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Five tips for retailers to personalize interaction with customers


By Joe Dalton

As technologies advance, social channels proliferate, and consumers become more plugged into digital marketing, personalization and contextualization is becoming the key to connecting with customers. While consumers build their online identities simply by using their devices for everything from browsing to averting traffic, they leave trails of their preferences, behavior, and values that retailers can draw upon to appeal to the interests of each individual customer.

Here are the top five personalization tips to help retailers utilize these assets for achieving marketing success:

1. Build Trust with Your Customers, Offer a Fair Trade.

In any relationship, true rapport begins to flourish when trust serves as its foundation. The same goes for a relationship between retailer and consumer. Trust is the principal priority when crafting a personalization project because the more trust that has been established, the more a customer will share. In turn, the more data a company collects on each customer, the more a marketing campaign can be crafted to specifically appeal to each individual, increasing the chances of sales conversion. Think of this as a “you give/you get” agreement with each of your customers, the more information they are willing to give you, the more you should be willing to give them back in value.

2. Don’t Track Customers Who Don’t Want to Be Tracked

Fundamentally, it’s the relationship with your customers that matters most, not how much information you have about them. Some people willingly share details about themselves while others want to keep their information private. Just as trust is important in a relationship, so is respect. If you want loyal customers, it’s crucial to respect the wishes of people who don’t want to share certain information about themselves. You can still ask for any information you choose, but keep in mind that some individuals won’t be warm to being pursued in this way.

3. Create Individual Customer Micro-Segments

For decades, marketers have been developing segments of customers based on common traits. Now, however, current technology gathers copious amounts of precise data on individuals rather than blanket information about typical groups. This means that broad-stroke generalizations are not only no longer necessary, they’re simply not as useful as fine details regarding each individual customer. Look into the microscope of real data on your customers so that you can get to know them as individuals instead of through the lens of a few approximated population segments.

4. Offer Your Personalized Promotions in Real Time

According to a recent Accenture study, nearly 60% of U.S. consumers want any personalized promotions they receive to occur in real time. And why wouldn’t they? With today’s unlimited range of societal stimuli and fast-paced world carrying people from one thing to the next, it’s more of a hassle than a benefit to have to remember exactly when a given sale begins and ends. Over 50% of all mobile device searches end in an offline purchase within a few hours of the search, which means the offers that are most useful to people are the ones they can take advantage of right now. Additionally, appealing to people in the moment increases the likelihood that they’ll take advantage of your offer because humans are primed for convenience. Fuse that with a personalized good deal that perfectly suits your customer and you’ve got the quintessential marketing combination.

5. Deliver Personalized Messages Through Omnichannel Marketing

Consumer attention is everywhere: on email, texts, social channels, apps, and you have to be there too. This doesn’t mean you have to scramble to cover every single possible messaging base, but it does mean that it’s important to expand your horizons when it comes to connecting with your customers. Again, look to your data in order to gauge which medium of communication each individual customer prefers.

Personalization and contextualization are centered around being specific so that your relationship with an individual customer is authentic and strong. You can use personalization to appeal to the unique tastes, behaviors, and values of each customer, ultimately laying the foundation for long-term loyalty and avid brand engagement.

Joe Dalton is chief product officer for SmartFocus. Contact him via [email protected].
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