fashion store interior with garments hanging on racks

The importance of contextual personalization in retail

This article was based on the interview with Sarah Jarvis from Eagle Eye Solutions by Greg Kihlström, MarTech keynote speaker for The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlström podcast. Listen to the original episode here:

Contextual personalization refers to the ability of retailers to market to individuals based on the context that they are in. This concept is becoming increasingly important as customers are seeking more personalized experiences in their shopping journeys.

In the podcast, Sarah Jarvis from Eagle Eye mentions that retailers have been talking about personalization for years, but it has only recently started to become a reality. However, there is still a gap in the ability to market to individuals based on their current context.

The speaker introduces the three Cs of contextual personalization: understanding customers, having relevant content, and considering the context. Understanding customers involves knowing who they are and what they want. This requires collecting and analyzing customer data to gain insights into their preferences and behaviors. Having relevant content refers to the messages, communications, offers, and rewards that retailers provide to customers. This content should be tailored to meet their individual needs and interests.

The third C, context, is where retailers face challenges. Contextual personalization requires retailers to consider the customer’s current location and the world around them. This means understanding the timing and relevance of marketing messages. The speaker highlights that even the best retailers are still sending out mass communications at specific times, rather than personalized messages in real time. This is an area where physical store operators need to improve and catch up with pure play e-commerce providers.

The podcast also discusses the importance of unifying the customer experience across all channels. Many retailers have successfully established their online presence as a significant channel for consumer interaction and sales. However, they often fail to create a unified experience that extends beyond a single channel. Customers are device agnostic and expect a consistent experience regardless of how they choose to shop. Retailers need to consolidate customer data across all touchpoints and channels to better understand and meet customer desires. This data can be used to drive desired behaviors and tailor the shopping experience to individual preferences.

Contextual personalization is crucial for physical retailers to meet the evolving expectations of today’s consumers. By understanding customers, providing relevant content, and considering the context, retailers can create a seamless and personalized shopping experience. This requires consolidating customer data and using technology to present a unified front to customers. While there are challenges in implementing contextual personalization, businesses are actively working to overcome them in the face of increasing competition from pure play e-commerce players.

House of the Customer by Greg Kihlström is now available.
House of the Customer by Greg Kihlström