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Retailers Look to Personalization for More Sales

Shoppers increasingly expect to buy goods tailored to their specific wants and needs, and retailers providing such merchandise have an edge on the competition

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FOR A GROWING NUMBER of today’s shoppers – especially younger ones – buying off-the-shelf is so last century. Instead, a customization/personalization trend is rewriting the rules of retail.

Stores of all stripes would be well-advised to tap into this movement, says a recent study by research intelligence firm PreScouter (Chicago). “The promise of unique products that improve our lives has led to an increase in consumer willingness to share personal information, making this an exciting time to consider hyper-personalization,” notes James Burns, Project Architect and Co-Author of the study.

Before proceeding, it’s worth noting that the terms customization and personalization are two sides of the same coin. “While personalization and customization achieve the same goal — an experience tailored to a user’s interests — the paths used to reach this objective are different,” notes a definition by AtData, a provider of email address intelligence. “The difference lies with who is making the changes. Users customize products or services to fit their own needs. Companies personalize their products, services and communications for a user.”

That said, the personalization/customization trend is by most accounts most advanced in apparel and footwear retail at this point. But as the following case studies show, it’s also making inroads in selling cars, beauty products and pet supplies.

This page: Petco’s latest “next-generation store” aims to offer a personalized experience for customers through a seamless in-store journey. Petco’s latest “next-generation store” aims to offer a personalized experience for customers through a seamless in-store journey.
📷: Zack Benson, San Diego

PETCO

An estimated 23 million American households adopted a pet during the Covid pandemic. To help those consumers – many of them first-time pet parents – make the most of that experience, Petco (San Diego) teamed with architecture/design firm CallisonRTKL (Washington, D.C.) to create the chain’s next-generation store.

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Retailers Look to Personalization for More Sales📷: Zack Benson, San Diego

In addition to such physical improvements to the space as added privacy screens and anti-skid flooring, the store includes several elements designed to create a more personalized experience. Those include an integrated check-in for vet and grooming services, mobile checkout and health record access, and an onsite omnichannel fulfillment center.

Retailers Look to Personalization for More Sales📷: Zack Benson, San Diego

The location is a win-win for customers and staff alike, participants say. “The location boasts seamless shopping throughout,” CallisonRTKL notes. “This means fusing a wide suite of new in-store services with digital experiences to help customers be the best pet parents they can be, and to support staff to do their best work.”

Personalized and customized experiences come naturally to skincare brands like Skinlala which caters to various needs.Personalized and customized experiences come naturally to skincare brands like Skinlala which caters to various needs.

SKINLALA

Water is the centerpiece of the SKINLALA (New York) skincare brand, a philosophy that’s thoroughly integrated into its latest flagship in Beijing.

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“The five states of water – liquid, ice, crystal, frost and ink – are extracted to match the concise black-and-white palette of the brand’s visual identity, applying it to materials such as lacquered panels, mirror panels, jade sand glass, glass bricks and tempered glass in the space,” says ISENSE DESIGN (Singapore) Chief Designer Sissi Bu.

📷: lv Bo, Beijing📷: lv Bo, Beijing

The store’s crystal treatment space illustrates the customization aspects at work. Filled with glass materials to represent that solidified state of water, the products on display reflect what designers describe as “a technical crystallization of the brand’s deep research into its wares.”

📷: lv Bo, Beijing📷: lv Bo, Beijing

Bu explains, “This is one of the biggest features of SKINLALA, which is customized for individuals and dispenses the most targeted skin-awakening program on the spot.”

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Toyota’s Paris store features a range of digital touchpoints to help guide the customer experience. Toyota’s Paris store features a range of digital touchpoints to help guide the customer experience.

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TOYOTA

Toyota (Toyota City, Japan) doesn’t want consumers to think of it as a car manufacturer anymore. Instead, the company wants to become known as an “electrified mobility brand.”

To help consumers make that giant leap, the company’s European unit partnered with Dalziel & Pow (London) to create new showroom concept. That space, in Paris’ Nord district, is designed to be “an immersive brand experience that reflects the company’s transition to a mobility company,” the partners say.

📷: Courtesy of Dalziel & Pow, London📷: Courtesy of Dalziel & Pow, London

Overall, the showroom is divided into dedicated areas for each of the company’s various products and services. Within such spaces, a variety of interactive digital touchpoints – such as a “configure your vehicle” wall complete with color swatches and a central screen on which the customers’ choices are displayed – provide customers with a personalized experience enabling them to explore different facets of the brand.

Retailers Look to Personalization for More Sales📷: Courtesy of Dalziel & Pow, London

The result is a “customer hub” where shoppers interact with the brand both digitally and physically through a highly trained staff. “In this space, customers can complement their digital journey with a memorable in-store experience with our retail staff providing the essential human touch,” says Didier Gambart, Toyota Motor Europe’s VP of Sales, Marketing & Customer Experience.

PHOTO GALLERY (97 IMAGES)
📷 Zack Benson, San Diego | lv Bo, Beijing | Dalziel & Pow, London

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