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Personalization

Cody Davis via Unsplash

Note from the editor

As consumer data becomes more readily available, a host of new opportunities (and missteps) has opened up for retailers that want to tap into the potential of rich shopper data. And on the top of that list is personalization.

Personalization is a versatile tool. For marketers, it means being able to better target sales offers and advertisements — using data about a customer's previous purchases and search history to inform what they might be looking for next. For retailers, it can mean everything from offering curated product recommendations to tailoring stores and larger branding to a specific demographic.

For the shopper, personalization is something different entirely. It's the feeling that a product was made specifically for them or the sense that a brand knows them well enough as an individual to send along only the most relevant products and offers. The relationship between shopper and retailer becomes much more like a conversation between friends — at least that's the idea.

As the pandemic hit retail in 2020, the conversation around personalization changed slightly. In some ways, it became less important, as retailers shelved marketing efforts to focus on simply surviving. In others, however, personalization was as much at the forefront as ever. DTC brands flew to greater heights as consumers moved online, and many well-positioned brands were able to gain share by targeting new consumers with timely products. Retailers like Nike also continued to expand store concepts that rely on personalization to drive the experience. 

Marketers throughout all of retail likely felt they were personalizing brand messages to the masses, oxymoron though it sounds, as systemic racism and safety threats from COVID-19 impacted consumer sentiment and made traditional messaging impossible. In the pieces you see below, we explore personalization from many angles, including:

  • How retailers are targeting specific demographics, like Gen Z and millennials, with unique marketing efforts

  • The store concepts that are putting data first

  • How successful data collection and personalization efforts really are for retailers

  • The individual ways certain retailers are creating personalized shopping experiences

We hope you enjoy our curated selection of stories exploring all the different ways personalization is shaping the retail space.

Cara Salpini Senior Editor

Companies face a 'paradox' between digital personalization and data privacy

Nike's expansion of small-format Nike Live stores pushes localization and digital

Marketers play it safe as pandemic's effects linger

Industry leaders are pinning their hopes on a better year in 2021, but experts say marketing likely won't return to normal anytime soon.

Forrester: Few brands can anticipate and act on consumer needs

Nike Rise store concept focuses on real-time engagement with customers

Why 20 brands sent out a joint holiday catalog in 2020

Born out of the crisis of the pandemic, the Mission Brand Alliance is looking to push consumers to other values-driven brands by banding together.

What the pandemic has cemented about Gen Z

Marketing to young shoppers looks different — and may create different winners — but much of the group's core values have stayed the same.

Is the DTC brand aesthetic bad for business?

Sans serif font and bright colored backgrounds are hallmarks of digitally native brands, but it may not matter if they all look the same.

30 minutes with Adore Me's marketing and design chiefs

Helen Mears and Chloe Chanudet talk about how they've built the DTC brand's marketing and product strategy over the years.

DTC brands struggled with profitability prior to COVID-19. Now what?

While the pandemic provided some relief to high customer acquisition costs in the near term, it doesn't necessarily equal long-term profit.

The era of personalization in retail

With the abundance of consumer data available today, retailers can personalize the customer experience from first impression to their latest purchase. Personalization has no become fundamental for retailers to build long lasting customer relationships, stand out from the competition and access new markets.

included in this trendline
  • Nike's expansion of small-format Nike Live stores pushes localization and digital
  • Companies face a 'paradox' between digital personalization and data privacy
  • What the pandemic has cemented about Gen Z
Our Trendlines go deep on the biggest trends. These special reports, produced by our team of award-winning journalists, help business leaders understand how their industries are changing.
Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.