AWS for Industries

Goodbye, generic shopping: Three ways to personalize the customer retail experience

The expectations of the retail customer have changed permanently. Pandemic-influenced adaptations to shopping, such as buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) and buy-now-pay-later (BNPL), as well as an increasingly competitive digital commerce landscape, have made it more critical than ever to personalize customers’ retail experiences. To stand out and reach customers most likely to be ready to buy, keep the following tips in mind.

1. Know who I am and what I like

Previously, customers expected a retailer to know only who they were and what they’d purchased in the past. Retailers who differentiated themselves were still limited to targeting some basic characteristics about customers, such as their locations and product availability at local stores and warehouses.

Today, customers have higher expectations of the personalized shopping experience. As Tom Summerfield, retail director at Peak, an AWS Retail Competency Partner, advises, “Cut through the noise. Personalization has been around for a bit, but customers are more likely to notice when a retail experience isn’t tailored to them. Now more than ever, you need to drive a personalized 1:1 experience for your customers across product recommendations, email content, and social ads.”

Customers expect a high degree of personalization granularity, where they can see recommendations based on a range of dimensions, including brands, sizes, colors, shipping speeds, and more. Customers expect to see “just for me,” “shop the look,” or “buy it with” sections that complement their selections and consider their preferences.

2. Show me what I would like but don’t know it yet

Customers expect retailers to know why they are shopping and to present options that may solve future challenges for them. Anticipating why a customer is shopping can increase the enjoyment of their experience as well as their loyalty to you.

Perhaps customers are looking for makeup because they are on more video calls. Would they also need a ring light? Or perhaps they are looking for swimsuits for spring break. Would they also need a new suitcase? Maybe they are investing in a new crafting hobby. Would they also need a way to organize their supplies? The shopping carts for each of these digital commerce use cases may seem random at the surface, but they can be extremely logical if you anticipate the why.

3. Anytime, anywhere: It’s my shopping experience

Customers expect a personalized interaction with a retailer beyond ecommerce. They may interact through social media, physical stores, phone, or email. No matter how they interact with the retailer, they expect the interaction to be seamlessly personal. This is called omnichannel personalization.

Aim to personalize every touchpoint of customers’ journeys from marketing emails to web and mobile browsing as well as retail store fitting rooms to social media interactions. Every step should feel uninterrupted and natural to customers as you provide a level of service that will likely lead to more substantial purchases in the short term and loyalty in the long run.

To that end, look for opportunities for omnichannel, customer-centric selling. For example, at click-and-collect locations in store, consider encouraging loyal customers to purchase items at discounts with their reward points. Understanding how customers interact with you, in both physical and digital environments, will help you increase revenue and maintain loyalty.

Differentiate on personalization

In the new retail normal, customers expect the retailer to know who they are, what they want, and how they want to interact. To differentiate your brand through your personalization efforts, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a range of solutions in four key categories: data management, personalization granularity, digital commerce use cases, and omnichannel personalization. Learn more about what you can do to advance your personalization capabilities in “Room to Grow: How to Supercharge Your Retail Personalization Capabilities for Boosted Sales and Deeper Insights.”

Take the next step in your retail personalization journey. Contact your AWS account team today to get started.

Jordi Fernandez Moledo

Jordi Fernandez Moledo

Jordi Fernandez Moledo is a Senior Specialist Solutions Architect for Retail at AWS, where he leverages his experience in the retail industry to help AWS customers innovate and scale. Before joining AWS, Jordi spent more than seven years at adidas helping the company achieve its digital ambitions. He holds degrees in Telecommunications, Electronics, and Computer Science.

David Dorf

David Dorf

David Dorf leads Worldwide Retail Solutions at AWS, where he develops retail-specific solutions and assists retailers with innovation. Before joining AWS, David developed retail technology solutions at Infor Retail, Oracle Retail, 360Commerce, Circuit City, AMF Bowling, and Schlumberger’s retail and banking division. David spent several years working with NRF-ARTS on technology standards, is on the advisory board for the MACH Alliance, and supports the Retail Orphan Initiative charity. He holds degrees from Virginia Tech and Penn State.