Personalization is the latest buzzword in brick-and-mortar retail. Over the years, ecommerce has taught us that communicating with customers in a timely and relevant manner can help retailers enhance customer loyalty and engagement. In fact, according to a recent survey by Accenture, nearly 60% of U.S consumers agreed that they want a more personalized shopping experience with real-time promotions and offers. Thus, it has now become increasingly critical for retailers and brands be able to meet today’s hyper-connected consumers on their terms, across all channels of interaction, by serving their ever changing needs, preferences and in-store behaviour.
In this blog we will discuss in detail on the best practices around implementing an in-store personalization strategy. But before we get into that, let’s first have a look at the three ways in which in-store personalization can help retailers drive sales :
Boosting sales via in-store personalization
1. Activating purchases
Say, Laura purchased a lemon yellow shirt at your retail store outlet located in New York. Now, a week later, you can send out an offer (via email and through a mobile app push notification) on a brown trouser that’ll go along with the shirt. The offer can be redeemed on your online store or a physical outlet. You can set the offer up such that the email is automatically sent out at a specified time or a mobile notification is triggered when she passes by your brick-and-mortar store. Sending such timely messages raises your chance of getting your customer to visit your store, and eventually buy them.
2. Pushing shoppers forward in the buying path
Say the same customer, Laura, actually went on to browse handbags online after she received the email offer. As soon she walks into your physical retail store, you can send a notification through her mobile app, asking if she wishes to touch and feel the handbags that she browsed online. If yes, the app can trigger a notification to the nearest sales representative about a customer interested in handbags.
3. Enhancing in-store customer experience
Retailers can install beacons in-store to optimally deploy sales associates. Beacons can read loyalty card and relay customer information, such as the items in wishlist, preferences based on Pinterest pins, whether she usually buys items on sale etc., to associates on the floor. Relaying such important information about your customer to the sales associates will help them get a better idea on how they should approach the customer rather than starting off with generic questions . For example, if the customer is someone who usually tends to beeline to the ‘on discount’ rack, the sales associate could inform her of items that recently went on sale.
Now that we have talked about how in-store personalization boosts sales, let’s now have a look at the best practices for implementing in-store personalization in your store.
Best practices for in-store personalization
Here’s a structured approach that consists of 6 steps, starting from project preparation and ending with a guidance on continuous improvement. Let’s have a closer look.
1. Start measuring in-store behaviour
As a first step in this direction, retailers need to collect data on store visits and interactions such as number of visits made by a customer in a month, departments that are frequented etc., through a beacon-enabled retail app. Further, you can also integrate the in-store intelligence platform with beacons and other sources of information such as a CRM, POS, customer loyalty programmes, and mobile app analytics to create very rich customer data.
2. Analyse and understand in-store patterns
Next, retailers need to turn this data into actionable information by identifying in-store patterns that can help promote sales. For example, you can use beacons to create storewide heat maps to help you identify the parts of the store that are the most frequented. This enables you to drive more sales by cross-selling alongside popular products. For example, say Michael Kors skirts at a store is quite popular among customers. You can now arrange a display that pairs a yellow Michael Kors skirt with a white blouse and a cream Louis Vuitton bag, next to the skirts in your efforts to cross sell the products.
3. Test the first-use cases (proof-of-concept)
It is always best to start off with a simple use-case. For example, you could start off with a welcome message that addresses the customer by his or her name and lists out all the offers across the store. Sending out a welcome message that is triggered by the beacon at the entrance of the store is a great way of ensuring that your customer doesn’t miss out on promotions that could have been of interest to him/her. This way, your customer can then select offers he/she likes, and visit those departments. But before you kickstart your first personalization campaign, we’d recommend you to check out our earlier blog on 3 ways retailers can earn consumer trust when it comes to beacon-enabled interactions.
Now, once you measure and analyze outcomes of this use-case you can go ahead and try a little more complex use-case such as triggering push notifications based on customer loyalty points or even decide on a broader implementation. We’ve curated a few campaign ideas and a step by step implementation guide to get you started. You can check them out here.
4. Create relevant and engaging content
When it comes to creating personalized content, it is highly critical that retailers understand the context of their customer and tailor messages accordingly. To ensure this, you need to gather information from several touch points, both offline and online and match the content to the overall buying cycle. And no technology does this better than beacons. For example, say a customer is detected to be standing in the houseware department, right next to the display of Coffee/Espresso Makers. You can use beacons to push product demo videos that will educate the customer on the brewing flexibility of the Coffee Maker, thus helping them make the right decision. Please beware there is a very thin line between personalizing offers and breaching customer privacy.
5. Set rules for automating personalization
Next, you need to create personalized experience by using rich omni-channel customer profiles and by setting rules for making sure that content is delivered to the right customer at the right time. This can be done by opting for a platform that has a rule engine and a campaign management system that can help you manage location-based triggers and create and manage campaigns. Beaconstac is one such proximity marketing platform that allows retailers to create complex rules and define appropriate actions to be triggered by the mobile app. We’d recommend you to check out our blog on how to create a beacon campaign for your retail store using Beaconstac in 15 minutes.
6. Measure, improve and scale in-store personalization
Next, you need to measure and optimise the performance of your personalized campaign. You will need multiple data sets from your CRM, POS and ecommerce systems, and metrics such as in-store behaviour, time spent in store, in-app behaviour and online behaviour before and after an in-store interaction. To make it easy for you to measure the effectiveness of personalization, we’d recommend you to opt for a platform like Beaconstac that brings together data from all your tools and presents metrics in a robust, easy-to-use and visual dashboard.
Did you find these best practices helpful? Is there anything that I missed? Let me know in the comments below.
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!