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2021: The Year of Personalization

Posted on: January 27, 2021 | Posted by: Sona Sharma

Personalization trends in 2021

Uncovering How 1:1 Personalization Will Continue to Shape Business in 2021

2020 was a year of rapid change for nearly every industry. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic made it essential for enterprises to look to innovation and technology to ensure outreach remained relevant, timely, and targeted. 

In particular, as limitations were placed on brick-and-mortar stores, enterprises quickly rolled out services that allowed at-home customers to digitally engage with brands. A few emerging innovations included:

Buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS)Buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) – BOPIS grew more than 500% during 2020. Customers appreciated the ability to shop online and then drive to the store for immediate order fulfillment. 

Different methods of fulfillmentDifferent methods of fulfillmentThe New York Times reported that curbside pickup allowed big-box retailers to keep associates working and physical locations open by turning them into mini fulfillment centers.

Increased deliveriesIncreased deliveries – According to eMarketer, U.S. online shopping sales were estimated to reach $795 billion by the end of 2020, a 32% gain from 2019. And retail goods weren’t the only products being delivered—the pandemic more than doubled food-delivery apps’ business as well.

Augmented realityAugmented reality (AR) – AR applications offering virtual “try-before-you-buy” experiences became more necessary for consumers in 2020. From retail clothing to home furnishings, customers could use the technology to visualize purchases without leaving their homes.

Touchless paymentsTouchless payments – In 2020, contactless payments rose in popularity as an option for social distancing, and are an increasingly expected offering. A Small and Medium Business Reopening Report found that over 50% of U.S. consumers were using touchless payments by mid-year 2020, and 30% were using contactless card options.

Why Personalization is Essential

Increasingly, consumers are finding innovations like those noted above to be the standard by which all enterprises should operate. In order to differentiate, enterprises must not only offer cutting edge technology for omnichannel interactions but also go one step further to ensure each interaction is relevant to the customer. Dynata and Customer Think consumer research reveals 70% of consumers surveyed said they will shop exclusively with brands that personally understand them. This finding falls in line with trends even before the pandemic in customer preferences and expectations: a 2018 PwC study on personalization reported 73% of respondents indicated experience is an important factor when making purchasing decisions, and 42% said they’d pay more for a positive shopping experience. 

And personalization doesn’t just benefit consumers—it has serious benefits for businesses too. 70% of companies using personalization have seen more than a 200% ROI from it, and 86% have seen a measurable lift in business results.

The Importance of Predictive Insights on Personalization

The ability to predict customer intent with accuracy is critical for an enterprise to convert on-the-fence customers. Personalization tools equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can utilize a combination of customers’ historical behavior, real-time context, and environmental data to predict customer intent with high levels of accuracy. By utilizing this data, enterprises can determine the next best action for each customer based on the enterprise’s priorities, business rules, and highest ML model scores.

By automating and personalizing the customer experience with AI and ML, companies are able to better understand their customers and activate 1:1 insight to deliver more relevant and timely engagements. That’s why enterprises across industries are continuing to invest in AI-enabled solutions. The global AI market in retail is expected to grow at a CAGR of 34.4% from 2020 to reach $19.9 billion by 2027, while the global AI market in food service projects a CAGR rise of 42.5% to reach $12.58 billion by 2026. And the global AI fintech market is predicted to grow 23.37% to reach $22.6 billion in 2025.

Creating Frictionless, Cross-Channel Experiences

In the early 2000s, customers typically used just two touch-points when buying an item; today, consumers use an average of almost six. They toggle back and forth between devices, seeking the easiest and most convenient way to get what they need. For example, they may search and find an item online, purchase it, and pick it up at the store. Or, they may see an item they like in the store and then head online to buy it to be shipped directly to their home. 

Integral to personalization efforts is ensuring customers can engage on any channel, and that data is captured and applied in real-time across channels. This allows for a convenient and frictionless customer experience as individuals can seamlessly continue their journey across multiple devices. Further still, it allows for 1:1 personalization regardless of which channel a customer utilizes to continue an interaction.

Personalization is Primed for 2021

1:1 personalization is the future of customer engagement. As enterprises engage in strategies for the new year, it is integral to invest in solutions that can translate customer data into actionable insights that can be used to achieve more personalized, timely, and relevant customer journeys.

At ZineOne, we enable enterprises to understand and respond to every customer’s needs in the moment. Our AI-powered Intelligent Customer Engagement (ICE) achieves prediction accuracy up to 90% by the 5th click, allowing enterprises to engage with customers with relevant offerings based on their real-time context in order to convert the on-the-fence customer. Start the new year off right by contacting ZineOne.

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