With back to school and the fall season coming, many people are updating their wardrobes. As for me, I hate shopping. Especially for clothes. I can think of a thousand things I would rather do at any given moment. For that reason, I generally tend to buy clothes online and avoid crowded malls and tiresome salespeople.
Over the past several years, I’ve been on a personal quest to find a dress shirt that is affordable, of decent quality, and fits reasonably well. My thinking is that once I find a brand I like, I can automate the process of shopping and never have to think about it again.
Today’s Shopping Experience
With the explosion of online retailers, this is no simple undertaking. It seems that every day there is a new startup claiming to have perfected the dress shirt. Add in the growing number of online, made-to-measure suit retailers, as well as the traditional brick-and-mortar stores scrambling to establish an online presence, and you find yourself with a paralyzing number of possibilities.
Given the harsh reality that quality and value have become “table stakes,” companies now have to differentiate themselves with a third vital ingredient: marketing personalization.
Personalization is a hot topic in the marketing world, and rightfully so. According to the Harvard Business Review, personalization can increase sales by 10% and boost marketing ROI five- to eight-fold. And in today’s digital world, where 60% of U.S. and UK adults use at least two devices each day, according to Campaign Monitor, personalization is increasingly important to hold customers’ attention.
My Shirt Shopping Experience
I found my current online men’s clothing retailer, Charles Tyrwhitt, via a personalized Facebook ad. I saw the ad on my mobile device, offering a significant discount on a dress shirt that was the same style I had often browsed on other sites. I found the ad highly relevant and the product very reasonably priced. This was “the trigger” that got me to make my first order—a personalized ad providing discounts on a style of shirt I like.
A few weeks after my first order came in the mail, I received an actual letter—not an email—with a short note from the founder of Charles Tyrwhitt, thanking me for my business. In the note, I was provided with another discount code for a future order. While this may seem archaic and “low-tech,” this added level of personalization made me feel a connection to the company and a growing sense of loyalty.
Since that note, I have made two more orders from Charles Tyrwhitt and consider myself in the process of becoming a loyal customer. I continue to receive emails from the company with targeted offers providing discounts that keep the retailer front of mind whenever I need a wardrobe refresh. And perhaps most telling, I no longer hate shopping—at least at Charles Tyrwhitt—because they have taken the pain and guesswork out of the process for me.
Marketing Personalization Lessons
My experience with Charles Tyrwhitt has been very helpful to me personally as well as in my consulting career where I help companies develop more personalized marketing and customer experience. Based on my recent experience, here are three quick takeaways for how to better personalize your marketing to reach your customers:
Utilize data and analytics to personalize marketing offers: Using data to better understand and tailor your message goes a long way with customers. In fact, 74% of online customers get frustrated when they are presented with content that is not aligned to their interests, according to Business 2 Community. Companies that are able to convert customer data into actionable insights will have a competitive advantage in the race for personalization. Charles Tyrwhitt was able to identify my interest in dress shirts and market to me accordingly with ads showing shirts that fit my tastes.
Reach your customers where they are using mobile and social: In the past few years, mobile usage has surpassed desktop usage, and according to one study featured by Venture Beat, 67% of users are more likely to purchase a product or service from a mobile-friendly site. Case in point, the ad that grabbed my attention and led to my first purchase from Charles Tyrwhitt came while I was browsing Facebook on my mobile device. Retailers must evaluate the vehicles they are using to reach customers to ensure they have a strong presence on the devices their customers use.
Create brand advocates: Companies that establish brand advocates who can be leveraged to reach their social networks will see a far greater return on their marketing investment by the word-of-mouth sales that are generated. I gladly recommend Charles Tyrwhitt to my friends, and that is because in addition to having good shirts, they established a meaningful connection with me.