Op-Ed: Retail Personalization Is More Elusive Than You Think

Op-Ed: Retail Personalization Is More Elusive Than You Think

Shana Pilewski of Dynamic Yield examines the missing link between strategic priority and successful execution of personalization in retail

  • 20 february 2018

According to research done on the current state of personalization maturity, 49% of companies have already identified personalization as a top priority investment. But today, only 23% are truly capable of personalizing experiences for each channel. That means brands still have a lot of room for growth when it comes to delivering on that true one-to-one experience consumers have come to expect.

Earlier this quarter, Dynamic Yield released its initial findings from the first ever personalization maturity assessment test of 700 marketers and executives from cross-functional roles in various industries in Americas, EMEA, and APAC to better understand the degree to which companies feel as though they are personalizing experiences for customers.

Measured against eight signals such as current technology stack, structure and internal commitment to personalization, the average organization ranked itself as Advanced on the scale of Absent, Basic, Advanced and Pioneer.

Dynamic Yield’s personalization maturity assessment results. Image: Dynamic Yield

Yet despite this, and the fact that 92% of those surveyed reported a firm belief in the value of personalization, many are still only deploying basic on-site personalization with limited segmentation.

So, what gives?

For starters, successful personalization, the kind that scales and empowers cohesive individualized experiences across channels, requires far more than an understanding of its importance. Even beyond the tool itself, personalization takes buy-in from across the organization, adequate resources dedicated to infinitely focusing on customer experience, and adopting a culture of experimentation across marketing, merchandising and product teams. 

Personalization is no longer just a practice or tactic implemented by marketers to customize email subject lines or “First Name” fields. Now a full blown discipline, proper personalization programs are set to to push a revenue shift of some $800 billion to a mere 15% of companies that get it right. And for those who haven’t, poor personalization has already cost $2.5 trillion in lost retail and brand sales globally.

Companies that are serious about prioritizing personalization as the key to delivering superior customer experiences must first choose the right champion to lead and drive the overall direction and strategy derived from the organization’s size, structure and current maturity level. Stakeholders from the executive digital management are the best ones to step into these shoes.

Brands can also turn to dedicated optimization agencies to manage personalization deployment. Many of these companies were born with digital in their DNA and have grown significantly with the proliferation of marketing technology.

While scores of vendors claim they are able to help marketers reach users at every touchpoint with an experience that feels like it was crafted just for them, 55% of marketers say that technology is only “marginally” improving marketing performance at their company.

To solve for this struggle, companies must properly vet their personalization vendors to ensure a single view of the customer can be achieved and used to create high-impact experiences across channels. That means data should be able to flow freely from tool to tool without getting stuck in silos so that it can be activated in real-time to produce the most relevant experiences and yield the best results.

So, whether you’re a marketer considering personalization for the first time—or moving beyond simple customization techniques and into implementing sophisticated strategies, the time to truly make this a part of your brand’s mission is now.

Your customers, and your bottom line, will thank you.

Shana Pilewski is a Senior Content Marketer at Dynamic Yield, a global leader in omnichannel personalization. There, her experience and passion for content strategy, development and creation allow her to help marketers level up their own skills.

Lead Image: Chester Wade | Unsplash

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