Too Many Retailers Prioritize Onsite Over Mobile Personalization

Does a retailer’s website allow customers to create a profile and wishlist, and set their own personal preferences? Can they receive notifications for out-of-stock items? Are the product recommendations relevant? Those are just a few of the many questions we asked ourselves when we created the Retail Personalization Index last year.

Countless factors go into what makes a truly personalized shopping experience, but we did our best to quantify them. The second time around, we went bigger and evaluated more than 250 brands, with only the most sophisticated personalizers making the Sailthru 100. As a result, we saw a far greater chasm between the top and the bottom.

Sephora came out on top once again, one of four retailers to score a perfect 30 points in the website category. Of the brands that didn’t make the cut, 29% didn’t even score 30 points total.

Website Scores Were Much Higher Than Mobile

We broke down our research by channel, starting with a brand’s website. For the most part, retailers passed with flying colors. On the Sailthru 100, 82% of the retailers earned at least two-thirds of the available points in site score. Let’s hold the brands that didn’t make the cut to a slightly lower standard than Sephora: 74% earned at least half the available website points.

Website personalizationA well-personalized website isn’t enough. Mobile devices are a huge part of the shopping experience and are increasingly accounting for conversions. eMarketer projects that this holiday season will see a 32.6% bump in mcommerce.

Still, plenty of retailers aren’t giving their mobile experience the same TLC. A whopping 39.2% of the brands we evaluated scored zero mobile points.

No retailer can afford to ignore mobile. Smartphones are a symbol of digital transformation. We carry them around everywhere — including the bathroom. According to MiMedia, 69% of consumers use their smartphones on the toilet. So what are the odds we’re going to go shopping without our trusty handheld devices that contain all the information in the entire world?

Mobile Devices Represent Digital Transformation

Smartphones are a big part of the customer journey, the crossroads of commerce and the key to in-store personalization. Over the past few years, marketers have had to change up their strategies accordingly.

It’s no secret that traditional retailers are working to enhance their ecommerce as more online brands move IRL. According to commercial real estate firm JLL, digitally native brands like Casper and Allbirds will open 850 physical stores over the next five years.

Express mobile app

For their legacy counterparts, mobile devices serve as a symbol of change. Twenty percent of the Sailthru 100 got at least 12 out of 15 possible points in the mobile category. The split was even, with 10 from each side of the digital divide. However, the distribution was a little more concentrated at the top. Eleven brands achieved perfect scores; seven are legacy retailers including WalmartPacSun and Express.

But of course, it’s not about one or the other. Today’s customer journey transcends channels; it’s about how well they complement each other as the shopper seamlessly toggles between the two. It’s no coincidence that the only two brands to earn perfect scores in website and mobile categories are Sephora and The Body Shop. The retailers that ranked first and second on the list.

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2018 Retail Personalization Index

View the Top 100