Can you remember what making every customer feel unique used to mean? – make eye contact, smile, approach (if they looked like they might need assistance) and ask if there is anything they need help with… The tools were so limited to engage the shopper that you actually had to get by with a friendly face and a bit of charm. Nothing about PERSONALISATION.
These days there are ways to engage the shopper that will immediately resonate. Ways that don’t include throwing thousands of items at them in supposedly visually arresting displays. Or for the online shopper to have to scroll through pages of poorly photographed products where you can’t tell a navy from a black.
Personalisation on Social Media and Online
I came across one such example when I was wading through reams of baby photos and life changing sunsets on Facebook when I saw a sponsored ad. It was a hooded top with a logo saying “it’s a Heller thing… you wouldn’t understand”. My surname… on a top. I wasn’t particularly interested in the product or the slogan. Despite that it was the first Facebook ad I ever clicked on. The personalisation hooked me.
Going up a gear online retailers are now able to personalise their website’s homepage for individual shoppers. By doing this you will see your favourite brands and offers that are tailored to how you shop. This personalisation is driven from data collected from previous searches, purchases and complex demographic algorithms. Shop Direct’s Very.co.uk can manage over 3m versions of their website with differing text and offers. This makes it easier for you to find relevant items quickly before you lose interest. That’s personalised online shopping – but it’s not personal; there’s no emotional connection.
Get Help, Get Personal
Getting personal are companies like The Chapar who offer time poor men personal stylists who then deliver a trunk full of hand-picked clothes to your desk. The stylists are friendly, chatty and want to get to know your lifestyle and your wider interests in order to best pack the trunk with clothes that you will love. It’s a fantastic service with free delivery and returns and you only pay for what you don’t send back.
There’s personalisation of service and then there is the personalisation of product; from a personalised Burberry poncho to bespoke Louis Vuitton bags; luxury brands are trying to elevate their product by adding tailored touches to increase their exclusivity. They do this to engage an ever more “seen-it-all-before” customer. Although very few people would turn their nose up at a Burberry scarf I don’t feel there’s an emotional connection with the product. It’s machine-made; no one’s individual time and effort has gone into creating the finished product.
At Mon Breton we sell bespoke Breton shirts. We work with our customers to give them something that they will cherish and we cherish as well. Each hand-embroidered shirt we sell is unique. I never get bored of seeing the end product and I get nervous every time I send one out, hoping that the customer will love it as much as I do. In this way I feel we are creating an emotional and personal bond with our customer. To be honest, this is so valuable in such a saturated market where you blink and see a stripey T-shirt. But blink and see a Mon Breton bespoke Breton shirt and there you have a story which our customers love to share.
Going back to the bigger picture, retailers that are winning are the ones that understand the importance of personalisation. Not every company can get emotional over every product they sell like we do at Mon Breton. Find a way to connect with the customer through personalisation and they will see value in your brand. Find a way to connect with the customer emotionally and then the customer becomes an ambassador….