Personalization: How to gain deeper insights and boost sales
No one predicted the COVID-19 pandemic. With stay-at-home mandates and social distancing, people are not going to retail stores as often. Instead, they are buying online, and as a result, consumers are putting a great deal more thought and deliberation into their purchase decisions. Typically, whether consumers are venturing out to a retail store or buying online, they are buying more items per visit. In many ways, this shift away from brick-and-mortar retail shopping is a trend we’ve seen for a while—long before the pandemic—as customers have migrated to online shopping.
With shopping trends continuing to shift in the wake of the pandemic and beyond, one thing is certain: bland, generic messaging no longer resonates with consumers. Personalization is essential for retail brands to break down barriers along the customer journey, influence brand awareness and loyalty, and generate sales. Brands must offer customers a personalized, unified experience across all channels, at all stages of the customer journey.
Then and now
Prior to social media and the internet, brands communicated with their audiences in ways that were largely static and passive. They would shout sales pitches at consumers via commercials and print ads. Although brands still use these traditional marketing tactics, now successful retailers forge personal connections, remember customers, track product purchases and wish lists, predict what customers think or want, and adjust their approach based on all of this data.
The path to personalization
Just like old-school marketing methods are no longer enough to connect with consumers, retailers can’t just focus on basic demographics. Now, retailers need personalized customer commerce capabilities like Amazon Personalize to provide a deep level of connection with an experience that’s unique to each customer, based on information provided to the business. Brand retailers need to transform their entire ecosystem into a seamless journey, adjusting content to curate meaningful customer experiences based on everything from location to previous purchases to preferences to the time of day.
Amazon.com: The personalization pioneer
Amazon.com pioneered personalization starting in 1998 when the store introduced an array of features to better serve book buyers, including instant recommendations from its large catalog. Since then, Amazon has leveraged decades of research in personalization to enhance the customer experience across Amazon.com, Prime Video, Amazon Music, Kindle, and Alexa through recommended item and content widgets. AWS customers can take advantage of these decades of experience to enable developers to build applications with machine learning techniques used by Amazon.com for real-time personalized recommendations.
We have seen recent trends focusing on self-care and wellness, resulting in consumers seeking brands that convey empathy and understanding. We continue to see evidence that social responsibility and authenticity are critical cornerstones in shaping effective branding—think Toms Shoes and Bombas. In the wake of the pandemic, these characteristics are even more important as consumers think carefully about where to spend their money. Amazon Personalize can help tailor experiences and forge deeper connections with customers.
Mecca Cosmetics, one of the first Australian companies to deploy Amazon Personalize, leverages the Personalize machine learning algorithms to drive curated email content to more than two million customers. Lauren Shepard, Head of CRM and Loyalty at Mecca, and her team worked closely with AWS to restructure and mine customer data to create predictive models to recommend products that are relevant to customers based on their life stage, customer journey, and purchase history. According to Shepard, “By including personalized recommendations in those emails, it drove up all of the engagement measures for the email, but most importantly, it actually increased the average order value by more than 50 percent.”
The new frontier
As technology progresses from business rules to automated, intelligent machine learning models, we are entering the next frontier of curated product content messaging. With Amazon Personalize, you can dynamically react to consumer behavior in real time to create personalized experiences along the customer journey to boost sales. Out of necessity because of the pandemic, the world is pivoting very quickly to new ways of working, shopping, and living. Bold, decisive thinking in retail is bringing fresh opportunities for growth, and retail leaders are looking for innovative solutions to support new business models. AWS, an expert partner with deep retail industry expertise and experience, is here to help you navigate the new frontier. Contact your AWS account team today to get started.