“As a personal and increasingly intimate tool, the Web brings us back to the uniqueness of each of us, and the consumer’s demand for being approached and treated as such by brands.” Christophe Lachnitt, Communications Director of DCNS Group and author of blog Superception (Laccom, February 14, 2014)

“We are moving away from the time when we segment the market through broad groups based on income to a time when technology allows us to segment customers into hundreds, even thousands, of micro-groups.” Jonathan Chippindale, CEO and co-founder of interactive and augmented reality retail consultancy Holition

“In the past, retailers could win by simply presenting a great product and describing how wonderful it is. That no longer stands out to consumers, who are used to those kinds of pitches. “It’s so old school to stand there and say, ‘Boy, do we have a good product. Instead, retailers have to show consumers that the product was created just for them.” Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow in her book Decoding the New Consumer Mind (Jossey-Bass, 2014)


Description

Marketing to the individuals and not the masses has moved from the margins to take center stage as a standard offering from all kinds of brands. Living in a climate dominated by a wide variety of options, people no longer know what or how to choose. One-size-fits all marketing just won’t cut it anymore, which is why retailers are implementing solutions to personalize each customer’s brand and shopping experience. On the one hand, consumers who are dissatisfied with two-dimensional digital communication are putting a premium on human interactions.

One-size-fits all marketing just won’t cut it anymore, which is why retailers are implementing solutions to personalize each customer’s brand and shopping experience.

Many appreciate a chance to connect face-to-face all the more in a digital age – to see and to be seen, perhaps to get unsolicited advice or share relevant tips. Having started with luxury hotels and luxury brands, ultra-personalization has now gotten mainstream. Most department stores, from French Le Bon Marché to British John Lewis, have launched their personal shopping service. On the other hand, innovative brands are using technology and a sophisticated understanding of the power of data to deliver highly personalised services. While e-commerce sites have been doing it for years through tailored landing pages, offers, and recommendations, a lot of brick-and-mortar stores are also getting in.

Personal data

It has been long way since Starbucks staff started writing customers’ names on the cup. The ultra-personalization momentum has paired with the institution of the smartphone as an integral part of people’s lives. Whether it’s looking for a good place to grab a drink or researching a specific product in a retail store, customers have come to rely on their mobile devices as vital sources of information. The smartphone has become both the guardian and the main distributor of their personal data. It exacerbates personal expression to the point that it increases the power of the consumer facing brands: consumers themselves provide 68% of the data.

According to a Swirl survey, 77% of respondents indicated they would opt into location tracking as long as they received enough value in return.

After they have showed – and are still showing reluctance in giving their personal information – a growing number of consumers are willing to communicate this in order to help brands deliver a more enriching experience. This is modifying the relationship between brands and their audience, as it gets more intimate and more interactive. According to a Swirl survey, 77% of respondents indicated they would opt into location tracking as long as they received enough value in return. Companies can now track those within certain proximity of their business, advertise to those within their area each time customers enter a store, or any time a potential customer enters into a competitor’s business. With the possibility to target their customers with greater accuracy, they can adapt their actions and campaigns to their consumers in an individual way, answering their immediate needs. As a result, tech-enabled retail is giving consumers the chance to benefit from more personalized shopping experiences. From in-store to online, this shift from the uniform to the individualized is creating an indelible change in how savvy consumers demand any shopping experience to be exactly tailored to their needs, wants, behaviors and interests.

Loyalty programs

Many customers are using their smartphones to find and use coupons for discounts, customer loyalty, and more. While several types of geolocation tracking require the user to download a third party app to receive updates and coupons, many say they are willing to download these apps provided they’re getting a good deal out of it. Instead of conforming to a restricted set of rules, they want greater choice and the versatility to make earning and purchase decisions based on their needs or lifestyle. About loyalty programs, 40% of consumers say they would welcome more customized programs, and 40% also say that they would switch most of their spending to a retailer that recognized their previous purchases, according to a LoyaltyOne survey. As for the types of personalization that shoppers want, the survey found that 61% want personalized discounts; 45% want improved customer service, and 38% want tailored offers.

About loyalty programs, 40% of consumers say they would welcome more customized programs, and 40% also say that they would switch most of their spend to a retailer that recognized their previous purchases, according to a LoyaltyOne survey.

Purchase history data collected by the retailer enables members to have smart shopping tools at their fingertips: they can create a list of their staple items, while a catalogue of past purchases serves as a reminder of what they might need. 85% of U.S. consumers prefer personalized offers that reflect previously purchased items, according to a recent survey by Synqera. In the meantime, consumers appreciate loyalty programs that offer flexible ways to earn rewards. Shoppers are also craving more relevant rewards. General discount offers are nice, but experience-oriented customers value rewards that benefit their lifestyles and passions.

