Humans: the best in store personalization engine

The best way to understand how your products will fare in the marketplace is to go where they will be sold and observe. Since I oversee products that are cross-channel, I make it a point to visit one of our retail stores whenever I travel.

Just this past week, I visited 2 stores in the Charlotte area. These 2 stores have performed markedly different this year. Store #1 is down single digits in comp sales. Store #2 is up double digits.

The stores had much of the same product on the shelves at the same price. What was the key ingredient that was fueling the difference in performance? Personalization.

Store #1’s manager took a very product and promotion oriented approach to business. Clearance signs everywhere. Product crammed into every corner. All meant to try to have whatever potential customers may want on hand.

Store #2 on the other hand, took a personalized approach to business. The associates all took the time to personally connect with the customers as they walked in. Many were addressed by name. When I asked a department manager to name her best customers, she was able to rattle off 10 names in 5 seconds.

There is a big trend in eCommerce to personalize the shopping experience. For anyone in retail that has stores or a call center, don’t forget that you have the greatest personalization weapon already available to you: your associates. Leverage them as much as possible. Give them the tools and support they need. Empower them to develop that personal connection with their customers. I’m willing to bet all of your selling channels will benefit from this investment.


    The pizza places deliver great eCommerce coupon & deal ideas

    Consumers have grown accustomed to coupons being a must-have prior to ordering certain products & services, both online and offline. When is the last time you have called a big pizza place and not gotten offered a deal up front?

    As these ordering processes migrate online, the consumer’s expectation for deals & coupons remains the same.  The big 3 online pizza eCommerce sites have all done a great job of making coupons & deals the central point of the online ordering process. Rather than making customers search for coupons on the web, they offer compelling deals up front and devote space right to deals within the shopping experience. They have also switched the up-sell and cross-sell process to become associated to deals instead of product.

    In the case  of Domino’s below, they highlight your coupons and other deals throughout your entire shopping experience. You can always switch to another deal as you build your pizza — what a great way to move the consumer to a higher margin up-sell.

    Domino's Coupon Screenshot

    So, if you are selling products or services that consumers are used to finding deals for, explore moving away from a product-focused approach to your eCommerce site to a more deal-oriented approach.  You will find yourself able to sell quite a few more widgets or services at a nice healthy margin with the customer content that they got a scored themselves a good deal.