Retailers that can’t deliver a personalized experience are at serious risk of becoming irrelevant soon. According to a study from Accenture, 75% of shoppers are more likely to do business with companies that recognize them by name, offer relevant recommendations and remember their purchase history.
This study highlights that we’re in the midst of a paradigm shift in the shopper-retailer relationship. With mobile technology and a wealth of information at their fingertips, shoppers want an experience that’s tailored to their individual needs and desires. They crave a one-to-one relationship with the retailers they do business with—and they’ll happily switch brands if that expectation isn’t met.
In the race for personalization, digital natives have an early lead. That’s because they’ve built infrastructure and business models that enable the real-time collection of data and the delivery of customer needs. But both incumbents and newcomers in retail need to realize that personalization isn’t simply a technology problem—it’s an insight problem that revolves around the customer journey.
To get personalization right, retailers need to take a step back, start from the beginning and look at the big picture. It requires understanding not just the logical aspect of purchases, but also the emotional triggers that convince shoppers to buy.
Earlier this year, we provided a sneak preview into our Omnichannel Brand Index (OBI) at a couple of conferences. I’m glad to report that our approach was well received and has helped some of our clients solve part of the conundrum that is the omnishopper journey. More and more of our clients are looking to innovative research to understand this complex consumer, inextricably linked to the consumer and shopper journey that is already one of the most intricate of research problems. To be clear, the omnishopper journey adds a layer of complexity that pushes the boundaries of traditional research methodologies. Furthermore, traditional purchase funnels and loyalty loops do not always take into consideration the holistic understanding of the person making the decision, and this phenomenon is exacerbated when one of the guardrails we can use in our purchase evaluations is technology.
Our own research into the omnishopper journey has defined a clear decision-making ecosystem that takes into account the person—and not just the consumer—making the decision. Cultural beliefs, demographics and lifestyle choices form the gateway to our purchase decisions and these inform who the person becomes at the point of sale.
If you’re struggling to untangle the omnishopper journey web, this article will:
Reveal the three core needs of the omnishopper, as we believe it is impossible to understand one without the other
Share a few of the brands and sectors that omnishoppers believe are setting the standard, according to our self-funded research
Outline some of the research techniques you can use to untangle the web that is the omnishopper journey
Editor’s note: Amanda Ciccatelli is a content marketing & social media strategist at Informa, New York. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “Insights as a Vehicle for Influence: Digital Reinventing Retail.”
Amanda recently sat down with Paul Donagher, managing director of the Consumer & Retail division at Market Strategies International, to discuss how omnichannel has impacted retail, how shoppers are shaping the future of retail and why it’s important to link digital and physical shopper marketing.
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” –Soren Kierkegaard (Danish, 1813-1855), the first existentialist philosopher
Even after decades of study (and oodles of actual studies), the “Customer Experience” remains a top focus for large and small companies alike. Work from McKinsey about the consumer decision journey (references below) is just one of many recent examples. Millions of dollars and labor hours, and prodigious efforts, are spent on the subject.
From time to time, clients ask—usually around the annual budget-setting cycle—“What should our priorities be in evaluating customers’ experiences? What’s the first, most important thing we need to understand?” My answer often echoes Kierkegaard’s assertion above: To best understand and prioritize, begin at the end. Although this list doesn’t include every possible flavor of CEM study, here’s my ranking and rationale for some major types: