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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 a more effective loyalty program to a dynamic pricing structure.

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.

The underlying value of personalization, however, is rooted in convenience. A brand I love knows me so well that they can send me curated products that feel meant for me, and I don't have to do anything except be who I am. There's a great opportunity here for brands to make themselves more approachable, but there's also plenty that can go wrong.

Data is a sensitive commodity, and not all customers feel comfortable with the idea that retailers are taking information from them, especially if they weren't aware of it or aren't seeing any tangible benefits from it. In the pieces you see below, we explore personalization from many angles, including:

  • How customer feedback helps brands improve their selection and personalize products for their best customers

  • The ways that marketing has changed thanks to customer data

  • How shoppers themselves feel about personalization

  • The unique ways individual retailers are creating personalized shopping experiences

As with any trend in retail, we're sure there's more coming down the pipeline. For now, though, we hope you enjoy our curated selection of stories exploring all the different ways personalization is shaping the retail space.

Cara Salpini Editor

Nike aims for perfect shoe fit with tech rollout

The mobile app feature scans customers' feet to tell them what size shoe they need, and lays the groundwork for future fit personalization.

Why dynamic and personalized pricing strategies haven't taken over retail — yet

The robots are here and ready to overthrow the standardized price tag. They're just waiting for retailers to hit the start button.

More consumers than ever want retailers to personalize service

Shiseido bets on personalized skin care with $92 monthly service

Things Remembered upgrades store experience with personalization bars, iPads

A brush with change: 4 CEOs restyling beauty and personal care

What do Madison Reed, Glamsquad, Function of Beauty and Native have in common? They're all digital natives successfully operating in a crowded space.

Clinique debuts skincare pop-up in SoHo

5 retail technology trends to watch in 2019

Many of the hottest retail technologies are actually iterations of earlier technology that may finally be at an adoption tipping point.

What's behind the rise in retailer loyalty program revamps?

Companies from Nordstrom to J. Crew have invested in loyalty programs. Some removed barriers, others added them, but the changes all said something about the strategy.

Retailers' personalization efforts fall short of shopper wish lists

Will the once marvelous department store ever come back?

Many of the innovations fueling retail's most successful startups were standard amenities at department stores nearly a century ago.