Why ‘No One’ Excels at Personalization Except Maybe Amazon

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Why ‘No One’ Excels at Personalization Except Maybe Amazon

By Joe Skorupa - 11/01/2017

The top five retailers that execute personalized marketing well include Amazon, Nordstrom, Walmart, Macy’s, Best Buy and “No One,” according to the just-published report “Closing Big Gaps in Personalilzation.”

Technically, Amazon came in first place and “No One” second, but there is a caveat. Voting numbers were so low and scattered it indicates there are no outstanding leaders. In other words, the industry as a whole has a long way to go to master the art and science of personalized marketing.

Voting was done by 50 national or large regional retailers in the recently published RIS Targeted Research report. Surprisingly, these retailers could not come to a consensus about who excels in the area of personalized marketing. Instead, they scattered their votes across a wide range of retailers in a pattern best described as a mile wide and an inch deep.

Respondents were asked to name as many retailers as they liked in the question, but even so only five retailers received more than a few votes. The wide scattering of votes indicates “No One,” which technically emerged in second place on the list, is essentially the proxy winner of the poll.

Kudos go to Nordstrom, Walmart, Macy’s and Best Buy for making the list, even though each received just a few votes.

A few other key takeaways in the study are:

  • 39% of retailers say personalized marketing is extremely important to their organization’s business model and goals.
  • Annual revenue will increase 7.6% if advanced personalization capabilities were in place today.
  • The major hurdle to overcome to excel in achieving personalized marketing is managing omnichannel customers and proliferation of new channels. Most retailers (54%) give themselves a low rating in this area and, shockingly, only 4% give themselves a high rating.
  • Lack of advanced technologies holds back improving personalized marketing capabilities, according to a resounding 69% of retailers.

Retailers are aggressive marketers, but they have not matured beyond one-to-many capabilities. Personalization, which is defined as one-to-one marketing, is the ultimate goal. It is a scenario where shoppers receive information that is relevant to them and, in fair exchange, they welcome retailers into their lifestyles.

For personalization to work, a combination of technologies must be orchestrated across several departments, including marketing, IT, e-commerce and store operations. The technologies begin with data collection, data classification and data management tools. Key applications are then layered on top of this analytic foundation. These include CRM suites, e-commerce platforms, e-mail and snail-mail engines, loyalty programs, recommendation engines, live chat, chatbots, clienteling, and social media capabilities.

Without these components in place and, importantly, inter-linked to support seamless cross-flow of data, the attempt at one-to-one marketing actually produces one-to-many marketing, even if well defined customer segments are broken out.

To download the full report, with a complete set of charts, analysis, and an execution roadmap, click here.

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