Why trust and data privacy are your answers to personalization

Why trust and data privacy are your answers to personalization

Effective personalization reflects a commitment to customer service, loyalty, and a deep understanding of what every customer needs. But it starts with building trust to create exceptional personalized experiences that surprise and delight customers in every moment with your brand — and being responsible with their data.

Take The Home Depot, for example. Few stores greet you with more comfort and reliability than it does. Even in a bustling digital economy, more than half of the US population make at least two trips per year to its bright orange storefronts. And as of 2022, The Home Depot maintains its spot as the world’s leading home improvement retailer and the fifth-largest ecommerce site in the world, reporting sales of over $150 billion in 2021.

So what’s the winning strategy behind their impressive customer loyalty and massive growth? People trust The Home Depot.

Simply put, companies that know how to earn their customers’ trust by protecting their data deliver more effective, personalized offers that create unbeatable loyalty.

Customer privacy is key to impactful personalized experiences

Behind every successful personalized moment is a unified system of data with customer privacy built in. And how and when you deliver an experience sets the stage for each customer relationship. The key is using data to deliver experiences when your customers need it most — and doing so with their privacy and safety in mind.

Naturally, customers care deeply about their privacy and how their data is used. With a growing digital economy, companies must take their data seriously and reconsider their use of data sources. There are ways for companies to leverage customer data with integrity and see an outsized impact from personalized experiences.

In striving to create a more seamless online to offline shopping experience, The Home Depot allowed customers some ownership of what data they were willing to share and demonstrated how this would benefit them. Customers can upload their wish lists into The Home Depot mobile app, and once in store, the app then directs them to the correct aisle and bin number to find the right kitchen faucet, sledgehammer, or tube of adhesive. This approach allowed the team to iterate based on ingested customer data and follow up with more impressive features.

Establishing a unified data system while prioritizing privacy, security, and governance is at the heart of building a winning customer data management strategy.

Data protection requires flexible solutions designed for personalization

Data plays a critical role in delivering the personalized experiences we’ve come to expect. For this same reason, consumers and policymakers are tightening how companies can use data — and taking steps to phase out less secure sources such as third-party data to replace it with first- and second-party sources.

This shift to ethical data practices requires custom-built advanced marketing tools to use data responsibly and reach audiences with more relevant content.

Leveraging solutions that work from first- and second-party data capabilities is valuable to building robust audiences and deepening relationships. For example, features like real-time customer profiles empower you to create unique audience segments based on common interests. This gives you a holistic picture of your customers for re-engaging with relevant experiences when it matters most.

For The Home Depot, customers can rely on everything from its garden-filled warehouses to its frictionless mobile app for guidance from data gathered into a single unified customer profile.

“Instead of separating metrics from online and offline channels, we focused our attention on capturing everything, including website activity, in-store sales, call center volume, return volume, order cancellations, and much more, which now enables us to make the best decisions to improve the shopper experience across all touchpoints.”

Ranjeet Bhosale, Vice President, Customer Marketing and Operations, The Home Depot

This is one of many examples of how advanced solutions designed for personalization can help teams capture the most valuable audience interactions — and build a repeatable formula that fosters trust and loyalty.

A shared view of each customer harmonizes data confusion

Data is only powerful if you’re able to use it effectively. That's why a single, unified tool, accessible across teams, is vital for deepening your customer relationships. Modern organizations can effectively use audience data through a customer data platform (CDP), a software solution that centralizes your data across multiple channels and systems to create a single unified customer profile.

A shared view of each customer helps to make customers’ experiences everyone’s responsibility by making the customer journey widely available to everyone who needs it. Some CDPs include AI-powered machine learning features that reduce the time and human resources needed to normalize floods of customer data and automate personalized content in the moment.

With access to these features, The Home Depot discovered customers were shopping by projects rather than specific departments and revamped their customer experience to guide them with relevant products. For example, a buyer who recently purchased vinyl plank flooring might later receive a recommendation for a floor cleaner, or a contractor might be encouraged to join The Home Depot’s loyalty program so they can get deals specific to their trade.

“We wanted to help the customer see that they could buy the whole project from The Home Depot, not just the bathroom faucet they had been looking for,” says Melanie Babcock, vice president of integrated media with The Home Depot. “It challenged us to rethink our media strategies to follow how customers move across our aisles and to shift our focus to the horizon of time it might take to complete a home improvement project.”

The Home Depot realized not only were customers benefiting from streamlined, personalized experiences, but the company tapped into new opportunities to act on cross-channel insights. With a single source of truth for all customer data, organizations can provide customers with both online and offline offers that help meet multiple needs at a given time.

Moments define personalization — and data makes it effective

Personalized experiences are the new standard customers expect to engage in wherever your brand is showing up. But your company must use customer data effectively to build lasting customer relationships. The power of real-time data is that you can be proactive and reactive to your customers’ needs. Having the right tools that work with data integrity makes it possible to personalize every moment of your customer’s journey.

Learn how Adobe can help you collect and unify the data necessary to deliver personalized experiences that instill trust and long-time loyalty.