The consumer experience has evolved dramatically over modern history. We have seen the birth of department stores hosting many departments and brands, the advent of bespoke and couture products and services, and, more recently, the rise of subscription boxes and services. One aspect that all of these examples have in common is giving the customer a more personalized experience. Department stores were more convenient for shoppers who wanted to see more than one type of product under one roof. Bespoke and couture brands give customers a one-of-a-kind product, unique to them. Subscription boxes and services give customers a steady stream of products with a twist of personalizing the contents or adding on extra products based on the offerings available. In all of these, the customer can make the shopping experience their own, and build a relationship with the brand based on that personal experience with the product.
When it comes to personalization, the best term to sum up this aspect of the customer experience is customer centricity. The product and service are centered around the customer and their experience. This attention both entices the customer to buy the product, as well as keeping them excited and tempting them to be a repeat customer or long-time subscriber. In a recent piece from McKinsey and Company, one common response of customers of various subscription boxes and services were aspects of choice or personalization in their subscription experience. From a feed of products termed as “suggested for you” based on past shopping behavior, or to the element of choice when it comes to picking the contents of a subscription box, customers are able to make the shopping experience unique to them with the flexibility available.
The process of personalization is all about building a relationship between customer and business. If the customer feels seen and heard by the brand, they will continue shopping with them. But on the flip side, the amount of personalization needs to walk the thin line between being engaging or welcoming and being creepy or too personal. The amount of tracking data that businesses can collect about the behavior of those visiting their websites is both something customers don’t want to know about, but do want to be used for the benefit of their shopping experience. Forbes calls out in their article on the subject that in the pursuit of personalization, companies should be very careful to not be perceived as creepy. Everything related to personalization should be focused on giving the customer the best experience of the business without going too deep into trying to build a connection with them.
Through this emphasis on personalization, customers can receive innovative and impactful experiences from businesses. Their bespoke shampoo comes labeled with their name and location, and the contents are specific to their hair type and environmental factors. Their style box is specific to their preferences can even have its contents tweaked by the customer before it is sent. The website can suggest other great products based on their browsing behavior, so that the customer can easily find what they want, plus a few extras they did not think they needed. And businesses, on the back end, can track the reception and reviews of these aspects of personalization, and continue to refine their approach to customer experience to deliver an experience to be remembered.