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In episode 44 of the Customers Who Click podcast, I had a fantastic chat with Sarah Curran about personalisation and how brands can implement it into a website.
I love great personalisation in action. And I’m certainly not the only one as personalised brand experiences are very quickly becoming an expectation - an astonishing 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations relevant to them (Accenture).
However, there’s a fine line between great personalisation strategy and coming across as creepy, and it sure isn’t as simple as getting your customer’s name right in an email. You need to be using far more detail in the data and personalising as much of the customer experience as possible on a 1 to 1 basis.
If you don’t yet have the data necessary for personalising customer interactions, start simple and interview your customers; it will give you an idea of what level of personalisation your customers want. Send out a survey asking what their top use cases are and what styles they prefer, get on the phone with a bunch of people to see how they perceive your brand.
Sarah is the managing director of TrueFit EMEA, a data-driven personalisation platform for footwear and apparel retailers that uses rich connected data and machine learning to enable personal experiences. Sarah has been involved in the fashion retail industry since 2003, starting with physical stores and transitioning into the ecommerce space since. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or head over to truefit.com.
03:36 - 19:44 - Sarah Talks Us Through a Great Personalisation Strategy - It’s time to put a stop to basic segmentation and poor product recommendations where customers are shown all kind of random shirts because that’s what they purchased previously. Brands must pay attention to details - what style or colour the shirt was and suggest products that are similar in the style, not just the type of clothing based on previous orders.
20:20 - 25:03 - Myths and Misconceptions about Personalisation - Thinking that data is scary. Privacy concerns are a real thing that should be treated responsibly, but the thing to remember is that consumers are happy to share their personal information with brands, given the brand is transparent about it and offers something valuable in exchange. Customers are not fed up with marketing communications - they’re fed up with messaging that is completely irrelevant to what they’re trying to achieve.
28:50 - 42:22 - Key Things For Brands To Consider - The thing about personalising brand experiences on this level is that it allows you to increase conversions while reducing the number of returns and tidying up the supply chain. It’s common knowledge that shopping online can be a bit of a guesswork, especially when it comes to choosing the right size or style.
With personalisation platforms like TrueFit, customers are recommended the ideal fit based on their previous purchases (and different retailers!), so instead of ordering 3 of the same tops in different sizes only to return 2 or all 3 once they had a chance to try them on, they receive suggestions that gives them the confidence to order just one and most probably, keep it.
42:42 - 47:39 - Upcoming Trends with Personalisation - 20 years ago, ecommerce stores were set to disrupt the retail industry. Today, it’s the consumers that are way ahead of most retailers, and so it’s time for brands to step up their personalisation tactics from 10 years ago and really invest in a strategy that truly enhances the shopping experience.
47:06 - 51:00 - Sarah’s Marketing Pet Peeves - Retargeting, or as Sarah calls it, cyberstalking. We touched on this in the last week’s episode with Matt Gillies; retargeting in itself isn’t bad but sloppy retargeting that doesn’t take all data points into consideration is annoying and intrusive.
51:13 - 54:01 - Sarah’s Underrated Aspect of Marketing - Making customers feel a part of the brand community. Customers today want to control how they engage with brands but, more importantly, want to be a part of the experience. Many fashion retailers neglect that part of marketing, focusing on chasing data points or the latest marketing trends.
If you’d like to hear more from Sarah, you can connect with her on LinkedIn or email her at email@example.com.