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Personalized Customer Experiences Start Onsite, but Should Extend to Other Channels | Sponsored Content

This post was contributed and sponsored by Sailthru.

Your website often represents the first touchpoint in the customer journey for shoppers. So it’s important to consider—what is the shopper’s first impression when they reach your site?

Personalization is one way to make a great impression and increase engagement from the start. It sets the tone for a fully-integrated personalized experience, extending beyond your website to all your other channels.

Every year, personalized marketing automation technology provider Sailthru evaluates 250 retailers’ personalization capabilities across website, email, mobile and even offline. Cross-referenced with customer sentiment, Sailthru’s proprietary methodology results in the Retail Personalization Index, a definitive ranking of retailers based on their overall personalized shopping experiences.

One major takeaway from this year’s Index is that brands have come a long way in improving onsite personalization. All but two of the retailers Sailthru evaluated allow customers to create profiles, for example. However, the true personalization pros take what they learn about people onsite and apply that to other channels, creating a more connected customer experience. Here are a few ways to extend personalization beyond your website.

Email: Offering Nuanced Preference Centers

Email is the channel where most consumers want to hear from brands, but do they want to hear from them on a daily basis? Not always. Preference centers are a great tool here that enable people to control messaging cadence, decreasing the likelihood of messaging fatigue. While 51% of the retailers Sailthru evaluated have preference centers, many offer just two options: all or nothing. Just 35% go more granular, allowing consumers to select their preferred messaging frequency and type.

This is much more prevalent among the top performers. Of the 25 highest-ranked retailers, 52% offer messaging frequency in their preference centers. Three-time Index champion Sephora allows customers to choose between all, weekly or monthly marketing emails, in addition to emails pertaining to events at Beauty Insiders’ preferred Sephora stores.

Mobile: Sharing Profiles and Carts

When someone downloads a retail app, chances are high they’re already a loyalist. And yet, many retailers fail to recognize them as such, requiring new app users to onboard again. Overall, 43% of brands have consistent profiles between mobile apps and websites, while 42% share their shopping carts across channels. Among the top quartile, 88% of retailers offer both.

Retail Personalization Index runner-up Nordstrom earned a near perfect mobile score, in part because of how seamlessly the brand’s app integrates with other channels. Customer profiles, shopping carts and loyalty information carries over, ensuring consistency wherever and however the customer wants to shop.

In-Store: Noting Nearby Inventory

Surveying 1,500 consumers, Sailthru learned one of the strongest indicators of customer satisfaction is omnichannel personalization. The stronger the connections between digital and in-store channels, the more likely people are to enjoy their shopping experiences.

Onsite, 35% of brands allow customers to pick up their online orders in-store, while 39% of brands’ websites allow customers to view an item’s in-store availability. The latter is particularly indicative of overall personalization proficiency, as eight of the top 10 brands do this. For example, fifth-place Best Buy’s website incorporates geolocation, showing the site visitor relevant information, including store hours, special features and inventory, for the nearest brick-and-mortar store.

Curious who were the top performers and what else set them apart? Check out Sailthru’s Retail Personalization Index, including our web personalization best practice guide full of learnings from the top Index winners.