Strangers

Shoppers are looking for personalized experiences with brands and retailers – and not just online. A recent eMarketer report details how consumers expect personally-relevant information from the companies they interact with across all channels – store, website, catalog, mobile, and call center.

Yet, most companies aren’t equipped to deliver this personalization –neither are most advertising and agency partners, the report reveals. Forty-seven percent of advertisers and 28% of agencies can’t target personalized recommendations across channels, or in real time. And only 37% of advertisers and 32% of agencies can do one or the other.

So how critical is it for companies to start personalizing their customers’ experiences right away? Here are three important takeaways from the report.

More than half of shoppers want to get personal

Online consumers expect companies to tailor shopping experiences to their needs – especially when they have an established relationship with the brand. Sixty-six percent of US cross-channel shoppers think stores where they’re part of a loyalty program should deliver a more personalized shopping experience. And 50% say retailers they frequent should offer promotions or merchandise that reflect their past online purchases.

Tailoring your site to shoppers also helps cross-selling. Forty percent of respondents would buy from websites that make recommendations based on past behavior – suggestions like “you may also like” or “people like you bought.”

They expect you to remember them

Consumers expect their experiences with your brand – wherever they have them – to affect (and improve) their ongoing relationship with you. According to the study, 46% of shoppers would buy more from retailers that personalize the shopping experience across all channels. And 42% would value a retailer or brand more if it remembered buying and browsing behavior from all channels they’ve shopped.

People don’t view your brand as separate “channels.” Whether they’re on your website, in your store, browsing your mobile app, or flipping through your catalogue, they view you as one brand. And they expect a personalized and consistent shopping experience wherever they find you.

Relevance is working

Personalization also makes marketing more relevant – which many appreciate. Forty-two percent prefer marketing emails personalized based on past browsing or purchases. And 31% expect retailers to show ads on non-retail sites for products they view – for example, a shopper who views running shoes in an online storefront later sees ads for similar shoes while browsing a news site. These ads are more relevant because the viewer has already indicated their interest.

We tested this ad relevance a step further by matching consumers with customer opinions especially relevant to them, based on demographics, location, and past browsing. Partnering with Microsoft Advertising, we then inserted these authentic opinions into personalized display ads. Viewers found the ads “believable” and “relevant,” and showed increased brand awareness and purchase intent.

Increasing shopper demand for – and responsiveness to – personalized brand interactions make the holistic customer experience more important than ever. To deliver truly relevant experiences everywhere, brands must start tracking the entire customer lifecycle across channels, and acting on this data in real time across the business.

The Conversation Index Volume 3