Personalisation is big business for retailers these days. But is it a fleeting trend, or will it stick around for good?

A recent article in Retail Week points to Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign as being one of the most poignant and successful examples of retail personalisation to date.

During the summers of 2013 and 2014, Coke drinkers were able to buy a bottle branded with their own name, written in Coke’s iconic font. When planning the campaign, it was aptly-named ‘project connect’ – as personalisation would help to build stronger connections between the brand and its customers.

Fast forward to today and personalisation has moved on from having your name on a bottle. Now, it’s all about being able to create an experience that’s entirely unique to an individual, and retailers are starting to experiment with this idea in store.

Take jeans brand Levi: its customers can customise their denims by choosing from a range of panels, stencils, stitches and studs offered in store, creating an entirely unique look.

But it’s not just about being able to customise items. Personalisation is now what customers expect.

According to Accenture research from 2018, 91% of shoppers are more likely to purchase from retailers that use their name and make personal, tailored recommendations. Meaning retailers need to consider personalisation when they interact with customers, too.

Brands are making efforts to recognise customers as individuals who they need to build a connection with – for instance, by naming the customer in marketing emails – and this trend doesn’t look like it will fade anytime soon.

Transforming the in-store experience

Levi and Coca-Cola’s efforts are proof that personalisation is transforming the shopping experience beyond simply browsing for mass-produced items available in limited variations. Shops are turning into more than just buildings that house products – they’re becoming lifestyle destinations, all down to personalisation.

Big brands have the budgets to invest in such concepts, but other retailers will be considering where they can mirror these trends in their own stores.

Online retail is strides ahead with personalisation. Search engines learn about individual shoppers and offer them product recommendations, deals and marketing communications based on their behaviour and preferences. Essentially, they’re constructing a profile of each shopper, boosting their relevance with every single interaction. Physical retailers could struggle to match this.

Tangible experiences

Eight in ten (81%) Gen Z consumers in an AT Kearney survey said that they prefer to shop in store, with 73% seeing it as an opportunity to discover new products. At the same time, nearly half of 18-to-35-year-olds said the thing they love most about a physical store is being able to touch things and try them out.

It’s clear that young shoppers value the in-store experience – this is where bricks-and-mortar stores have an advantage over online retailers.

E-tailers simply can’t provide the tangible experiences many shoppers crave, for instance, having human interactions with store staff, shopping with friends and family and being able to see and feel products.

Retailers can learn about a shopper’s behaviour and preferences as they shop in store, and harness the chance to deliver a great customer experience through quality visual communications to boost basket value and inspire loyalty.

And rather than investing heavily in making in-store products customisable, physical retailers can build deeper connections with each shopper by sending them personalised recommendations and offers based on their individual preferences, further driving loyalty and encouraging repeat purchases.

Personalisation has essentially provided a platform for retailers to build deeper relationships with shoppers, who have come to expect to be communicated with based on their individual needs and still value physical experiences.

If you need some help designing and delivering exceptional visual communications to skyrocket your customer experience, get in touch with the Delta Group today.