It is all about me, right?

As we lead up to NRF 2015, this week Supply Chain Nation turns its focus to trends impacting digital retail. Follow along each day this week as we explore a new topic related to retailing in the digital age.

Personalizing the retail experience is arguably the single most powerful thing that you can do to gain trust and create loyalty with your customers.

Your customers want to feel that you know them. You really do know them. You know they have children, they have pets, they play golf, and they are Arizona Cardinals fans. He is going bald, she likes the latest fashions (appropriate for a 40 year old mother of two).

You happen to be a retailer that offers children’s clothing. If you can extract the data to be able to accurately predict the ages and sizes of these children as they grow – you can target promotions, information, product updates, and next season styles. You can help this busy mother of two be prepared for the upcoming school year, the holiday season, and the birthday party.

Or perhaps you are a retailer that sells sporting goods. Does it foster the relationship with this family if you send them everything? If you bombard them with baseball promotions, tennis clinics or ice skating updates? They will accurately determine that you neither know them nor care about them and will quickly unsubscribe from your communications. But send them the latest updates in golf equipment, the new Tiger Woods Nike promotion, the ticket offer for the upcoming tournament, the buy-one-get-one offer on the Larry Fitzgerald jersey – and now you have their attention.

Now, suppose Mr. and Mrs. Golf come into your store. Their expectation is that you will still know them. You will know what they have purchased, you will know what they have researched on your website. You will know what is in their virtual cart or on their wish list. You will know them and you will know what it takes to satisfy their immediate needs. There are three things they are after – either they have come into your store because they want to feel, touch and try before they buy, they want a knowledgeable associate to give them additional information, or they need it today and cannot wait for online shipping. You need to be prepared to address each of these needs seamlessly. Their mobile devise, along with their purchase and browsing history is the connection between you and them, between their technology and yours. The top performing retailers will learn how to leverage this information to bring a degree of personalization to the customer that you now have standing in front of you.

Consumers are understandably reluctant to voluntarily give you this type of information, but oddly enough, they still expect you to know it. But every connected shopper leaves a trail of clues, that when assembled, give a fairly accurate picture of their lifestyle and preferences. Capturing location, gender, and shopping behavior is information at your fingertips. By tapping into the data and using predictive analytics, you can produce powerful, actionable data segments.

The objective is to make your customer feel that you have their best interests in mind, and will be able to make their life better, easier, and less stressful. They want to know that you have their back and that you will make their lives better.

If you can foster this type of loyalty, it will be more effective than any point system that you can dream of.

To read other entries in this Digital Retail blog series, click here.

 

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