Major trend for 2014: Personalization

A recent survey, dubbed the “Retail Buying Experience,” by Experticity has revealed an expertise gap among sales associates at retail. The survey also found that consumers value expertise above all else, but 2-out-of-5 consumers said they are routinely disappointed by the lack of expertise they encounter in the stores.

The survey findings really point to one word: personalization.

Like the survey says, consumers want help with their buying decisions, and they want the retailers to be an active player in their shopping experience. They want retail sales associates who have product knowledge, can help in selecting the right products, have category knowledge and can assist in finding alternatives when the first choice is not available. They want personalization.

Expect to hear that word a lot in 2014 as personalization is clearly shaping up to be a major trend for the coming year.

For example, in exclusive interviews with Drug Store News, CVS/pharmacy executives shared how personalization is at the heart of every strategic initiative and key retail programming playing out across its enterprise, impacting every aspect of its retail operation.

Further underscoring the point are the findings of Cognizant’s “2013 Shopper Experience Study,” which is an annual survey of shoppers' likes, dislikes and deal breakers. The survey of 2,500 consumers highlights the growing importance of capturing and analyzing every customer interaction in today’s highly competitive and fragmented retail landscape. Cognizant is a provider of information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing services.

“Personalization and tailor-made campaigns are all the rage in retail campaigns and promotions. In fact, gone are the days when one-size-fits-all large promotions are applied to increase basket size. With an increase in margin pressures, marketers are trying to focus on getting that extra mile,” the Cognizant study states.

One example cited by Cognizant is Kroger, which refined its direct marketing strategy by using data from its loyalty-card program and sent unique coupon offerings to specific households. “The company believes that this level of promotional personalization offers a path toward creating a direct link to its customers that no other U.S. grocery retailer can replicate,” the Cognizant study states.

There’s no doubt that personalization is quickly rising to the top of key trends in retail. Like we said, expect to hear that word a lot more in 2014.