This article first appeared in the Winter issue of The Record.
Until recently, consumers visited physical stores to buy products. They would browse their options, speak to a salesperson and potentially visit other stores to compare products before making a purchase. If customers visited a particular shop frequently, staff may have learned their preferences so they could suggest items, but it’s unlikely.
E-commerce has made it easy for consumers to compare product prices, features and peer reviews from anywhere on any device, without ever visiting a physical store. It has also allowed online retailers to generate personalised recommendations that keep customers coming back. A recent Infosys survey found that 78% of consumers are more likely to return if retailers provide targeted offers, so brick-and-mortar stores must deliver an in-store customer experience that matches tailored online services and dovetails seamlessly with digital channels.
For many years, retailers have devised their own ways to use customer data to incentivise purchases via rewards programmes. However, omnichannel shopping and social media means they must make sense of more data than ever. Turning massive amounts of data from disparate sources into personalised offers requires highly sophisticated analytics.
Microsoft and Plexure’s new Retail Personalization solution analyses data from mobile, websites, POS devices and connected in-store technologies to deliver customised offers to customers. It also arms store employees with a unified view of cross-channel customer history, making it easy to personalise customer service and increase cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
Plexure’s solution creates tailored offers by combining data about customers’ past purchases, redeemed discounts and previous store visits with real-time information related to location, weather conditions and local events. For example, a retailer could send a personalised in-store discount for 15% off boots to a travel blogger who has been browsing for hiking boots online. When she arrives at the store, a wireless beacon device triggers the retailer’s app to send her a second US$50 offer for luggage because she travels frequently. A sales associate uses an overview of the blogger’s purchase history to recommend luggage options she is likely to buy, and she leaves satisfied with both purchases. Already, a global convenience store retailer has achieved a 73% increase in mobile transactions by using Plexure’s solution to target customers based on their spending habits and digital behaviour.
Plexure Retail Personalization also optimises operations by allowing retailers to predict consumer trends and purchasing patterns so they can stock the right products.
Retailers that don’t adopt personalisation risk lower customer satisfaction and stagnant revenue. However, Plexure Retail Personalization built on the Microsoft Cloud, and available via AppSource, gives businesses the keys to increase customer loyalty and profitability today and in the future.
Luke Shave is global industry marketing lead for CPG and Retail in Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group
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