Retail

Retail Personalization May Not Come Soon

Shift In Consumer Expectations

In today’s fast-paced world of smart devices, consumers are becoming more demanding with regards to product and service delivery. Welcome to the age of instant gratification.

Retailers are scrambling to figure out the best ways to provide a more tailored and engaging experience. Research from Boston Retail Partners (BRP) and Manhattan Associates shows that while 70 percent of surveyed North American retailers understand the importance of personalization and are putting it at the top of their objectives list in 2017, many don’t have any actual plans to put the wheels in motion for a few years out. The study, which surveyed 500 retailers in North America and Canada, was conducted in November and December 2016.

Providing a personalized experience is becoming more important as smart devices everywhere already provide it via technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence. There are myriad technologies already developed and some yet to be developed, working 24/7 to learn individual consumer behaviors and preferences.

As evidenced by the convention speaker subjects at the National Retail Federation’s Big Annual Show, personalization is top of mind for a lot of the big-name stores. Retailers from Macy’s to Walmart and more were discussing how best to utilize data to provide a more custom experience for consumers in-store. For example, Intel’s keynote speech was titled Driving Retail Transformation: How Data and Smart, Connected Technology Deliver Amazing Customer Experiences.

BRP’s research clearly shows retailers are behind the ball (or slow to move it, at least) when it comes to rolling out personalization tactics. At the top of the list for this was suggested selling based on browser history, which is set to launch within the next 12 months. What remains consistent across the board is suggested selling based on previous purchases, which hangs around the 30 percent range of retailers that plan to continually roll out this feature over the next three years.

One of the more interesting areas to note is that 36 percent of retailers surveyed aren’t planning to roll out suggested selling based on social media activity for another one to three years. The big question now is which will be the first to implement social media suggested selling successfully. Over the next few years, this is a trend that is one to watch.

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