By Karl Wirth

Source: Entrepreneur

As a Christmas present a few years ago, my wife set up an appointment for me with a personal shopper. The clothes he picked were great, but the personalized experience kept me coming back after that first meeting.

I’d been shopping at the same department store for 10 years. I might as well have been a brand-new customer each time I walked in the door. The associates were nice enough, but they knew nothing about me or what I was looking for. I ended up buying less than I likely would have with more assistance, and I wasn’t that happy with the things I did buy.

The personal shopper didn’t just help me prevent fashion faux pas. He knew my history and understood my preferences. He also had a thorough knowledge of the store’s inventory and current fashion trends. It was truly an amazing and enjoyable experience.

This is the level of personalization all businesses should be providing — and not only in bricks-and-mortar stores. Personalization is crucial for online interactions, too. Here are three reasons marketers must customize clients’ digital experiences.

1. This is a relationship.

You have a digital relationship with your customers. But are you creating digital experiences that communicate how much you value those relationships?

Think about your interpersonal relationships with your friends, coworkers and neighbors. You remember specific details about these people. You know what each likes and needs. And you aim to please because each of them can choose to have a meaningful relationship with you or some other acquaintance.

Your digital relationships with customers are no different. You choose how you invest in your relationships.

A decade ago, the technology didn’t exist for businesses to create deep and meaningful relationships at scale. Newer technology has changed that. It’s now possible for companies of any size to deliver helpful, relevant, individualized digital experiences that delight customers and make them want to come back. You simply need to prioritize and invest in this capability.

The world is becoming ever more digital. You might never meet your customers face-to-face or even speak to them directly. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything in your power to create meaningful relationships.

2. Expectations have changed.

In the not-so-distant past, cable TV was the norm. You had no choice but to watch shows at the time they aired. If you missed the one you wanted to see, maybe you’d get lucky and catch a rerun later.

Music was much the same. You chose which albums to buy, but radio play dictated most of the music you listened to. If you caught only the last 30 seconds of your favorite song, too bad.

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