How brands are using personalisation to build meaningful customer relationships
It’s 2021 and consumers are wanting more from brands. Technology has blurred the line between commercial and personal, giving businesses unprecedented access to customers but also raising consumer expectations. Immediacy and ease of use are paramount and the customer experience is almost as important as the product or service itself.
Increasingly central to this customer experience is personalisation, driven by the expansion of data and new tech tools. Pioneered by the likes of Amazon, tailored recommendations, offers and options are playing a bigger and bigger role in consumers’ purchasing decisions. According to Salesforce’s fourth State of the Connected Consumer report, published last year, two thirds of consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations and 62% say they prefer personalised products or services. This latter figure is even higher among the growing Gen Z demographic, jumping up to 74%.
Personalisation and customisation tools are crucial to every sector but they are especially powerful within the beauty industry. Consumers have an intensely personal and unique relationship with their bodies and no two are the same. Brands that show they understand this, and can give customers products tailored to their individual needs and preferences, will not only win more sales but deepen customer relationships and establish greater brand loyalty.
Tailored products and customised digital marketing
Personalisation in beauty encompasses a vast range of techniques, tools and services.
These include quizzes through which customers can build products suited to their specific needs, such as employed by hair and skincare brand Function of Beauty - which last year secured $150 million in minority investment - and PROVEN, an AI-based skincare company that takes into account factors including skin type, lifestyle and even local water hardness, to create a customised skincare routine. There are brands like Sillages Paris that tailor fragrances based on customer preferences and earlier this year Neutragena began beta testing its MaskiD technology, which produces personalised, micro-3D-printed sheet masks.
But beauty personalisation isn’t just about creating a product with the specific ingredients or routine a consumer needs. It plays a part in helping brands connect with customers so interest can lead to conversions. For example, sampling campaigns are still a crucial part of product marketing but the traditional model of social post and purchase email has limited efficacy. It’s brands that build multi-step campaigns and send targeted, personalised content, based on triggers and customer behaviour, that will see higher conversions.
Odore’s platform gives brands the ability to personalise the customer experience in an infinite number of ways. Our drag and drop builder allows businesses to create a range of personalised customer experiences from interactive quizzes (to learn more about preferences) to profiling experiences, where customers are asked a set of questions and then recommended a product. Our platform allows brands to do in minutes what they’d do in weeks - whilst spending thousands of pounds - with an external agency.
Our workflow builder also gives brands the ability to hyper-target customers so they’re only shown the content that speaks most to them. This not only increases the likelihood of sales, it grows brand loyalty by establishing a personal connection with individual customers.
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Digital marketing mistakes brands make
Personalisation strategies offer vast opportunities to brands but many aren’t making the most of their resources or are falling into the same traps. According to research published this year by Gartner, 63% of digital marketing leaders continue to struggle with delivering personalised experiences to their customers, linked to the fact that only 17% are using AI or machine learning tools, broadly across marketing.
Another issue is that brands are accumulating a great deal of data from various sources - such as their ecommerce store, physical retail or paid ad campaigns - but aren’t segmenting any of this data and using its insights to inform their marketing strategies. Businesses need tools that can integrate with their main CRM, analyse its data and give them actionable insights to build personalised, hyper-targeted product campaigns.
And many brands are also making the mistake of obsessing over generating new leads for every campaign they run online. In this new era of personal connection, businesses need to put more effort into nurturing their existing contacts and finding new ways to make them convert, if they haven’t already, such as with targeted sampling campaigns. New leads are good but collection doesn’t mean conversion and companies can’t afford to forget this.
The data revolution and acceleration of technology is giving brands new opportunities to connect with their customers but it’s also evolved their relationship. Consumers want to be empowered in their purchasing decisions and expect their individual needs to be understood and addressed. If beauty brands want to win and retain customers in this fiercely competitive space, they need to embrace personalisation and customisation tools.
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