Optimizely participated in the eTail West event in Palm Springs this year, where the main focus concerned how retailers are using technology in innovative ways to exceed shopper expectations. With that in mind, we wanted to highlight three takeaways from what we learned at the conference that retailers like yourself could put into action.
Focus on Each and Every Customer
Retailers feel that to compete, they must empathize with each shopper’s individual needs. And they are right to think so. Simply put, to prosper in today’s competitive landscape, it’s essential to satisfy consumer expectations for personalized experiences. The key is to tap into technologies and data to personalize at scale and to prioritize the customer experience. Each of your different buyer personas should be experiencing messaging and content that is relevant to them.
Get Personal with Machine Learning
Machine learning algorithms are lines of code that retailers can add to their websites to present the right information, products, prices and offers to shoppers. Essentially it’s artificial intelligence that helps retailers intelligently and automatically enable a friction-free, branded shopping experience that increases the likelihood of conversion. Retailers can and should use this to emulate online the personal interactions and relationships that shoppers can experience in store. Think Amazon recommending products based on your browsing and purchase history.
A relevant example is Stitch Fix. This shopping site uses data analysis software and machine learning to match shoppers with personalized clothing options, just as a personal stylist at Nordstrom would do. StitchFix calls upon 50 different algorithms to suggest clothing items, as well as algorithms to assign shoppers to one of its 3,000 human stylists. The technology also gets smarter over time about each customer, so the recommendations become increasingly more relevant.
Break Down Channel Silos
Symmetrical messaging and delivering a consistent consumer experience across all channels are what a lot of omnichannel retailers are most focussed on. Organizations like Barnes & Noble are moving towards closing the gap between offline and online channels.
One facet of this strategy involves establishing a single digital team so that every customer touchpoint is developed and handled in the context of the holistic brand experience. Another is to take a more flexible approach, as Sears Canada is doing, first by focusing on a true omnichannel strategy for just its appliances and then applying lessons learned to their other product lines. Office Depot is organizing around the omnichannel experience by having all three of its sales channels – brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and B2B – report into the Chief Operating Officer, and working toward common metrics. With a shared focus on the customer, business units can avoid channel breakdowns, such as displaying different prices in-store versus online.
The good news is that you can put these strategies into action by taking advantage of the increasingly sophisticated tools built to optimize every aspect of the customer experience. To get started, download our guide covering 5 Personalization Success Strategies for Retailers. In it, you’ll learn how to deliver the seamless, personalized experiences that your customers expect.