It’s one of today’s classic retail conundrums: online merchants lead the way on data collection and analytics, leading to better personalization, while brick-and-mortar stores have the market cornered on the experience of shopping. The elusive goal for both is to meet somewhere in the middle, and both face unique challenges in doing so.

Adweek calls it the “Nordstrom Vs. Amazon Problem,” and there are great rewards to be had for the retailer who figures out the Goldilocks zone between online personal recommendations and in-person high-touch experience.

Essential Metrics and KPIs for Retailers

Personalization is the Name of the Game

For their part, brick-and-mortar stores are jumping into personalization efforts with both feet. Brendan Witcher, principal analyst at Forrester Research tells Adweek that more than 70 percent of retailers are actively working on personalizing the store experience, which he says will enhance their relationship with shoppers while also boosting sales.

Today’s shopper has been conditioned by online shopping to expect a higher degree of personalization than ever before. The custom-tailored product recommendations offered up by online merchants has proven difficult to match in brick-and-mortars, and harnessing the power of data may hold the key. Capturing data at multiple touch-points throughout the customer journey is a start, but it’s in intelligently analyzing that data and mining it for actionable insights that the true power of data is most useful.

Online Merchants Don’t Get it Either

Adweek reports on Segment’s 2017 State of Personalization Report, which found retailers both online and off struggle with meeting customer expectations around personalization. It showed more than half of department store shoppers expected a personalized experience, but fewer than 20% receive it. Online, better than 75% of shoppers expect that level of personalization, but only 23% of e-commerce retailers actually deliver.

Glossier is one retailer attempting to close that gap, soon debuting a POS system at its SoHo showroom that brings together customers’ data, gathered both online and off. According to Adweek, the system will allow associates to see your entire shopping history, how frequently you shop, and the kinds of products you gravitate towards to facilitate more personalized interactions with associates on the floor, as well as more relevant recommendations.

A key theme in retail over the last decade has been around reinventing existing service models, and it’s an interesting time to be watching the industry as the universes of online and offline shopping are merging more than ever before in an effort to unlock truly personalized shopping experiences and facilitating the expectations and demands of today’s customer.

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