Client data and personalization are the name of the game

Shouldn’t you be making personalized recommendations to your clients?

co-workers using a laptop, having a discussion and gesturing

Last year, data infrastructure firm Segment released a report indicating that, more and more, customers expect a personalized customer experience when they shop with retailers.

The report, which was derived from a survey of more than 1000 consumers, found that 71 percent of consumers express some level of frustration when their experience is impersonal. And 44 percent of consumers say that they are more likely to become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience.

But time is limited for retailers to make an impression. According to the survey, 54 percent of consumers expect to receive a personalized discount within 24 hours of identifying themselves to a brand by signing up for an account with the brand or providing their email address. Thirty-two percent expect a discount to be issued after just one hour.

And when customers do receive a personalized experience, it has a direct correlation to sales. Nearly half of shoppers surveyed said that after receiving a personalized recommendation from a brand, they have purchased a product they did not intend to buy initially. And 40 percent of those surveyed said they have purchased something more expensive than they originally planned because their experience was personalized.

In addition to these findings showing the power of personalization, Segment found areas where retailers can improve. According to their report, 41 percent of consumers say that they expect representatives in a brand’s physical store to know what they have purchased online, yet only 19 percent have experienced this.

In an effort to address consumer desires, companies are using client data in innovative ways to provide personalized customer experiences. Today, sales marketing isn’t just about customized email campaigns tailored toward different niches, it’s about creating a completely unique experience for customers.

And this marketing strategy of targeting each individual customer differently is becoming increasingly popular beyond the retail sector, infiltrating numerous industries.  Across the board, according to business firm Frost & Sullivan, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.

Here are three innovate ways client data is being used to make customer experiences more personal.

Giving customers what they want

Traditional marketing efforts can be hit or miss. Consumers don’t want to receive notifications for a bathing suit sale after they’ve just returned from vacation and they don’t want coupon offers for happy hour when they tend to go out for dinner and drinks on the weekend.

Coffee giant Starbucks has long been a leader thanks to its robust rewards program. But a newer program offered through the program’s mobile application is using customer data to make relevant recommendations to customers.

On the mobile app, members receive offers for ways to earn extra star points that can be exchanged for free food or beverage items. These offers include completing tasks like buying various items from Starbuck’s menu. But Starbuck’s doesn’t bombard customers with offers telling them to buy items they don't typically purchase. It takes into account those things a customer purchases on a regular basis and rewards them for doing more of the same. Every once in a while Starbucks might throw a new item into the challenge and this works to market new products to their customers while still rewarding them for doing things they already do.

Improved content recommendations

For nearly as long as there have been video-streaming services, these platforms have been offering users personalized viewing recommendations. But according to the results of a survey from UserTesting released in May, only 29 percent of participants indicated that they watch content recommended to them.

A new content streaming company, TaTaTu, is trying to improve the recommendations customers receive by utilizing their rewards program and client data to make more relevant and personalized recommendations. The company is using peer-to-peer recommendations along with a recommendation engine powered by customer data to make sure customers see more of what they like and less filler.

"The age, location and gender approach is not for us; instead we will analyze who watches what content and when, and based on the amount of information we have, develop that into many vertical segments,” says TaTaTu CEO and Hollywood producer Andrea Iervolino. “This will allow us to offer accurate recommendations regarding content."

Less decision-making stress

Perhaps the best personalized recommendations are those that show customers things they didn’t even know they wanted. With so many options at their fingertips, consumers can feel overwhelmed when having to make a choice, but new innovations utilizing artificial intelligence and customer data can help make choices for consumers.

Behr, the paint supply brand, is taking the stress out of home improvement by using data derived from real human behavior and individual consumer inputs to help their customers make smarter decisions. Using a platform on Behr’s website, consumers are asked to answer a few questions in order to get a sense of their goal and vision for the project. The Color Discovery program then makes personalized recommendations based on that information.

And this personalization is showing results. The company reports that people who use this tool are much more likely to take a sample, than the average site visitor.

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