2019 will bring us more options than ever. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe not. It all depends on whether the choices lead to meaningful and true digital personalization. You can see the difference: women will find over 10,000 results when they search […]
2019 will bring us more options than ever. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe not. It all depends on whether the choices lead to meaningful and true digital personalization.
You can see the difference: women will find over 10,000 results when they search Amazon for concealer for face. But which of the thousands is right for them? Consumers aren’t looking for more products in 2019, as they don’t feel the need to have too many. They are instead on the lookout for something they love.
It should not be surprising that digital personalization is being pushed. In-store, digital personalization, and excellent customer service are key to brands’ success as they fight against the rise of e-commerce. Younger shoppers, particularly those in Generation Z, are more inclined to expect personalized offerings. Why can’t the favorite restaurant or brand of athletic shoes offer the same customization as their music streaming app?
73% consumers like retailers that personalize the shopping experience to suit their needs. What about the brands that deliver? If they don’t already have market share, chances are they will be the winners in 2019.
Leading the charge are beauty brands
Fenty Beauty is a great example. Fenty Beauty was founded by Rihanna, a fashion icon and superstar singer. In 2017, Fenty Beauty revolutionized the beauty industry with its brand platform that makes beauty products more personal.
Although the idea may seem simple, it was revolutionary two years ago. Fenty Beauty was the first company to offer more than 20 shades of one product. Of those 20, most would only offer the lightest shade, leaving out the darker skin tones. Rihanna and her team were able to see this clearly. They created an inclusive brand and launched its foundation in 40 shades. They also used Sephora’s Color IQ tool to help customers find the right skin tone. Fenty Beauty’s innovative approach was a huge success. The brand was a game-changer in the industry and has been praised by celebrities as well as makeup lovers. In just 40 days, the company had sold more than $100 million.
The brand’s digital personalization instantly made shoppers feel a close connection. Krystal Robinson, a young lady with albinism who used the brand’s foundation, wrote that she felt that being herself was worth it.
Fenty Beauty has made 40 the new magic number for makeup shades. Many other brands, such as Dior, have also followed their lead. Rihanna’s makeup line is available in-store at Sephora (where customers can find the perfect match…more details in a moment), as well as online.
Sephora offers digitally personalized experiences in-store
Sephora is a long-standing leader in personalization. Sephora is ranked first by customers for personalizing their shopping experience, ahead of Nordstrom and Walmart. These results are logical, considering the brand’s commitment to providing an exceptional customer experience.
Sephora, along with Fenty Beauty, realized that makeup shopping can be difficult. They created Color IQ, a tool that allows customers to customize their shopping experience. The Color IQ device, which was developed in partnership with Pantone Color Institute can match a shopper to a 4-character code. This allows her to quickly identify the products that will suit her needs, making shopping easy and fun.
Johanna Marcus, Sephora innovation Lab’s senior Director, summarized Color IQ’s benefits in a 2016 interview. “By enabling customers to learn, I’m allowing for both higher conversions and deeper brand loyalty… Color IQ answers a huge question: What’s the right color for me?” She said that there are many shades available, so we reduced the number to make it easier.
The data of a shopper is saved to her Beauty Insider profile, Sephora’s free rewards profile. So, whenever she visits Sephora, her data is saved to her Beauty Insider profile, which allows sales associates to instantly understand what products are best for her skin. This makes the whole process easier.
Beauty brands are not the only ones striving for a more personal experience. Care/of is a trendy wellness brand that delivers customized vitamins to customers’ doorsteps. Care/of was founded in 2016 and focuses on personalization at all levels, especially marketing.
The site first prompts users to complete an online quiz to find out what vitamins they need. The quiz also provides information about the benefits of certain pills, such as vitamin B12 which keeps you alert and elderberry which aids with digestion. This adds an extra layer of fun learning.
Their e-commerce experience has been excellent, but Care/of Packaging plays an important role in their company’s success. A box of personalized packets is delivered to your door each month. The colorful box comes with a pop-out tab which allows you to easily dispense one packet per day. The packets are the best part. Each packet includes a personal greeting and instructions for dosage. These customizations make it easy to take your daily vitamins and create loyalty.
Although Care/of is an ecommerce brand, it can easily be customized offline. A company that offers vitamin personalization in-store – where consultants can create customized bottles of daily vitamins – will be a hit with consumers who are passionate about wellness.
Technology and in-store service blended
Personalization does not have to be limited to clever packaging. Best Buy, an electronics retailer, has taken personalization to the next level by introducing its multi-channel. This blends digital solutions with in-store shopping to provide a high-tech, holistic experience. The Best Buy mobile app detects when customers enter a brick-and-mortar location and switches to “local shop” mode. This setting provides insight into the inventory of the store and cross-references the user’s search history to provide a customized interface. The app also has an “On My Way” feature that shoppers can use to notify store associates when they are on their way to pick up orders. These components, according to executives at Best Buy, will provide customers with a better shopping experience.
Bala Subramanian (Best Buy’s Chief Digital Officer) believes technology is crucial to creating a personalized shopping experience. Subramanian says, “We want be obsessed about customer experience and technology working for them.” What services can we offer customers in addition to the products to ensure that they are able to solve their problems and make the technology work for them?
Retail can be personalized with a personal touch
Nordstrom’s in-store tech innovations could win the award, no matter how innovative Best Buy’s app is. The flagship Manhattan men’s shop opened last spring and brings digital personalization to a new level using fashion-forward technology. The suit section allows customers to try on sports jackets or tuxedos virtually: their avatar, dressed in different clothes, is projected onto a large screen.
Nordstrom allows you to reserve a product online for those who prefer to shop in-person. Your items will be ready when you arrive at the store in a dressing area with your name written on it. There’s more to the experience than just getting your Levis jeans personalized digitally.
Nordstrom executives see technology as key to improving customer experience. However, traditional service methods must still be in place. In an interview with Fortune, Ken Worzel, Chief Digital Officer of Nordstrom, stated that technology and other whiz-bang features won’t be enough if we don’t get customer service right.
Younger shoppers are attracted to personalization because they want something different, whether it’s jeans or an experience. Brands that deliver are more loyal than others: 45% of shoppers believe they will stay loyal to shops that provide a personal connection.
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