The State of Retail Personalization

 In Articles

Personalization. Omnichannel. Customer experience. You’ve probably heard these words and phrases a lot lately– and for good reason. 88% of marketers believe their customers expect a personalized retail experience every time they shop. But consumers aren’t just buying stuff. They’re looking for shopping experiences and relationships with their favorite brands. The retail industry is abuzz with solutions that help streamline the shopping journey and make that journey personal and memorable.

Personalization is such an important aspect of today’s retail space that some brands are taking it upon themselves to acquire technology partners while building up in-house teams and tech. It’s a no-brainer retail brands are adopting personalization technology, allowing them to better connect with their customers. But it’s the “how” that varies wildly.

There are two big ways to reach the pinnacle of personalization: by actively acquiring tech that benefits the business, or by establishing a set of partners, filling the gaps in the company’s own solution.

On the technology side, companies like Adobe, NetSuite, Kibo, Shopify, Bigcommerce, and Salesforce are growing their tech ecosystems by partnering with service providers and making strategic acquisitions to gain competitive advantage and beef up their baseline offerings.

Check out the timeline below for a handful of highlights regarding retail personalization.

Personalization Timeline

JUNE 2013: Salesforce acquires ExactTarget, a cloud marketing platform.

APRIL 2015: NetSuite acquires Bronto Software.

JUNE 2016: Salesforce buys Demandware for a whopping $2.8 billion.

JULY 2017: Adobe opens up its optimization capabilities in Adobe Target and unveils new services like personalization and product recommendations.

MARCH 2018: Nordstrom acquires BevyUp.

SEPTEMBER 2018: Sephora tops SailThru’s annual Personalization Index report for the second year in a row, scoring a 92/100.

SEPTEMBER 2018: Adobe acquires Marketo.

NOVEMBER 2018: Nike opens its new flagship store in NYC and uses the Nike app as a means to collect information and data on their shoppers.

FEBRUARY 2019: Kibo, a cloud commerce company, acquires Certona, a leading personalization company.  

MARCH 2019: McDonald’s acquires Dynamic Yield in a deal estimated at $300 million.

MARCH 2019: 4-Tell achieves “Built for NetSuite” status with 4-Tell Personalization, built in collaboration with TavanoTeam.  

The State of Retail Personalization

We would humbly submit that mastery of personalization is no small feat– we know this from our work over the past 10 years. Many of the brands and companies listed above have invested years into building out their solutions and experiences. But the good news is: it’s paying off, and this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Maybe the most interesting observation here is there are leading brands and companies who want to own, not just utilize, proprietary technology that differentiates their brands from the rest.

The world, and the people and technology within it, will continue to change at a rapid pace. And in the midst of all that, we’re fascinated by how personalization and customer experience will continue to play out. In the meantime, we’re staying committed to our work and look forward to a more personalized commerce future for our partners and customers.

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