Ben Rund, senior director of product marketing at Informatica, looking at the five trends that will shape personalisation and help smart retailers create an enhanced customer experience in 2015
1. Virtual reality is set to take the customer experience to the next level with leading companies, including Facebook, recently making acquisitions to bolster their offerings in this area. As the momentum behind this technology continues to grow, virtual reality products for consumers will break into the mainstream. This will open up new, interactive ways of crafting the customer experience. For example, soon consumers will be able to test drive a car from the comfort of their home or replay a sports event in full 360 degree motion on their TV.
2. Store fulfilment and in-store experience will become a big investment area, and retailers will look to omni-channel solutions that provide transparency when it comes to inventory. This is all in aid of helping to manage customer expectations. For example, the use of digital devices and information panels will gain much more attention and retailers will increasingly use the store as a warehouse or deliver from the nearest store.
3. Mobile conversions need to be improved. Consumers are using mobile devices to search but most online shopping still happens on PCs. With sales from consumers shopping on mobile devices continuing to grow, brands need to concentrate on delivering better and more relevant information that pushes customers towards that vital point of sale on tablets and smartphones.
4. Issue of the informed purchase journey: a Google study (*Google ZMOT Handbook) shows that, on average, across all categories, shoppers use 10.4 sources of information to make a decision. This includes watching TV ads, looking up manufacturer websites, talking to family and friends, reading reviews, and checking Amazon. Customers are increasingly visiting websites across multiple devices, and the final location where they make a purchase can be very different from the initial point of interaction. Retailers need to connect the dots between the real-time data available to understand when consumers have enough information to convince them to buy.
5. Three levels of trust
Customer-centric organisations looking to build trust with customers are going to need to use a combination of data management and big data analytics. This will greatly improve their ability to acquire, retain and grow their share of the customer’s wallet with more personalised marketing designed to build three levels of trust:
- Social trust: by aggregating relevant social data, brands can understand which people are recommending products, how influential they are and what information is being shared. Using these sources they can target trusted people with personalised marketing as part of social media strategies.
- Product trust: retailers are moving into the age of commerce relevance where personalised offers and precision stock management make all the difference. For better customer service, companies need quicker insights when it comes to making decisions on their assortment, prices and content.
- Brand trust: the brand experience is so important. Brands and retailers need to be more efficient when creating market ready products, with videos and content that engage customers by capturing emotions.