The purpose of Sailthru's Retail Personalization Index is to quantify how leading retailers are personalizing their customer experience, which personalization methods are most effective, and the relationship between a personalized experience, customer satisfaction, and customer retention.
Two hundred and fifty brands were selected for inclusion in the study based on a number of criteria, including brand prominence, retailer type, and known leadership in customer experience innovation and personalization. Selected retailers include those with a global presence and those with specific presence in the United States and/or United Kingdom.
Sailthru’s team of personalization experts, including individuals with backgrounds in email marketing, website optimization, mobile messaging, business intelligence, analytics, and broader digital marketing strategies developed a list of criteria on which to measure the selected retailers against. The selected criteria, outlined below, included a variety of brand-side and consumer-side activities either in digital channels or using digital data that would be visible to customers shopping with the brand either online or in-store. The criteria list was broken into four sections or channels: Site, Email, Mobile, and Other.
An internal team at Sailthru was assigned to review each retailer in a process called “experiencing the brand,” in which the team would go through the retailer’s site, app, and email experiences as if they were a new customer, keeping track of the efficiency of the customer experience and how well their experience was personalized.
The customer experience and personalization criteria against which brands were evaluated include:
Does the retailer’s site allow customers to create a profile?
Does the site have a preferences manager?
Does the site have product recommendations?
Can customers chat, either with a bot or a live representative?
Does the retailer have a digital personal shopper or customized product recommendation engine?
Does the retailer site have non-product content?
Does the retailer send a welcome email to new customers?
Does the retailer use the customer name in email communication?
Does the retailer use collected customer data to personalize messaging to customers?
Does the retailer acknowledge the customer’s birthday in some way?
Does the retailer send a message/email for an abandoned cart?
Does the retailer send emails based on timing or behavioral triggers?
Does the retailer have a mobile-enabled website?
Does the retailer have an app?
Does the retailer use customer profile data to personalize the in-store experience in some way?
Does the retailer send email or other digital messaging after the customer makes an offline purchase?
Does the retailer have a loyalty program?
Does the retailer have a referral program?
If the retailer sends direct mail, does it use the customer’s name?
Does the retailer use digital data/purchases to personalize direct mail communications in some other way?
Does the retailer have a presence on major social channels? (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat)
Does the advertiser retarget site visitors/cart abandoners through advertising?
Each retailer was assigned a value of 1 or 0 according to whether they met the listed criteria, with notes kept on notable examples.
To accompany the scoring process, in 2017 Sailthru conducted a survey of 13,260 adults ages 18+ recruited from a panel by Qualtrics. These respondents were in the United States and United Kingdom and reported shopping with one or more of the brands evaluated in the prior 12 months. Respondents were asked to describe and rate — on a scale of 1 to 5 — their most recent experience with the brand, as well as how well they felt the brand personalized that experience. Respondents were also asked about their likelihood to recommend the brand to a friend or colleague (to obtain Net Promoter Score) and their likelihood to make another purchase from that retailer in the near future.
Once the brands had been rated as listed above, a series of regression analyses were run using data from the customer survey on NPS, experience ratings, and personalization ratings as the dependent variable and the personalization attributes (scored 1 or 0, as noted above) as the independent variables. From this, Sailthru’s research and insights team was able to identify the relative impact of each on the brand’s customer-given scores and used this magnitude to assign a score to each category. This also informed the design to weight the 4 broader categories unevenly, as the analysis suggested that site personalization efforts had a larger impact than the other categories. The final top 100 list ranks the 250 brands that were analyzed in the study based on this scoring methodology.
If you are a retailer included in the survey, and you believe that we have overlooked some of the criteria above, please contact us: we will investigate the error and update our scoring accordingly.
If you are a retailer not included in the survey, and you believe that you offer an exemplary or innovative customer experience and use of personalization, please contact us to be considered for the 2019 report.