Get to know your customers: Why personalising will keep retailers and brands relevant

Woman working on a laptop surrounded by abstract online shopping designs

The pandemic has forever changed the way many consumers shop. The future for retailers and brands isn’t about bricks-and-mortar stores versus online shopping. Instead, retailers need to stay relevant by creating the personalised experiences that their customers are looking for.

The latest report from Adobe, Personalisation At Scale: Bring Forth The Customer And Business Benefits Of Experience Excellence, found consumers are pushing back on traditional audience stereotypes and are instead demanding retailers treat them as multidimensional individuals.

Personalisation can help retailers and brands deliver solutions to their customers before they even realise that they have a need or a problem.

Treating customers as unique individuals

The survey’s results show that today’s consumer is universally feeling the weight of change - 40% of the Asia-Pacific consumers surveyed see themselves differently compared to their pre-pandemic selves. Change is now a constant, and the speed at which people’s preferences change is also startling. More than half (54%) of customers will switch from their favourite brands as their personal circumstances change.

A massive 86% of consumers want to be seen and treated as an individual. For retailers and brands seeking to deliver a superior customer experience, the consequences of not considering the individual can be serious. Based on the survey, 67% of consumers will develop a negative perception of a brand that interacts with them based on broad or inaccurate assumptions.

One size doesn’t fit all

Broad-brushed ‘one-size-fits-all’ stereotypes based on consumer demographics are no longer welcomed by consumers, with only 19% of those surveyed considered being labelled by their age cohort, such as “Millennial” or “Gen Z”, as relevant or helpful. Only 38% of consumers agreed with stereotypes about their generation.

Notably, the oldest and youngest generations were least likely to strongly identify with their demographic groups - only 11% of those aged 55+ and 14% of those aged 18 – 24 strongly agreed that they identified with their demographic group.

Instead, retailers should take notice of the fact that four times as many people said they feel closer to people who share their passions and interests than those of a similar age (62% versus 19%).

The omnichannel experience - giving the people what they want

The retail landscape is increasingly being shaped by customers’ growing expectations to be able to shop for anything, at any time, from anywhere. This can be successfully encapsulated in an omnichannel business model which seamlessly integrates all digital and offline retail functions.

Highly personalised consumer experiences, when offered to millions of individual customers by using proprietary data, are difficult for competitors to imitate and therefore offer sustainable competitive advantage, according to consultants McKinsey.

To maximise the results of a personalisation program, McKinsey recommends focusing initially on the most loyal customers, as programs targeting regular shoppers yield a return on investment three times higher than that of mass promotions.

McKinsey highlights Sephora, the international beauty products retailer, as a leading example of a brand that offers omnichannel personalised experiences. The company’s digital channels, particularly its mobile app, encourage customers to book in-store makeovers and fashion consultations. The app’s ‘in-store companion’ feature enables users to find a store, check to see if an item is in stock, and book a reservation.

How do we achieve personalisation at scale?

So what does today’s retail customer want? The survey provides some key insights which might help:

The next challenge is not just to personalise for the individual, but do it at scale.

At Adobe, we’re helping brands enhance their customers’ experiences through our Real-Time CDP. We draw from multiple data sources – while respecting privacy and preferences – to form the only customer data platform with streaming segmentation, using real-time insights to build personalisation-at-scale.

Download the Personalisation At Scale: Bring Forth The Customer And Business Benefits Of Experience Excellence to learn more about benefits and best practices of delivering personalised experiences during every step of your customer’s journeys.