#NEXT2022: Hyper-personalisation will drive brand prosperity
by Leanne Goott. Retail success in any future ‘normal’ will depend on how deeply hyper-personalisation is entrenched in sales and marketing strategies.
by Leanne Goott. For retailers to prosper in the coming years, they’ll need to quickly adapt to shifting consumer preferences and buying behaviours as accelerated by the pandemic. One fundamental way retailers can optimise brand performance and buy-in, is by advancing hyper-personalisation by utilising consumer data to drive customised experiences.
The customer has spoken
Consumers have always expected a personal connection with the brands they interact with. COVID-19 took this expectation to a completely different level and will continue doing so as companies and consumers navigate their passage toward a post-pandemic existence. Over the past two years, the most decisive shift in retail has been from ‘relationships matter’ to ‘relationships are everything’.
Continuously evolving consumer expectations sit at the heart of this shift to data-driven, customer-centricity. Today’s consumer expects brands to not only know their demographic markers, but to have a deeper understanding of their needs and wants; as well as the journey they’re willing to take in satisfying them.
According to a report by SmarterHQ, 72% of consumers only engage with marketing messages tailored to their interests. In comparison, 80% of frequent shoppers say they only shop with brands that personalise their experience. A further 90% said they’re willing to share their behavioural data if additional benefits are provided to make their shopping experience more cost-effective and convenient. Thanks to digitalisation’s ascendancy, brands now have the potential to interact with consumers in ways that are more unique and personal than ever before. Most consumers love this closer connectedness, and through their brand interactions, they’ll keep setting the tone for brands to achieve an even greater level of personalisation.
Retail success in any future ‘normal’ will depend on how deeply hyper-personalisation is entrenched in sales and marketing strategies. Gone are the days of simply knowing your customer on a surface level or knowing the specific cohort they belong to. With the pandemic’s acceleration of new approaches to consumer engagement, various technologies, and particularly the use of data analytics, are now enabling brands to create tailored and targeted experiences that strengthen existing relationships and quickly build new ones.
Implementing hyper-personalisation strategies will increase customer satisfaction and help cement brand loyalty, thereby setting the stage for a greater willingness to spend without always exploring other brand offerings. Hyper-personalisation is all about building relationships and nurturing them in a manner that makes a customer feel truly at home with a particular brand. But this can only happen if adequate investment in digital strategies and systems are made – the kind that will enable companies to maintain meaningful dialogue throughout their customers’ journeys.
Hyper-personalisation in action
What sets hyper-personalisation apart from conventional personalisation approaches is its use of the most up to date data to engage consumers in a real-time interaction that offers a unique experience each and every time. Another big plus of AI-driven personalisation is that customers don’t need to relinquish their personal information to provide them with personalised content.
Netflix, for example, is recognised as one of the first companies to offer a high level of personalisation in the streaming market through data analytics. Netflix’s recommendation engine has been critical to customer experience, with as much as 80% of users following through on a recommendation while only 20% search for content. Starting from the Netflix homepage, viewers are immediately engaged in a highly contextualised and individual experience that draws from their viewing history and habits. An algorithm is then used to make viewer predictions, combining behavioural attributes with predictive learning to send each of its 214 million viewers uniquely tailored recommendations.
Currently, few other streaming services come close to generating the annual revenue that Netflix does. With an astonishing 93% trial-to-paid conversion rate, the company is, of course, attributing much of its success to its hyper-personalisation endeavours.
Age-old truth optimised through technology
Hyper-personalisation is certainly not something new in retail. The quest to know your customer on a more intimate and individual level has always existed. The only difference is that today we have the technology that enables us to achieve this on a mass scale. The current progress made in affective computing (emotion AI) is even more encouraging, where machines detect, interpret, and respond to human emotion under various conditions. In years to come, this radical development in AI will give further traction to hyper-personalisation, bringing it to a stage where there simply won’t be any excuse for not knowing your customers and their brand expectations.
Consumers have spoken, and their message is clear: we want you to know us better first, and before hitting us with various commerce strategies or your brand’s omnichannel fluency and the convenience that it offers. We crave to be known and respected as individuals – get that right, and then we’ll consider having a relationship with your brand.
One fundamental way retailers can optimise brand performance and buy-in, is by advancing hyper-personalisation by utilising consumer data to drive customised experiences.
Main image credit: MIA.
Leanne Goott is marketing manager of Mobile in Africa (MIA). Her more than 12 years of experience includes digital marketing strategy and execution, integrated marketing, team and relationship management, and event management. She believes the role of marketing in an age of greater connectivity and intensifying customer expectations, has never been more important.
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