Tailor-made for success: How to deliver personalised customer experiences at scale

Author

Tim Axon

Tim Axon

Published

At Shoptalk 2024 a clear narrative emerged: the future of retail is deeply intertwined with personalisation, AI-driven innovation, and strategic collaboration. 

Keynotes from Meta, Google, and major retail brands highlighted personalisation not just as a trend but as a fundamental driver of customer engagement, loyalty, and business growth. The message was clear: technology will be the enabler of  unprecedented levels of personalised customer experiences.

However, this must be maintained across the funnel not just at Awareness and Interest stages but at Action too; or in other words at the shop window – the brand’s website and apps – with the emphasis on friction-reducing, functional, essential, and value-adding personalisation strategies.

 

Better experiences for everyone

The delivery of personalised customer experiences through a brand’s website or app focuses on streamlining the customer journey, removing obstacles, and making the experience as intuitive and effortless as possible.

This approach involves several key tactics, such as:

 

Pre-populating forms: By automatically filling in information based on a user’s past interactions, brands can significantly reduce the effort required to complete transactions, leading to higher conversion rates.

Providing suggested search results: Leveraging previous search queries and browsing behaviour, websites and apps can offer personalised search suggestions, guiding customers to their interests more quickly.

Customising content: Tailoring the content displayed to each user based on their past behaviour, preferences, and interactions creates a more engaging and relevant experience. This could include highlighting products, services, or content that aligns with their interests or past purchases.

Automated size recommendations: For fashion and apparel websites, automated size recommendations use past purchase data and returns history to suggest the best fit for a customer. By analysing patterns in size selections and the reasons for returns, the system can guide users towards choices that are more likely to satisfy, reducing the hassle of returns and exchanges.

Real-time inventory updates: Provide customers with up-to-the-minute information on product availability. This can be particularly helpful for items in high demand, allowing customers to make purchase decisions based on current stock levels or receive notifications when an item is back in stock.

Adaptive loading: Optimise website or app loading times based on a user’s internet speed and device capabilities. For users with slower connections, the platform can prioritise loading critical content first or offer a simplified version of the site to improve speed and usability

Predictive text and auto-complete in search: Enhancing predictive and auto-complete text functionalities in search fields can speed up the user’s search process by anticipating their queries based on past searches and popular trends. This not only saves time but also helps users discover new interests or products they might not have found on their own.

 Checkoutless shopping experience: Offering a Checkoutless Shopping Experience where users can pay for items in-store through the app without waiting in line can greatly enhance the physical retail experience. Alternatively having a 1-click checkout for online purchases and ‘add to order’ functionality is proven to increase spend and make for a better checkout experience.

Smart filtering and sorting: Similar to personalised content smart filtering and sorting adjust options dynamically based on the user’s past behaviour and preferences. For example, an online store could automatically adjust product listings to show preferred brands, sizes, or colours first, simplifying the browsing process.

 

Such personalised digital interactions are not just about enhancing user convenience; they represent a deeper understanding and anticipation of customer needs, fostering a sense of value and trust towards the brand. This is particularly effective because it addresses specific customer behaviours and preferences, making each interaction feel uniquely tailored to the individual. This is one reason that we’ve partnered with Made With Intent which helps us to  measure a potential customer’s intent levels to purchase. It moves away from the industry wide used metric of conversion and looks at propensity to purchase allowing retailers opportunities to personalise the experience based on a user’s intent levels.

 

The business impact of personalisation

The implementation of friction-reducing personalisation on a brand’s digital platforms—its website and app—offers substantial business benefits. By smoothing out the digital journey, businesses can achieve higher engagement rates, increased customer satisfaction, and ultimately, significant uplifts in conversion rates and loyalty. This has been highlighted in Forrester’s most recent research report on personalisation in retail: https://www.forrester.com/report/forresters-essential-research-for-approaching-consumer-personalization/RES180675

 

In addition, the data gathered through personalised interactions provides invaluable insights, enabling brands to continually refine and enhance their digital offerings; which brings us on to the value of experimentation… (but that’s another opinion article!). This all combines to create a virtuous cycle of improvement and personalisation, driving long-term business growth and customer retention.

 

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