Omnichannel personalisation trends for 2022
In 2022, a strong data-driven consumer approach will be essential for delivering the gold standard of customer experience.
If retailers are to meet the needs of ever-more digitally savvy and socially aware consumers, they must build consistent user experiences across all channels and devices, and for this, data is the key asset. It is a virtuous circle whereby if customers have their expectations met, they are more willing to share their data with companies to get even more personalised experiences in the future.
Here are some of the best practices for creating omnichannel personalisation for consumers, and the trends set to emerge in 2022 and beyond.
First-party data for personalisation
Data is the most valuable asset for brands looking to create great customer experiences and foster customer loyalty. Some of the most powerful insights can be derived from shopper decision trees that unveil how people make purchase decisions online, how they find brands and buy from them, or why they might move on to other popular competitors.
The death of the third-party cookie because of new privacy measures has increased the value of both zero and first-party data for retailers.
First-party data is collected for instance when customers browse for something they want and add to their virtual shopping cart, while zero-party data is collected when they complete customer satisfaction surveys or leave reviews on recent purchases.
According to research by EY, consumers are increasingly willing to share first-party data. For example, 62% of consumers would share personal data for healthier product recommendations.
By collecting data across multiple sales channels, such as online stores, social and offline channels, brands are better equipped with the right data to make the experiences highly personalised.
When a customer enters a store, the customer support agent will have the information about their buying behaviour and their feedback across multiple channels, so they can enhance the in-store experience accordingly.
Checkout-free stores and technology enabled experiences
Self-checkouts have become the norm in supermarkets and now retailers have begun experimenting with more advanced ‘just-walk-out’ technology to further streamline shopping experiences. Using a combination of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagged products and sensors placed around the store, customers can do their shopping without having to go to a checkout.
Customers enter the store, scan a QR code that connects to their account, pick up the items needed and then leave. The payment process and product tracking are both handled in the background by cloud-based payment infrastructure and cameras with sensors. By implementing mobile apps and feeding in data from the store’s sensors, retailers are in a position to tailor this experience to individuals. Based on the products they’ve previously purchased, the store can offer discount codes on their favourite produce or clothes as they browse the aisles, free delivery perks, and suggest membership options that will save them money in the future.
In the next year, these cashier-free, contactless checkout systems will continue to develop and their speed and ease of use will transform the way customers approach their daily shop.
Unique and socially-distanced experiences
Using the latest technology, retailers can create positive and memorable experiences. For instance, Augmented Reality (AR) kiosks can be installed to show shoppers a digital reflection of themselves, allowing them to try on clothes without even having to get changed. This is a great way for retailers to combine the ease of online and the physical perks of offline. They can cater to customers that still want a physical, in-person shopping experience, while also keeping them safe and distanced as they won’t have to go into a changing room to try on garments.
With the help of insights provided by Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, customers receive recommendations based on colour, size or style of their preferred items, and information about stock levels. ML technology analyses data about customer needs and preferences over time and enables retailers to better serve them when they have questions about products, payment processes or delivery updates. ML technology is able to pre-empt the next question and offer solutions that have been pre-programmed into the system, so customers don’t have to wait to speak to an agent to have their query resolved.
Additionally, technology can streamline the purchase journey and give customers the option to keep distance from other shoppers and avoid queues if that’s their preference. With tablets hooked up to the stores’ catalogue of products, customers can order what they need with a few simple steps, without having to browse the aisles. Via the tablet they can arrange next-day delivery, or pick-up in store later that day.
As footfall declines once again as a result of the spread of the Omicron variant, retailers will need to make sure they have a strong and personalised omnichannel presence, so whatever business they lose in-store can be made up by ecommerce revenue.
In the first quarter of 2022, with retail uncertainty looming, keeping new and existing customers on side will prove to be more important than ever.
Using technology and tools to create excellent personalised experiences will help retailers develop and nurture trusting relationships that will drive customer loyalty and meet ever changing customer expectations for many years to come.