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Personalization Mistakes In Retail That Hurt Customer Experience

August 15, 2019
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Personalization has become an integral part of retail experiences to attract, engage, and delight customers. However, organizations that leverage personalization in their marketing strategy must ensure that they are following best practices to enhance the customer experience.

While it’s true that personalization can increase email open rates and engagement, retailers can avoid common mistakes that limit business. In this blog, we’ll cover how product recommendations, flexibility, volume, privacy, and testing ensure that customers enjoy each brand interaction from online to offline.

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Retailers Are Not Making Strategic Recommendations

Many retailers take customers’ purchase history into account when providing recommendations. In theory, this seems logical as customers should be more receptive to items that catch their eye.

While purchase history is important to understanding consumer preferences, providing recommendations on complementary products is critical to business growth. For example, if a customer purchases a blue jacket, retailers should recommend accessories like hats, gloves, and scarves, not more blue jackets. Taking consumer needs into consideration will go a lot further toward improving the customer experience rather than recommending the same products over and over again.

No Flexibility for Seasonality

Generally, sending customers information about products of interest is a good idea. Customers who previously abandoned their cart may be more inclined to complete the purchase. However, retailers don’t always factor in seasonality to the relevance of offers.

Instead of using simple retargeting and remarketing techniques that show the same products of interest, retailers should look toward shifting strategy to focus on products that might be of interest, based on the time of year. For instance, if a site visitor is looking for a bathing suit in the spring to prepare for summer, they should not still be seeing advertisements for bathing suits as fall turns to winter.

Overcommunication with Customers

As the seasons change, retailers are inclined to send customers offers to new items. Despite the fact that many customers value the personalization within the offers, problems often arise through overcommunication.

When a customer’s physical or electronic mailbox is filled with offers from the same retailer, they have three choices: act on the offer, unsubscribe, or take no action. Sometimes an offer may catch their eye, but more often than not the bombardment is seen as a detractor. Mail open rates will decrease, customers will unsubscribe, and ultimately look elsewhere to make purchases.

Violations of Customer Privacy

Sending mail, whether direct or electronic, can only be done with the customer’s consent. Retailers who send marketing, promotions, and general update communications without permission are in violation of privacy laws that can negatively impact the customer experience with a brand.

Ensure that customers are given explicit information about how both their email and mailing addresses will be used and the opportunity to opt-out of communications. Customers who have given retailers permission to contact will be more receptive to offers or take comfort in knowing they can opt-out if the mail provides no additional value to their experience.

Lack of Testing for Customer Preferences

Retailers often promote the same items season after season, year after year. Using this data to build ideal buyer profiles and customer personas is a good foundation, but it doesn’t leave much room for agility.

Every year has new fads and trends, and these developments should be incorporated into omnichannel retail strategy to maximize business growth. Persona data should be leveraged to create test groups. Sending these groups different messages and offers can give retailers more insights into what content and promotions are resonating with unique customers and demographics.

Runit’s cloud-based integrated inventory management and POS system includes features that help retailers avoid costly personalization mistakes. Engaging customers in a meaningful way that meets their needs is an effective route to improving the customer experience and driving business growth.

To learn how you can correctly leverage personalization strategies to enhance the customer experience, contact a member of our team today.