eCommerce Role Models: These 10 Brands Do Personalization Right
Personalized marketing is about creating relevant messages and unique experiences that enhance an individual’s customer journey.
If you feel like your brand needs to spruce up its personalization efforts, take a look at these ten brands for inspiration.
Fitbit’s smartwatches and fitness trackers measure a number of health metrics for the people who wear them. Then, these health metrics can serve as inputs for the company’s personal training app, Fitbit Coach, to create individual workout plans.
Fitbit products are inherently personal, but Sarah Cavill at Digital Media Solutions says the company plans to take its personalization efforts to the next level with a rewards program that is currently in testing. A personalized rewards program will likely increase user engagement and the sense of community Fitbit is building around its brand.
Beauty brand Avon has a long history of door-to-door sales or at Avon parties. However, Direct Selling News reports that Avon has recently undergone a digital transformation, during which the company created a digital tool that can make personalized recommendations based on a user’s skin tone and type.
Avon’s move toward digital buyer journeys is indicative of a larger trend: Consumer brands that built billion-dollar business through analog sales channels are finding ways to grow via digital channels.
UK-based eCommerce retailer ASOS has a large customer base of young adults, and the company relies on a variety of tools to make sure its customers feel supported individually. For starters, its augmented reality technology lets customers virtually try on clothes.
Also, ASOS offers Pinterest-inspired boards that allow customers to create multiple curated wishlists. April Davis at Power Retail notes how ASOS uses these boards to make individualized product recommendations to customers. Davis reports that the company’s most loyal customers have 500-plus items saved in their boards.
Doggyloot knows dogs come in different sizes and lifestyles, just like their humans. That’s why Doggyloot segments its users based on their dogs’ breeds, sizes and birthdays, among other details. That informs the personalized emails the company sends out, which has fueled a successful campaign that enjoys high click-through rates.
As marketing strategist Jaime Nacach reports, the emails Doggyloot sends to customers on their dogs’ birthdays see a 750% higher click-through rate than the campaign’s average email. This just goes to show that personalization doesn’t have to be complex to be effective.
EasyJet is a low-cost airline based in the UK. Though the airline built its reputation on affordable plane tickets, EasyJet is looking to be competitive in other ways, too. In 2018, the company rolled out a tool called Look&Book that allows users to take an image they find on Instagram and book a flight to that location or a similar destination in just a few taps on their phone.
“The European airline is claiming an industry first with the feature, letting consumers book trips based on an image,” John McCarthy at The Drum reports. This shows that brands in industries with traditional sales channels can still find new ways to support their customers’ evolving shopping habits.
In recent years, a key focus for Nordstrom has been to make customers feel like they are individually known and valued. Through its Nordy Club Rewards program, Nordstrom is able to send highly personalized recommendations and reminders to members. Ambassador-level members can even receive fashion consulting from an in-home stylist.
Further, Mike O’Brien at ClickZ notes that in-store sales representatives have access to customers’ online browsing history, which helps those sales reps make better in-person recommendations. Nordstrom provides an excellent example of how brands can integrate their digital and in-store shopping experiences by focusing on understanding customer tastes.
Starbucks has proved that personalization is powerful even when selling something as ordinary as coffee. In-store baristas make a point of calling out orders with customers’ names. In the digital realm, the Starbucks app facilitates personalization in others ways — remembering favorite orders, offering customized promotions and even using geolocation features to suggest closest locations for customers.
“Based on ordering preferences, the app will suggest new products (and treats) customers might be interested in trying,” Business Advisor Bernard Marr writes. “It’s so sophisticated that the recommendations will change based on what makes the most sense according to the day’s weather, if it’s a holiday or a weekday, and what location you’re at.”
It’s not hard to imagine how brands can inform their eCommerce channels with such granular intel about each customer’s tastes.
graze is a subscription-based healthy snack company based in the UK. The company’s primary business is sending personalized snack boxes to customers, but it’s the back-and-forth conversations with its customers that fuel graze’s success.
Customers create their accounts, tell graze what they like, and graze sends boxes with snacks based on those individual preferences. Customers then send feedback to guide future snack boxes.
“The primary incentive for operating via a direct-to-consumer model lies within the value proposition created by combining digital experience […] with a more traditional physical product,” says graze CEO Anthony Fletcher. “For graze this involves having a large and constantly changing range of products, the convenience of delivery, the ability to personalise as well as the excitement and surprise of treating yourself.”
9. Stitch Fix
Stitch Fix is an online personal stylist service, so as with graze above, personalization is baked into the company’s business model. At the beginning of their shopping journeys, customers take a detailed style quiz, and a personal stylist handpicks outfits for them to try on. Boxes are then delivered to customers’ homes, and they decide which pieces to keep and which they want to ship back.
Via its feedback forms, Stitch Fix collects a ton of data on its customers to be able to send them clothes they will love. Sam Hollis at Jilt writes that Stitch Fit had humble beginnings, but now brings in more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue. Stitch Fix can attribute its success to truly knowing its individual customers and what clothes they enjoy.
Beauty brand Sephora sells its products online and in stores in 33 countries. Like Avon, Sephora has been quick to recognize mobile technology’s ability to facilitate real customer personalization. In 2015, the brand launched a mobile app, Pocket Contour Class, that offers personalized makeup application tips based on users’ selfies.
Chantal Tode at Retail Dive notes that this technology marks a major advancement in augmented reality because this is more than a virtual try-on. The app provides accurate and personalized advice for a skill that is challenging for many people to grasp without tailored advice.
The takeaway: Personalization can do more than accelerate a customer’s journey to purchase. It can also teach customers meaningful skills that will encourage repeat purchases over the course of the customer’s relationship with the brand.
All of these companies have made personalization a priority — not just for their marketing teams, but for their entire business models. To make personalization really work for your brand, you need to have the tools in place to understand all of your customers’ individual needs and preferences.