can create their own personalized experience.
Personalizing = purchasing
One of the largest retailers of baby and children’s clothing in the United States had a dilemma about how to personalize web content that matched each customer’s specific interests. The company’s website has tens of thousands of images and product descriptions for each item of clothing that it sells. But delivering content that was tailored for each customer based on their interests proved to be difficult.
In order to deliver tailored content, the company needed to equip its digital marketing team with a way to deliver content to customers without the help of the IT team, which at times would create a bottleneck. The company implemented the new content-based strategy, which gave digital marketers the ability to manage and change content, rather than relying on the technical team. By providing personalized product information to each customer based on their interests, the retailer reduced the time to market for its product line. More important, it created a connection with its customers based on a strategy centered around personalization.
Personalization creates a superior customer experience
Both Converse and the children’s clothing retailer demonstrate that using a personalized content-driven approach creates a bond between companies and their customers, and in doing so, creates inspiring experiences that turn customers into lifelong fans. Advances in technology allow this type of personalization to take place in real time, creating an immediate feeling of satisfaction that goes a long way to establishing a strong relationship between customer and company. That connection is the key to increasing customer loyalty and raising revenue, which is a win-win for everyone.