Featured examples

 

My Burberry

Credit: Burberry.com

Credit: Burberry.com

My Burberry fragrance, which made its debut with an ad campaign featuring Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne as well as a digital campaign, allows customers to make the fragrance their own by personalizing the bottle. Customers are able to customize the glass bottle with up to three initials, with the complimentary monogramming service available on Burberry’s Web site and through selected Burberry stores and wholesale stores. That service is spotlighted in the digital elements of the campaign, with customers able to preview their monogram on media that range from interactive billboards to television commercials, through to experimenting with their monogram via Facebook’s and Twitter’s mobile apps.
United-Kingdom United Kingdom, September 2014

 

Share a Coke

share-a-coke

Credit: Coca-cola.com

“Share a Coke” campaign by Coca-Cola first launched in the U.S. in June, generated terrific buzz. The concept: it ties together user-generated photos, social media, the chance to win prizes and physical Coke bottles emblazoned with names from Aaron to Zach and group names like “Family” and “Friends”; even nicknames, like “BFF” and “Wingman”. The brand has introduced over a thousand names to take the place of its iconic logo on Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero products. “Since its launch in early June, the campaign – which features the sale of bottles whose logos have been replaced with popular names among teens and Millennials — has generated steadily growing online buzz, particularly on Instagram, Coke said. The company said there have been more than 125,000 posts about the campaign across all channels from June 2 through July 14 and said 96% of consumer sentiment toward the campaign is either positive or neutral.
Worldwide, June 2014

 

Shopkick’s shopBeacon

Play video

U.S.-based department store Macy’s has been the first major retailer to roll out support for the new iBeacon technology, a type of Bluetooth hotspot that allows retailers to offer a much more personalized shopping experience. iPhone owners must first download the Shopkick app so they can receive a notification for personalized rewards, deals and offers when they walk into the store. The technology also has the capacity to remind shoppers of products they were interested in when they browsed the online shopping site and tell them they are on sale in the store. Soon, the store will be able tell customers about sneaker sales when they are in the shoe section, for instance.
United States of America United States, November 2013

 

GENEU

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Scientific progress is beginning to offer consumers increased levels of personalization in skincare. GENEU markets itself as the world’s first DNA personalized anti-aging skincare collection. Their U+ skincare system offers customers an in-store DNA test at their high street location at New Bond Street, London. Customers are invited to swab the inside their mouths and answer a brief questionnaire about their lifestyle choices. A unique U+ skin profile is set up in 30 minutes, detailing the individual’s exact predispositions to collagen breakdown and antioxidant protection levels, and how the skin reacts to damaging free radicals. This information is then used to tailor skincare and anti-aging products based on each customer’s individual needs. Professor Christofer Toumazou, the brand’s founder, won the European Inventor of the Year award for his U+ microchip technology, which is used in the GENEU DNA profiling test.
United-Kingdom United Kingdom, September 2014

 

UTme! by Uniqlo

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Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo enables its customers to customize their t-shirt via a smartphone app. The “UTme!” service, which recently launched in Japan and other countries, gives a reasonable degree of freedom to create, print, and buy your own designs. There are some major limitations — right now it only offers white shirts, and you’re given a fairly small area on the chest to work with. Each shirt starts off as a blank canvas, giving you the option to add “paint,” type, or photos, and you can choose to upload your creation to the website for the world to see.
Japan Japan, May 2014

Business & Marketing guidelines

1

Seize the opportunity to grab a potential customer’s attention with a simple alert on their smartphone.

2

Make your loyalty program fully customer-centric. Assess the various components, earning opportunities, rewards and services, and ensure that each one is as accommodating as possible to the needs and interests of your core shopper.

3

Use geolocation tracking as well as purchase history monitoring in order to get a real idea of exactly who your customers on the go are and what your target audience will be. If used properly and respectfully, this will help you reach the right people with the right message. It ensures your advertisements are purposeful and thoughtful vs. random and ineffective.

4

To target your customers, learn where users interact with apps: use custom heat maps to identify where users are interacting with an app at important app events. Create custom geo-fences: define precise geographic boundaries that trigger marketing campaigns – they can span from continents down to individual buildings. Target by user actions and characteristics: engage users based on who they are and what they’ve done inside an app.

Summary

  • One-size-fits all marketing just won’t cut it anymore, which is why retailers are implementing solutions to personalize each customer’s experience.
  • The ultra-personalization momentum has paired with the institution of the smartphone as an integral part of people’s lives. Whether it’s looking for a good place to grab a drink or researching a specific product in a retail store, customers have come to rely on their mobile devices as vital sources of information.
  • Many customers are using their smartphones to find and use coupons for discounts, customer loyalty, and more. They want the versatility to make earning and purchase decisions based on their needs or lifestyle.
  • Regarding loyalty programs, 40% of consumers say they would welcome more customized programs, and 40% also say that they would switch most of their spend to a retailer that recognized their previous purchases, according to a LoyaltyOne survey.

Experts that we recommend

jean-louis-rossignon Jean Louis Rossignon
Owner of LAB retail & neuromarketing specialist
emmanuel-gadenne Emmanuel Gadenne
Internet Manager at SopraConsulting & author of Guide pratique du quantified self (FYP, 2012)
eric-mcmillan Eric McMillan
Founder & CEO of in-store beacon promotion platform Shelfbucks
todd-dipaola Todd Dipaola
Founder & CEO of mobile shopper marketing platform InMarket