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Personalization with a Purpose: Why Now?

Posted on: October 9, 2019 | Posted by: Sona Sharma

Discover Why the Time is Right for Real-Time Personalization

The concept of personalized customer engagement has been around for ages—beginning as simply as the thoughtfulness of waiters who remembered usual orders or retail associates who remembered customers’ names. However, as technology has evolved, so too has the customer experience, with many interactions across retail, quick service restaurants, hotels, banks, and more now handled through screens. And yet, customers yearn for human-like service, personalized to their unique interests and needs and available on any channel they choose to use.

Due to the rising standards of modern-day consumers, enterprises are increasingly turning to real-time personalization, delivered via advanced technology, to drive the ways in which they interact with customers and to deliver a 1:1 experience at every engagement point. The need for this shift is evidenced in a Walker study, which predicts that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

Let’s take a look at how real-time personalization is manifesting across industries today: 

The Quick Service Restaurant

The ordering landscape is changing in the QSR. Today, 39% of quick service guests place their orders via smartphone app, 28% via kiosk, and 27% via tablet. While interacting with guests across multiple channels is a facet of engagement, true personalization requires serving up the right offer at the right time. This involves understanding customer’s in-the-moment context to customize offers no matter where the customer initiates the order.

Say Peter always orders the same sandwich when he visits a local QSR. When he taps on his mobile app to place his lunch order, the QSR recognizes from his historical purchasing patterns that he is likely to order a main entrée, but not a drink. It’s a steamy 95° day in his area, making a cold beverage a natural complement to his lunch. As a result, his customer loyalty app sends him an in-order reward: “Peter, add a $1 drink to your purchase of a sandwich!” By understanding his historic behavior in the context of the real-time environmental conditions in his area, the QSR is able to not only offer a relevant promotion likely to increase customer loyalty, but also upsell his standard order.

The Retail Environment

Some 63% of consumers in North America and the UK expect personalization from brands and retailers. Oftentimes in the retail segment, this is accomplished not only through personalized offers available based on prior shopping patterns but by seamlessly delivering these offers and experiences across devices. In fact, 43% of respondents of a Harris Poll reported that brands make them feel like individuals when they were reached across all touchpoints. For the e-commerce retailer, this unleashes a powerful opportunity to intervene when and where customers most desire, with offers most likely to create conversions.

For example, Liz is browsing for running shoes on her favorite retail e-commerce site. She adds a pair to her cart but doesn’t complete the order. During the week, she scrolls through her social media profiles and notices an ad for the same shoes. She considers purchasing but gets distracted. Shortly after, she receives a push notification from her mobile app with a picture of the shoes that says, “Liz, did you know you have 100 loyalty points? Redeem them for $20 off your shoe purchase and get running today!” Liz decides to make the purchase and taps on the mobile app, which brings her directly to her cart with her loyalty discount already applied. By personally and seamlessly engaging with Liz across channels, using data on her real-time usage combined with insight into past purchase history and accumulated rewards, the e-commerce site was able to not only secure the sale but also improve Liz’s perception of the customer service of the brand for continued loyalty down the line.

The Hospitality Sector

About 80% of travelers do not book excursions or experiences in advance, but rather when they are at their final destination, leaving a critical opening for in-the-moment personalization efforts. With the ability to weigh guests’ historical data in conjunction with real-time movements and location-based data throughout their stays, hospitality providers can facilitate immersive customer journeys that lead to lasting positive memories.

Upon checking in at their resort, the Smith family booked a snorkeling trip through the concierge and downloaded the resort’s mobile app for real-time updates on their booking. On the day of their booking, however, it begins to storm and is deemed no longer safe to go on that particular adventure. At this time, the hotel updates the Smith family via the mobile app of the cancelation and pushes them an offer to reschedule their snorkeling trip to the following day. In addition, they include an offer to add tickets to the aquarium—an indoor experience the Smith’s had searched previously on the app—for today at a discount. They accept the offer and using their card on file, quickly complete the order in-app.  By accessing past information and real-time context, the hotel was able to create a more satisfactory customer journey, highly personalized to the family’s vacation interests.

The Time for Real-Time Personalization Is Now

While real-time personalization may seem like a distant reality, employing the right technology makes it closer than one might think. At ZineOne, our AI-powered Intelligent Customer Engagement (ICE) platform is empowering enterprises to engage with their customers with real-time personalization to drive greater satisfaction, higher sales, and long-lasting loyalty. Find out how we’re activating the future of real-time personalization across sectors today.

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