6 Non-Creepy Ways Retailers Can Use Personalization In-Store

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May 05 2016, Posted by Lisa Cramer

Today’s shoppers want a personalized retail experience. In fact, 75% of shoppers stated that they would be more likely to buy in-store if given personalized offers delivered in the moment.

But, as I’ve explained before, there’s definitely a line here that shouldn’t be crossed. Personalized can quickly become too personal.

With that in mind, I’ve pulled together 6 non-creepy ways retailers can use personalization in-store to drive sales and improve their customer experience.

  1. Offer product information based on a selected product.

    For example, allowing a shopper to quickly access price comparisons, product location, detailed product specs, inventory information, similar products or reviews by simply scanning the product.

    Radio frequency identification, or RFID, is a tracking technology that allows shoppers to use remote scanners to read tags placed on individual products for more detailed information. When paired with a digital screen or kiosk, there are a number of creative ways this technology can be applied to give shoppers access to valuable information about products they are interested in, without needing to look it up on their smartphones or wait for a sales associate. In this way, you can help push shoppers further along their path to purchase and increase purchase likelihood.


    • 69% of shoppers stated they would be more likely to buy in-store if given self-help options in-store like digital kiosks or displays (InReality).
    • Two in three shoppers who tried to find information within a store say they didn’t find what they needed, and 43% of them left frustrated (Google).
  2. Recommend complimentary products to a shopper based on a selected product.

    Examples? How about in an apparel store offering up “complete the look” inspiration in real-time showing stylist recommended ties or socks to go with a shirt a male shopper has picked up.

    Or, in a home improvement store where a shopper is picking out a paint gun, maybe suggesting other items frequently purchased with paint guns or offering a paint-related project shopping list.

    While RFID could also be applied here, near field communication (NFC) is another cost-effective method of tagging products with more detailed information. Both offer the opportunity to up-sell and cross-merchandise for increased basket sizes.

  3. Send relevant offers, content or reminders based on location or certain shopping behaviors.

    Some possible use cases here?

    • To send shoppers in checkout lines over a certain amount of time interactive content or special offers to increase impulse buys and compensate for longer wait times.
    • To alert shoppers of offers, upcoming product releases or store events based on the amount of time spent in certain areas/categories/departments to increase engagement and purchase likelihood.
    • To alert shoppers passing by the store window of daily deals or send discounts to draw in additional foot traffic and capture more sales.

    The technology behind these kinds of concepts is beacons. A low-cost solution to sending messages or prompts to a shopper’s mobile devices via a mobile app, giving brands an opportunity to influence consumers and their path to purchase.


    • Beacon-triggered messages could directly influence up to $44.1B this year (Business Insider).
    • 57% of customers are more likely to engage with advertising that is location-based (JiWire).
  4. Create targeted marketing campaigns

    Certainly beacons paired with a mobile app is one way of serving up targeted marketing campaigns based on the shopper’s profile, i.e. email addresses and other data you’ve collected when they opted-in to your mobile app. However, there is another way to deliver targeted campaigns that does not rely on the presence of a beacon or mobile app: facial dectection. This technology allows retailers to gather and act on real-time demographic information on shoppers in-store, including age and gender. Armed with the knowledge that a shopper is young and male for example, retailers can then serve up targeting ads and promotions on digital screens based on his age and gender. These technologies also provide vital feedback on a promotion or merchandising’s effectiveness based on whether or not shoppers look at, stop and engage with a display or walk right by.

    Another method of targeting that can be used with facial detection is emotion-based targeting. The Hershey Company is also rolling out new in-store technologies using facial dectection technology to dispense free candy to happy consumers. Dubbed the “Smile Sampler,” Confectionary News reports, “Hershey plans to introduce an interactive sampler to retail stores that dispenses products after shoppers smile in a bid to enhance the in-store experience and create a sales opportunity.”

  5. Enhance loyalty program.

    Beacons can also help to increase the value of mobile loyalty programs. Through special offers and product insights only available to loyalty members, beacons can enhance the success and stickiness of these programs.

    Here are a few examples:

    • Remind shoppers of loyalty points accumulated so far or expiring soon as they enter a store, or if they’re spending a considerable amount of time in a particular area.
    • Alert customers about items in their online cart available in store and where they can find them.
    • Offer reward points for trying on merchandise in apparel stores.
    • Allow customers to checkout in-store via the mobile app.
    • Send transactional emails or mobile alerts after a purchase offering an invite to an exclusive in-store event.
  6. Improve in-store service.

    Personalization doesn’t always have to be about reacting to the shopper or offering a discount. It can also be used proactively to improve the customer experience.

    For example, using geofencing to get a shopper’s order out just before they arrive at the in-store pickup counter. Geofencing sets up triggers so that when a device enters (or exits) a defined location, an alert is sent (in this case to the retailer, not the shopper).

These are only a few ideas on how to bring personalization in-store without being creepy. But, really it all comes down to what you want to accomplish. Once you’ve figured that out, you can mix and match technologies to give your store that personalized touch your shoppers expect.

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