COMMENT Real personalization demands accurate and up to date shopper data, argues Barry Lemmon of Shopitize
Winning with shoppers has been on the agenda of all major FMCG brands for a while now, but few have made significant progress. Early attempts to influence shoppers were often clumsy, mainly focused on interrupting or disrupting shoppers rather than helping them. But, increasingly, new technologies offer a chance for brands to win with shoppers, and personalisation will be the key to success.
Shopping in a supermarket can be a stressful experience. Shoppers enter a supermarket burdened by a wide range of problems for which they need to find solutions: What should I buy for the family dinner tonight? Where do I find that item I want to buy? Which of the myriad of options available is the best one for me? How can I save money and get the best deal available?
Winning with shoppers is about providing solutions to their problems. And whilst the problems may be similar, the solutions will, of course, be different for each shopper – hence the importance of personalisation.
Non-grocery retailers have begun to embrace new technologies that provide personalisation: for example, augmented reality opens many possibilities to provide helpful information to shoppers, such as showing how furniture might look in a shopper’s home or how a particular item of clothing might suit them (or not!)
Within the grocery sector some brands are offering shoppers the chance to ‘personalise’ a product by having their name printed on the front of the jar.
Whilst this is a nice novelty gift idea, it’s not really providing a solution for the most common shopper problems. For grocery brands and retailers the route to personalisation will be shopper data.
The challenge is to collect and make effective use of shopper data to communicate relevant information in real time, and serve ideas and offers tailored to an individual shopper’s needs. Mobile technology is opening new opportunities for brands – both to collect data and communicate with shoppers independently of the retailer – which will enable them to develop a personal dialogue with shoppers like never before.
For now, it’s just an opportunity; but it’s one that brands should seize. The retail environment has become more and more challenging for FMCG brands; forming a direct relationship with the shopper may offer a rare chance for brands to thrive. Personalisation, or building one-to-one relationships with shoppers, will bring new challenges, not least of which will be relevance. Shoppers will abandon the irrelevant, such as unwanted communications or unsuitable promotions, but may be prepared to trade privacy for a type of personalisation that enhances their shopping experience and provides solutions to problems.
Barry Lemmon is Managing Director of Shopitize, which operates a digital platform that allows brands and retailers to serve tailored promotions directly to shoppers based on their previous purchasing history.