After reporting fourth-quarter sales declines, a number of brick-and-mortar retailers including Sears, Kohl’s, and Macy’s revealed their plan for trying new digital tools, especially those that focus on personalization, to entice customers and lure them back into stores. Macy’s, for example, is working on making its mobile app easier to use by adding natural language search and building a more optimized experience that better syncs up the in-store experience to its digital assets.
Westfield Mall provides another good example in this regard as it tested a cognitive retail app at its San Francisco flagship store last December. The app, created by software company Gigster and IBM and powered by IBM’s Watson, can make personalized gift recommendations after analyzing several data inputs about the recipients, such as their gender, age, personality traits, or even their Twitter page. According to Gigster, the app was very well-received, racking up nearly 8,000 users and an impressive 11% click-to-buy rate for its gift suggestions during its 20-day run.
What Retailers Need To Do
With more and more consumers choosing the convenience of online shopping over visiting physical stores, brick-and-mortar retailers need to take the initiative in modernizing the in-store shopping experience with new digital tools as well as on-demand delivery services. Those aforementioned examples are illustrative of an emerging trend that sees retailers taking a more data-driven, personalized approach in their customer communications management, an approach that can greatly benefit all retailers.
For more information on how retailers can better utilize customer data to connect with shoppers throughout every step of the purchase journey, check out the Boundless Retail section in our Outlook 2016.