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Retailers’ in-store customer identification efforts are lagging

Customer identification is the first step to personalizing the shopping experience, yet most customers remain anonymous until they check out.

Only 13% of retailers identify customers when they walk in the store, and another 10% identify customers pre-checkout, according to the “2018 Customer Experience/ Unified Commerce Survey” from Boston Retail Partners.

Overall, retailers identify 60% of online shoppers online before they make a purchase. Specifically, 30% identify customers when they enter the website, and another 30% identify customers pre-checkout. It is critical to identify the customer early, as soon as they enter the store or begin researching online. This allows retailers to personalize the experience and influence customers’ shopping behaviors.

What is concerning however, is that 20% of retailers still have no ability to identify their customers in the store, even at checkout, which eliminates any opportunities for improving the post-purchase experience or customer loyalty.

Worse, most customer identification still happens at the point of checkout in the store, which is too late to empower associates to influence the current purchase decision. Without early identification of the customer, retailers miss critical engagement opportunities, such as clienteling and guided selling, which can increase sales and deliver an enhanced customer experience, the study revealed.

“While most online retailers are able to identify customers early in the browsing process in order to create a more personalized experience, identifying customers in the store continues to be a challenge for most brick-and-mortar retailers,” said Ryan Grogman, senior VP, Boston Retail Partners.

“Those online experiences have heightened customer expectations for personalization and they now expect the same level of service while shopping in a store,” he added. “This is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to improve the customer experience – and turn anonymous shoppers into loyal customers.”
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