The Importance of Personalization in Retail

Why is marketing personalization so crucial for retailers?

As legendary marketer Seth Godin once said: “If your marketing messages are tailored to speak to everyone, you’ll impact no one.”

This means that if you’re trying to reach out to your audience with generic content, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to show them products they truly care about.

In order to deliver relevant and engaging messages, marketers use the power of personalization! But wait… how powerful is personalization and why does it matter?

To give you a real-life example, 35% of Amazon sales come from the “Products you might like” section.

Personalization has also been shown to increase Average Order Value (AOV) by at least 15%.

Modern consumers want to be treated as individuals and don’t want to be confronted by messaging that isn’t relevant to them.

Positioning your brand for all types of customers

If you’re selling different products of equal importance, it’s hard to be positioned as experts in a specific field. But what if you could be positioned differently for each of your market segments? This is what personalization and segmentation helps you accomplish!

This means that once you’ve built your different buyer personas, you can then position your selling proposition based on their interests and what matters to them.

This will allow you to position your brand in a unique way for each persona. Keep in mind, this is accomplished through segmentation, we’re not at the personalization stage yet.

First things first…

Personalization can get complex since there are so many different possibilities. So where should you start? One of the most crucial parts of running a successful marketing campaign is understanding who your best customers are.

The segment with the highest lifetime value should be the one you personalize your messages to the most! For tips on how to increase customer lifetime value, click here to download our free eBook.

Data analytics helps you understand your customer’s desires and interests. But even more importantly, the value of each customer group.

Nowadays, customers have multiple touchpoints within their journeys, so marketers are faced with needing to use multiple tools to access all their insights.

This means that data is often fragmented, making it really hard to get the bigger picture and understand what is happening across all your marketing channels and initiatives.

Furthermore, since we’re currently heading into a cookieless future, having a customer data platform (CDP) such as Salesforce CDP, isn’t just convenient, it becomes necessary.

A CDP helps you unify all your data for a complete view of all your customers. It acts as the marketer’s brain, it helps collect, unify and interpret data. It then leverages these insights to better your relationships with customers and prospects.

Remember, your campaigns will be as good as your data. Therefore, if you feel that the data in your CRM is all over the place, consider hiring experts for data cleansing before starting any new initiatives.

Which pieces of data should you capture first?

Discovering your customer’s interests as early as possible in the lead generation process will allow you to tailor your content to their preferences.

Doing this can significantly shorten the sales cycle!

Let’s say that you’re a sports shoe retailer, the first form your potential customers fill out could include:

  • First and last name
  • Email address
  • Favourite sport (with a drop-down field)

Once you know your customer’s favourite sport, you can already start customizing their experience by providing valuable content based on their interests.

Needless to say, providing relevant content to your customers will increase open rates, engagement, and ROI.

Marketing automation tools such as Marketing Cloud allow you to use progressive profiling.

This powerful tool allows marketers to gather more information from a prospect over time without scaring them away with one huge form.

By shortening your forms, you will promote better conversion rates and provide your marketing team with more details about that contact.

Here’s an example of what that could look like:

Client visits website for the first time

Form fields: 

  • First name
  • Email address
  • Favourite sport

The visitor chooses “Running”  as their favourite sport

Client visits website for the second time 

Form field: 

  • What type of runner are you?

That same visitor chooses “Marathon runner”

Client visits website for the third time

Form field:

  • Favourite running shoe brand

That same visitor chooses “Reebok” as their favourite running shoe brand

As you can imagine, these golden pieces of information allow you to personalize content based on a prospect’s interests.

Your awesome marketing team can now send value packed emails such as:

“What the best marathon runners in the world eat in a day”
“What running shoes does (enter famous marathon runner’s name) wear?”
“50% sale on everything Rebook!”

Remember the 80/20 rule? 8 out of 10 readers will only read your subject line or headline.

Segmenting your database by interests as early as possible helps you crumble that rule and throw it out the window because you’re only showing them what they’re interested in.

In other words, specificity builds credibility!

The different levels of personalization

Personalized subject lines and email copy
Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Using your prospects first name in your email copy can make your message feel more personal.

But nowadays, every single business that collects customer data uses this…

Think about it, how many promotional emails do you receive each week? How many of them use your first name in the subject line and in the copy?

Yes.. almost all of them. Relevant content is what will make your emails stand out!

Interest based segmentation

As mentioned earlier, understanding your customers’ interests is a prerequisite to delivering personalized experiences that keep your customers engaged. To do this, you’ll need accurate customer data. You can create different interest-based segments by: 

  • Asking your customers what interests them via a form on your website, or in an email, or even on your mobile app if you have one
  • Taking a look at previous purchases (If a customer purchases tennis shoes, show them tennis-related content)
  • By analyzing engagement history (What content do they engage with the most?)

Assumptions are a marketer’s worst enemy. This type of relevant information will help you drive cross-selling and upselling initiatives in a data-centric way.

One-to-one marketing

This is the top level of personalization, AKA the holy grail of marketing! At this stage, each user will live a different experience and will go through a different journey. 

By using clean, accurate customer data, you can show relevant marketing messages at scale. 

Amazon is the perfect example. The “You might also like” section has a one-to-one relationship with the user. It is unlikely that another customer will see the same suggestions.

What if you could do this with your business? 

It’s more accessible than you think! Marketers who use Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud have seen an 80% increase in customer subscription and a 23% increase in marketing ROI. 

Einstein Recommendation is a feature that you can integrate with your Marketing Cloud instance to recommend the next best content, the next best offer, or the next best product to your customers based on their actions and behavior when they visit your website. 

One thing to keep in mind is that 1:1 marketing requires high data reliance. In other words, if your data isn’t clean, it’s nearly impossible to accomplish this level of content personalization. 

To wrap up

The modern consumer is expecting an individualized experience throughout their buying journey now more than ever. If your marketing messages aren’t tailored to each individual, you’re missing out on an opportunity to engage them with content that could shorten the sales cycle and increase the customer lifetime value (CLTV). 

Hopefully, this article gave you a better understanding of what one-to-one marketing is all about. 

If you feel that you’re not taking full advantage of your Salesforce tools, feel free to message us, we’ll be glad to help.

PS. we LOVE working with retailers ?

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