The concept of personalization has been around for decades, and it might sound like old news to you. What is new, however, is that personalized experiences aren’t just a nice-to-have anymore, they’re a basic customer expectation – and if you don’t make this a priority for your business, you might get left behind. Our CMO Jonathan Bean discussed personalization strategies for increasing conversions and loyalty in retail with a panel of technology experts from leading email API vendor Mailgun, one-click checkout provider Fast, and Bloomreach, a digital commerce experience leader.
Discover the key takeaways from the discussion and find answers to all the questions you might have about creating personalized experiences that deliver real value for your customers – and great ROI for your business!
How personalized experiences help retail brands stand out
While we all have ambitious quarterly sales targets to hit, when thinking about your customer journey, you might want to let your own goals take a back seat.
Customers crave personalized experiences that help them address their needs. Think about it: Don’t you get frustrated when a brand keeps sending you offers that are completely irrelevant to you, like a “personalized” email promoting something you’ve already bought?
Your personalization efforts should always be focused on delivering real value to your customers. Show that you understand them and help them reach their goals!
But where should you start? How do you spot the right personalization opportunities?
A good way to get started is to think about what could make your customers’ lives easier. What’s good for your customers is good for your conversion and loyalty rates! Identify friction and dropout points in your customer journey, and fix them! Look into purchase and browsing history, content, and channels, identify customer preferences, anticipate their needs - and address them!
And don’t neglect timeliness! Pushing the right offer and content won’t get you anywhere if it’s not at the right time. Personalized sending times is definitely something to consider, too.
Don't let data be a roadblock on your path to better retail experiences
Of course, customer data should be at the core of your personalization efforts.
But you might not be able to start running hyper-personalized campaigns just yet – and that’s totally fine! You can’t make everything happen overnight. Don’t aim for perfection, just try something! Work with the customer data you already have, and if you don’t have much, be creative or keep it simple, even if that means starting off with things as basic as using the customer’s first name or location. Trust us, small things can get you a long way!
And remember: don’t overdo it with data. Think about what you really need and will actually use. With too much data in your hands, it’s easy to create roadblocks for yourself or for your IT and data intelligence team.
Never stop learning from your customers
When it comes to customer journey optimization through personalization, constant learning and experimentation are the way to go. Each new experiment or A/B test, good or bad, will teach you something you can use to improve campaign performance and ROI.
And don’t forget first-hand insights! If you can’t figure out why things work or fail, step away from data and talk to your support team, or take a walk in your customers' shoes! Experience your buyer journey yourself or interview a few customers. Or, actually, even better: Put two-way conversations at the core of your customer engagement strategy! Recent research commissioned by Sinch showed that conversational engagement is an incredibly powerful strategy for brands looking to improve digital experiences and ROI. And the best part is, it’s still quite an untapped potential – which means it’s a great way for you to stand out!
Personalization vs. optimization: What yields the best ROI?
While optimization is about enhancing experiences for the average customer, personalization is a more intentional approach focused on addressing each customer’s specific needs.
In an ideal world, both approaches should go hand in hand, but let’s face it: personalization is a challenge and many brands get put off by the amount of time and resources they think are necessary to do it right. How else can you possibly keep up with individual history and needs, changing preferences, all while retaining continuity across channels?
Well, you don’t have to go super granular to start increasing your conversion and loyalty rates. If you’re not ready for hyper-personalization, aim for relevance!
The truth is, with the right tools in place, creating personalized experiences that deliver real value for your customers and your business is much easier than you think. Technology such as conversational AI and predictive analytics can take all the annoying, time-consuming manual work off your hands and enable you to create 1:1 AI-powered, data-backed experiences effortlessly - and with a smart conversational engagement tool, you can do so across all the channels your customers use!
Curious to learn more? We’ve recorded this inspiring discussion between our four experts! Watch it here, or get in touch to find out how Sinch helps businesses create personalized omnichannel experiences at scale.
Jonathan Bean, Chief Marketing Officer – Sinch
Nicole Jacobson, VP of Marketing - Mailgun
Alex Meadow, Head of Consumer Product - Fast
Martin Simo, Product Marketing Manager - Bloomreach