Personalisation key to fashion success. With increasing competition for online spend, brands are seeing personalisation as more crucial than ever. The fashion industry, with its many sizes, collections, and styles, is a lot more complicated and overwhelming to consumers than most other retail categories. With all these complexities of the industry, it is no surprise that conventional approaches to personalisation are falling short.
The Importance of Personalisation
Customers’ expectations of digital shopping are at an all-time high. Latest statistics prove there’s more e-commerce traffic than ever before and there’s also a huge amount of choice. So by implementing a personalisation strategy, you’re removing the complexity of decision-making for the customer and the complexity of manually guessing and updating, making it a two-fold benefit.
Retailers like ASOS do it really well and are market leaders in it. But a lot of other retailers, including some big names, are struggling with the basics.
Successful e-commerce brands must understand that providing a seamless experience is key and that means empowering the customer and helping them navigate their online shopping journey. A seamless user experience is essential to e-commerce success in a post-pandemic world, but it’s the shopper journey that determines how successful the purchase experience will be.
Data, AI, Marketing Automation and Personalisation
An essential component of any successful marketing campaign is data, and most e-commerce platforms have a wealth of data at their disposal. Without proper oversight, this can be a ticking time bomb for brands.
Out of all those retailers who have implemented a personalisation strategy, almost half (44%) are already recommending products based on a customer profile, and over a third (36%) are personalising the product search functionality on their websites. This is helping to enhance the experience, not just for mainstream consumers, but also more diverse customer groups with different needs and shopping behaviours.
Meanwhile, data-driven dynamic content is being used by 37% of retailers to actively target and influence browsers as they shop online.
A key part of this is the use of AI (35%) to help identify preferences and trends, whilst marketing automation flows (31%) turn insight into effective communications and campaigns.
It has been identified that almost a third (34%) of retailers are switching on to the fact that using tech to obtain a single view of the customer is central to delivering personal experiences seamlessly across channels.
Retailers must ensure that consumers have communication, content and experiences they want as part of their journey through the purchase funnel, ensuring the right information is being provided at the right time. Brands also need to make sure that they are capturing this data in a standardised way across channels and locations.
We would offer that the definition of personalisation is primary and essential to candid appreciation of the task at hand. Personalisation is treating each consumer as an individual, with their own unique and finite needs, wants, desires and tastes. Personalisation is crucially not segmentation, lumping people into a bunch of others simply because it suits your marketing software achieves as much as 20x less turnover compares to those doing it right, according to the likes of McKinsey and Statista. If you think it does, then you need a serious word with yourself, and go back to school getting a better appreciation from the millions of articles on line which prove it isn’t.
How to apply personalisation in e-commerce?
E-commerce marketers need to identify current challenges and start with intelligence. Your e-commerce platform and plugins should be able to tap into the rich streams of data at your fingertips. It is imperative to change the mindset from using your data to “segment and manage your consumers”, into use your data to individualise and personalise each and every offering made to each consumer, treating each person as a unique individual. Data should be used to your advantage, to help you identify your top shoppers, reach them with relevant offers and personalise experiences. The strategy you choose to implement will have an impact on where shoppers see you, so make sure you’re engaging with your audiences in the best way possible.
Offering customers a more personalised online experience should be a key objective for brands, not just because more consumers are now shopping online.
Un-intrusive and natural-feeling product recommendations, serving similarities within product pages and personalised bespoke merchandising are key to retaining, gaining and upselling to the new age consumer. The fastest growing software, having the greatest effect on the fashion industry is predictive personalisation (PPS). But if you say the word “personalisation” to your email service provider (ESP) then within a few sentences you will see the word segmentation. This is because they don’t have the technology to compete, and would wish to gaslight you.
But there are solutions, purely using predictive personalisation analytics such as SwiftERM, a Microsoft Partner company, which delivers permanently unique and personal product selections for each individual consumer, based on that individual’s buying history and impressions, and exclude what anyone else does. It is one thing to personalise a web page for their viewing pleasure, but too late if the consumer has already been approached and more critically bought the product, that it was known they were in the market for, elsewhere because someone else go to them first.
One of the lesser appreciate benefits of PPS software is that it is 100% automatic, offering a previously unheard of degree of margin, as it eliminates all the overheads associated with this requirement for this element of the marketing spectrum. The huge margin enjoyed in the fashion industry is no longer diluted but a myriad of mouths to feed. It commonly works both as a complement or replacement to promotional and marketing software.
It’s clear that technology is critical in enabling personalised experiences, especially collecting the correct data on your customers and using it at the crucial moment of the shopper journey. But the key thing to remember about personalisation is to be as customer-focused as possible.
Retailers should strive to get more value out of their investment by ensuring customer-facing options are more closely aligned to audiences, their behaviours and needs. eCommerce platforms that offer 360-degree marketing can help plug gaps and ensure AI, marketing automation and personalisation work in harmony.
As personalisation is becoming more important every day, brands need to pay attention if they want to be successful. If your customer experiences have been uninspired and underwhelming, it’s time to get personal.