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Personalization Research: How Retailers Personalize Across Five Channels

Personalization wants to roam free. Your results will suffer if you limit it to certain channels. They will suffer if you don’t integrate your strategy. And they will suffer if you don’t integrate your data.

More retailers are beginning to understand this, and we see it in our data.

Certona partnered with Retail TouchPoints to publish Moving Forward With Mobile: The power of personalizing the mobile experience. Based on a recent survey of 136 retail executives and 14 product suppliers, the report mostly focuses on mobile personalization. But one question takes a wider view:

personalization_data

Respondents told us which channels they were personalizing and what they were personalizing in them. What we see is a growing trend of personalization in all customer touch points.

Here are a few insights from the data:

Promotions and Recommendations Dominate the Web

It’s no surprise that the most popular types of personalization occur on the traditional web. Websites are among the most familiar and adaptable marketing channels available to retailers. Although personalized promotions are slightly more popular than personalized product offers, they are nearly equal in terms of popularity due to their effectiveness.

Personalizing content is an effective way to increase customer engagement, and we’re happy to see it rise above the pack to claim the number three spot.  As you increase engagement, customers tend to develop a stronger relationship with the brand. They spend more time on the website and may gradually increase order frequency or order size. We expect to see the percentage of companies personalizing content to lift in 2013.

Opportunity: Email Recommendations

Promotions are one of the most common types of email in retail, so it’s not surprising to see them dominate personalization in this channel. What is surprising is that only 39% of retailers send personalized product recommendations via email.

But that may change. About 55.5% of marketing executives say they plan to increase spending on email marketing in 2013, according to a survey from StrongMail. We’ve seen product recommendations perform very well in certain types of emails, such as order confirmations, and we expect to see more of them as marketers invest more in email and remarketing.

Need more ideas for email personalization? Check out these ideas for personalizing triggered email campaigns.

Mobile is the New Frontier

Mobile is the Wild West of marketing channels. Just as American pioneers tried everything from gold mines to cattle ranching, retailers are staking claims with mobile apps, mobile sites, and mobile personalization. Mobile retail sales increased 81% to nearly $25 billion in 2012, according to eMarketer.

Although overall adoption of personalization is lower in this channel than online, each type of personalization is roughly as popular on average — with one notable difference.

In mobile, personalized alerts are slightly more popular on average than on the web. This is likely due to the highly local and timely nature of mobile marketing. Location-based features have overtaken branding and presentation as the most engaging mobile advertising feature, according to Celtra’s Q3 Mobile Rich Media Monitor Report. They average an 18.8% engagement rate.

Geo-fencing enables retailers to deliver location-based alerts to consumers who come within range of a brick-and-mortar location. Such alerts may offer 10% off of purchases in customers’ favorite products when they are in range. The availability of SMS alerts may also contribute to this trend.

Relevant In-Store Experience

Retailers are beginning to connect the power of digital marketing with the tangibility of their brick-and-mortar locations. Personalized promotions are more popular than any other type of personalization used at the point of purchase. They are also more popular than every type of personalization used in contact centers.

Connecting a personalization strategy to the instore experience is a big opportunity that retailers are only beginning to explore. We expect to see more action in this category as companies begin to integrate their data and break down siloes between channels. Steady growth in digital display advertising in stores and omnichannel loyalty strategies will help push this trend even further.

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