Trending: Personalization gets hyper

Black and white photo of Brian Ross

Brian Ross
A person carrying a shopping basket with produce in it

Harnessing personal information to create hyper-personalized experiences and build customer engagement in an omni-channel world

Digital data. It’s a boon for retailers diving into an ever-rising sea of information about customer routines, social connections, and purchase history, helping us to create and perfect more engaging personalized experiences that engage our best customers.

Why do we care about personalization? For customers, it means offers tailored to their needs – 82% say they’re likely to shop at a retailer that provides them with personalized offers. For retailers, creating personalized experiences enhances customer engagement, ultimately increasing their visits and their basket size – leading to higher sales and profits. A true virtuous cycle if ever there was one.

And even as personalization is still gaining traction, leading retailers are exploring new ways to boost relevance, moving beyond purchase history and demographics to more detailed information like browsing behavior and real-time data. This allows us to really understand how customers are engaging with the new omni-channel world and provide hyper-personalized experiences – not only offering personalized experiences, offers, and content today but using insights about a customer to anticipate their future needs.

The emerging best practices involve using a variety of strategies to further enhance customer engagement, including real-time personalization, dynamic pricing and promotions, and omni-channel personalization.

Different channels mean different interactions

Omni-channel in particular – cross-personalization in-store and online – is poised to transform retail for those willing to move with the customer. It gives us the ability to create intelligent customer conversations and experiences by using data from one channel – like web, email, mobile, and in-store – to personalize another.

It’s important to remember that omni-channel is not about doing the same thing across all channels and treating each one as an extension of the store – such an approach would be the antithesis of “customer-centric,” when you think about it. True omni-channel retailing starts with recognizing that, increasingly, customers interact with brands differently based on their chosen channel.

Take a bricks and mortar store. It may carry 65,000 items and offer uniform pricing and mass promotions for everyone who walks in the door. But with the average customer only ever buying 100 to 200 items, that same store’s online environment can function differently, providing an experience, products, pricing, and promotions targeted to what matters to each individual.

The reality is that, while today we may still have a big divide between “store shoppers” and “online shoppers,” that divide is shrinking: in the rapidly growing omni-channel world, one shopper will engage in multiple channels and engage differently with each one. The challenge will be to understand the role each channel plays for the customer and how to adapt to meet his or her expectations.

About the Author

Black and white photo of Brian Ross

Brian Ross


President of Precima, a NielsenIQ Company. Brian works with some of the world’s leading brands to deliver world-class customer-centric solutions through strategic consulting, industry-leading analytics and a next-generation technology platform. His vision and leadership helped launch Precima in 2008 as a three-person startup, and he has since grown it into a global leader in retail, B2B and CPG strategy and analytics with over 300 experts in Canada, the United States and Europe. With an extensive background in loyalty solutions, customer marketing and merchandising strategies, Brian oversees the strategic and operational management responsibilities, as well as relationships with customers and business partners.

Before Precima, Brian spent several years in management positions across LoyaltyOne businesses, notably providing client management and analytics support for key partners of the AIR MILES Reward Program. He used data-driven customer insights to develop successful programs for clients in grocery, pharmacy, department store, specialty retailing, financial services and consumer packaged goods. Brian shares his broad range of expertise and thought leadership in regular features in leading marketing publications, and is a frequent speaker at industry events and forums.