The Personalization Divide: Retailer Offerings vs. Consumer Expectations
The integration of innovative technology in the retail industry lends itself to the development of shopping experiences that are less one-size-fits-all and more tailored. Personalization can make the consumer feel more confident and connected to the apparel and footwear they purchase and in turn, increase customer loyalty and retailer sales. However, some retailers today are not properly aligning the true meaning of personalization to their technology advancements. As a result, there is a divide between the “personalized” experiences that retailers think they deliver and consumers’ expectations of the shopping journey.
"Only 28% of the decision makers surveyed confirmed that their organizations are investing in personalization to improve the online purchasing experience."
Source: Mindtree 2015 global study, “Winning in the Age of Personalization”
According to a recent study conducted by Mindtree, only 28 percent of retail companies are making significant investments in personalizing the e-commerce experience; however, these investments are not what consumers are asking for i.e. improved search and compare/aggregate functions. TimeTrade also found that 26 percent of consumers believe retailers are missing the mark on delivering consistent personalized experiences across channels. This is despite the fact that a majority of retailers believe they are delivering on these experiences at their peak performance. The results show a clear disconnect between expectations and reality, which makes us ask: Do retailers know who their consumers are and what they want in terms of personalization?
Discovering one’s “true” consumer is not a matter of understanding shopper characteristics or lifestyle indicators. Instead, it’s about identifying which consumers already have an affinity for the brand based on their behavior and personal preferences. This includes where the consumer shops, whether it be online or via mobile, and what their tastes are in terms of style, fit and flatter. For many retailers, rich, connected data may be the solution to stitching up the personalization gap. Aggregating, normalizing and mapping a consumer’s preferences to things like product specs and style attributes – in combination with purchase history and a detailed consumer profile – provides retailers with a 360 degree view of each “true” consumer. From the fit of one dress size to the style of a certain shoe brand, retailers can then create the personalized experiences consumers have been craving.
True Fit’s CEO Bill Adler recently spoke about this new era of personalization and the successes of using technology like True Fit’s Genome™ at the recent Shoptalk and FN Summit: The Futurists events. By using data in meaningful ways, retailers can deliver powerful one-to-one personalization, rich shopper experiences and revolutionary results.