Last week, a few members of the YellowHammer team attended ShopTalk, the world’s largest retail and e-commerce conference. The goal was to learn the latest trends in consumer behaviors, preferences, and expectations. ShopTalk offered a lot of insightful looks into our industry, but if there is one thing to glean from ShopTalk it is personalization. Personalization is key for this changing world of brands; from the competitive e-commerce landscape to the next step in digitally native brands. Personalization allows the consumer to feel that their product and experience is unique.
Customization is Key for Emerging Niche Brands
A new wave of brands are sweeping e-commerce harnessing the power of personalization. Some brands like Care/of and Ollie have built their business model on individual’s uniqueness by tailoring each product to every person or pet. The personalization creates a premium that consumers are willing to pay because the brand is offering something no one else is.
Chatbots and the Future of Messaging in Retail
Personalization goes beyond the product though. Consumers want to be met where it’s convenient for them. Convenience lies in a chat bot – where you can pick up and leave off conversations. “The majority of people would prefer a different medium of communication,” Stefanos Loukakos, head of messenger business at Facebook prods, “Do you really like to call your telco provider or bank?” With more than 1.3 billion people using Facebook Messenger every month, it is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world and chatbots can be built and integrated seamlessly. Loukakos believes the best chatbot experience is a hybrid between AI and humans, “but in the future as AI becomes more popular, we believe it will be a fully automated experience.”
Experiential Retail Concepts from Digitally Native Brands
Retail stores are changing their look more than ever before. Brands are using brick and mortar locations to further their customer relationships. Success is no longer measured by sales per square footage but rather the engagement and brand loyalty being created. M. Gemi, a handmade Italian leather shoe company that totes post-luxury pricing, uses their retail locations for personalized shoe fittings then delivers your shoes to your door (for free!) Their stores are for customers to select their sizes confidently while receiving a VIP treatment – all while gaining valuable in-person feedback on products, sizing and most important – their brand.
ShopTalk, Personalization, and The Future
Consumers are tasked with a never-ending choice of brands but personalization is the common denominator between these successful new ventures. Tailoring your product and/or customer experience, both on and offline, to the consumer is crucial in the competitive e-commerce landscape. ShopTalk showed us how these brands were using personalization to improve their products & services, and the customers are buying it. They are willing to be loyal to a brand who dedicates themselves to making the customer experience personal.
By Kirsten Samuelson
Director, Social Media