As part of this year’s Retail Personalization Index, we surveyed 5,000 consumers about what’s most important to them.
What do they expect in a digital transaction? How are retail’s favorite brands communicating throughout the pandemic? And what personalization preferences does the average consumer have?
After months of research and 2,500+ hours of in-depth retail industry analysis, the 2021 Retail Personalization Index Consumer Survey report has all the answers you need. Consider it your blueprint for building a better omnichannel experience in 2021.
But if you’re short on time and don’t want to dive into the full results of our report, you came to the right place. Start with these four trends that are key to improving your personalization and elevating the customer experience.
The growing importance of personalized browser notifications
Adding a subtle, personalized push at exactly the right time, such as after a user has expressed interest in a product but before they’ve pulled the trigger on a final purchase, is an excellent way to stay top-of-mind. Especially for customers who have their attention pulled in many directions at any given moment.
The “friendly reminder” aspect of personalized browser notifications is likely why these messages ranked so highly with consumers, who named them one of the most important ways your brand should stay in touch.
By focusing on personalized notifications and a connected customer experience across digital and in-store interactions, Home Depot is experiencing massive revenue growth. Thanks to significant investment into its online personalization tools, the brand grew its digital sales by 80% last year.
Product recommendations that consider customer preferences
81% of consumers don’t mind giving up their data if the exchange leads to greater personalization down the road. And, while the average shopper probably doesn’t know what collaborative filtering is or how preference data clusters work, they absolutely appreciate product recommendations based on their own behavior.
In our survey, filter-based product recommendations also ranked among the most important aspects of personalization for retail buyers.
It’s no secret that Sephora, the queen sitting on top of retail’s personalization throne, owes much of its Index success to customized product recommendations. From someone’s first engagement, Sephora starts tracking preferences, browsing habits, and any purchases to make its recommendations more relevant each time they’re delivered.
Sending one welcome email isn’t enough
A warm, immediate thank you email is a given in today’s digital marketing age. Which is why 93% of the Top 25 brands in this year’s Retail Personalization Index choose to send one after every signup, purchase, and/or download.
Regardless of how personal your business chooses to get in that welcome email, don’t overlook one thing: your second email.
As the number of on-the-go professionals increases, the reality is email inboxes everywhere are overflowing. For any retailer, that means a single message is easier to miss than ever before.
So, why stop at one interaction? It stands to reason that most consumers need more than one email before a brand stands out in their promotions folder. And the 5,000 shoppers we talked to agree.
Starting with a shopper preference quiz, Thrive Market’s welcome email series shows every customer how the brand can help them live a healthier lifestyle — no matter what that means to the individual involved. Personalization helps Thrive Market live its brand values, explain membership benefits to shoppers, and even offers loyal customers exclusive ways to save.
Put recently viewed items right on the front page
Being on the hunt for a specific product means reviewing dozens of options on multiple websites. And when someone finally finds the product they love, it doesn’t always make it into their cart. Retailers that provide reminders of recently viewed items right on each customer’s interface or website front page are likely to score big brownie points.
Our respondents say this little touch of personalization goes a long way with consumers and their ultimate perception of a brand.
Unfortunately, many businesses overlook the power of making previously viewed products easy to find again. Of the Top 25 brands in 2021’s Retail Personalization Index, just 48% include previously viewed products on their website anywhere.
Even when the field expands to include this year’s Top 100 brands, just 25% percent make previously viewed products a priority. For any retail brand looking to stand out, making it easy for your buyers to find the products they’ve browsed before. It’s a small step that can create a potentially huge payoff down the road.
If you’re skeptical, look no further than Bed Bath & Beyond for how valuable these ecommerce tools can be. After committing $250 million to upgrading its online store over the next three years, the brand has built one of this year’s most highly personalized front-page web experiences. And it’s not slowing down these efforts anytime soon.
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