5 personalisation techniques that all retailers can borrow from premium brands
When a customer walks through the door of a high-end store, they expect store associates to quickly understand exactly who they are and what they want. In order to meet these incredibly high expectations, premium brands have invested a huge amount of time and resources in personalising shopper experiences. But not every retailer has a huge budget for customer engagement R&D.
That doesn’t mean that personalisation isn’t possible for all retail businesses, however. In fact, mass-market retailers can benefit from luxury brands exploring cutting-edge customisation techniques, to see which innovations have the greatest impact on customer relationships, before applying them to their own organisation.
Here are five examples of personalisation methods pioneered by premium brands that can be borrowed and implemented on a larger scale, to nurture individual customer value:
Chanel - handwritten thank you notes
Sometimes the simplest forms of personalisation are the most effective, and Chanel’s approach to following up on purchases is a great example of this. When a customer makes a high-value purchase, the designer brand makes sure the sales associate who managed the encounter sends a handwritten follow-up note, thanking them for their business, and providing their contact details in case they have any further queries.
It’s a straightforward, but incredibly powerful way to show consumers that their contribution is valued – and who doesn’t like receiving exciting post!
BMW - InSight app
Many retailers have invested in sophisticated mobile apps to drive online sales, but BMW provides an interesting example of how to use applications in the aftersales process, to nurture strong customer relationships.
Its InSight app uses mixed reality technology to help customers understand all the features of its vehicles as they get to know their new car, and it can also remind them if its due for its MOT/service or certain components require further attention.
By establishing an online dialogue, customers feel they’re getting the most from their purchase, and it recreates the personal relationship usually managed by dealership colleagues in digital format – similar to the role of chatbots as part of the retail customer support network.
Floravere – The ‘Instagram to in real life’ journey
While online interactions can be easily personalised, with retailers having access to vast amounts of customer data, it’s often hard to bring this sense of individual knowledge and value into the store environment.
Wedding dress brand, Floravere, has explored some interesting ways to integrate the online/offline journey through personalisation techniques, by enabling customers to pre-select their favourite dresses on Instagram or the brand’s website before visiting its boutiques.
Floravere also encourages customers to fill out a digital questionnaire, so that store associates understand exactly what each bride is looking for, in order to create a customised styling experience. It’s a good example of how online data can be used to personalise the physical retail journey.
Richer Sounds – empowering store colleagues
Personalisation doesn’t always have to mean knowing who the customer is before they interact; often being able to seamlessly respond to their needs creates the individual sense of value that builds long-term customer loyalty.
Richer Sounds is a great example of this. The consumer electronics retailer invested in a new technology platform to enhance customer service capabilities across its 54 stores and offices. Intuitive sales and product functions helps Richer Sounds’ colleagues to work more efficiently with access to every element of in-store operations – including point of sale, stock management, purchasing, reordering, click & collect and customer service.
This means all customer needs – however diverse – can be addressed through one piece of technology; an approach that can be easily adopted by mass-market retailers.
Tiffany & Co – prioritising in-store purchasers
If Richer Sounds is creating personal customer experiences through flexible technology, Tiffany shows how premium brands can make store shoppers feel like the most important audience.
The high-end jewellery brand often prioritises stock for in-store shoppers, to ensure that they can always find what they want at the shelf-edge. Then, customers can benefit from unique services including a ‘Make it My Tiffany’ personalisation space, where items can be engraved while they wait.
While engraving is specific to jewellery retailers, the concept of introducing added value services is something that a much wider retail audience can explore, to ensure that the store delivers interaction opportunities that cannot be replicated online.
Find the best techniques for recognising individual customer value
As these examples show, there are many different ways in which the retail experience can be enhanced to add personal customer value – and while luxury brands are paving the way, many of the techniques they are exploring can be adapted for a general retail audience.
The key for any retailer looking to adapt or enhance personalisation is to identify where the journey can be integrated across channels, to join up what is happening online and in-store, and then use that knowledge to power stronger in-store experiences.
It’s also vital for retailers to consider a variety of techniques for engaging shoppers; from simple old-school marketing such as handwritten notes, right through to sophisticated digital experience technology, which can bring interactive, data-driven experiences into the store environment, in order to meet each customer’s individual requirements.
By combining personalisation tools, retailers give consumers a reason to walk through the door, quickly recognise their needs once in-store, and empower store associates to serve customers in the most effective manner possible.