SalesTech Star

Personalization Is Key to Online Grocery Sales and Online Retail

By Shekar Raman, CEO and Founder, Birdzi

This year, consumers across the United States became more technologically savvy as working, socializing and shopping were all confined to the computer screen. With that, came a data and information overload for buyers and sellers alike. Yet, if retailers know what to do with this data, many new opportunities can be unlocked, especially within personalization.  

There is often a surplus of underutilized customer data in the retail industry, but grocers traditionally have fallen ever further behind when it comes to taking full advantage of the high volume of data available to them. 

The good news is that this information can be gathered systematically from online customer profiles and loyalty programs with the use of AI-driven software like customer intelligence platforms. These underappreciated resources give retailers and grocers the opportunity to understand what the customer truly wants and create a personalized experience that yields the highest conversions, sales and profit margins possible, even during unprecedented times. 

To truly tap into customer data and optimize the personalization opportunities available, retailers must create an omnichannel strategy that incorporates in-store and online marketing practices both throughout the customer journey and within all communication touchpoints. 

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Best Practices for Personalization 

Personalization should not exist solely online or solely in store. Customers are becoming increasingly channel-blind thanks to innovation in delivery and buy-online-pickup-in-store, so they are now expecting a cohesive shopper journey. As with other omnichannel strategies, personalization should be coordinated with one “central brain” that derives the brand experience across all channels. 

Additionally, retailers and grocers should not select certain data points alone to inform a marketing decision because customer preference is often derived from a variety of confounding variables. Retailers and grocers should use all the data they have by enabling an AI model to study their customer behavior. 

These AI-driven systems like customer intelligence platforms automatically analyze browser history, page clicks, social interactions, past purchases, the duration for which a page was viewed, and more to gauge the best personalization tactic for each customer. With all this information comes more opportunities for strategic personalization within the shopper journey and at all communication touchpoints. 

Strategy 1 – Personalized Shopping Journey 

There are hundreds of ways retailers can incorporate personalization into the shopper journey.  On the mobile app, customers can create a shopping list and AI-based personalization can be used to create an optimal in-store experience based on the best route to get those items efficiently. Additionally, the app can notify customers of a related item. 

For example, if a customer usually buys peanut butter and jelly, but they only put jelly on the shopping list, the app can deliver a personalized notification reminding them of the complementary item they may have missed. 

Online, there are even more opportunities for personalization. This can take the form of personalized banner recommendations, preset personalized search bar filters and recommendations on the product detail page or in the shopping cart based on previous purchases and wish list items. 

All of these strategies can create a unique and efficient customer journey that improves customer loyalty, basket size and ultimately profits. And with each of these benefits comes even more customer data that can be used to further refine the shopping experience. 

Strategy 2 – Personalized Communication 

There are ways to utilize personalization when the customer is not actively engaging with the store as well. This communication can range from SMS to newsletters to email campaigns. 

In fact, according to a recent case study from Birdzi, 8% of shoppers who received strategically targeted and personalized email newsletters purchased one or more item, whereas only 4.5% of shoppers who receive generic weekly circulars made a purchase. This results in an incremental lift of over 15% versus the less than 1% generated by weekly circulars

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Furthermore, the critical post-purchase touchpoint is often missed by traditional strategies. With personalization, customers can be contacted after they leave the store with targeted recommendations for their next experience, as well as a way to report any feedback that could improve the customer journey. If this critical touchpoint is targeted like the previously mentioned email campaigns, retailers can improve the number of categories shopped, grow spend and number of trips per shopper, and increase the number of shoppers altogether.

Why Every Retailer Needs to Offer Personalization

It’s no longer a question of whether retailers should innovate and create a personalized omnichannel experience but rather when. Now is the time to invest in customer intelligence platforms that can harvest all of the customer data available and use it to create a personal, convenient omnichannel experience that will help retailers and grocers succeed now and in the future.