Personalising the Retail Experience with Technology

Everybody wants to be recognised as an individual, which explains why retailers with thoughtful tailored services stand out, and personalisation efforts not only support relationships that facilitate repeat business, the very undertaking builds a better understanding of the customer.

Geographic personalisation

Given a customer base that is online and global, brands necessarily tailor their websites according to region. Outdoor sportswear specialist Helly Hansen applies geo-targeting so the content of its home page adjusts to local weather forecasts. During a five-day period of rainfall in Germany, its home page presented rainwear rather than its signature winter ski-wear. Helly Hansen reported an increased conversion rate of 170%, and 52% for new visitors.

Other popular targeting techniques include international shipping promotions, lower prices for customers in countries with import tariffs, and applying the local vernacular to product descriptions: we see women’s rib-knit jumpers and platform trainers from H&M while our North American counterparts are offered rib-knit sweaters and platform high tops.

Justifying the trip

Some may lament the change, but the ongoing overshadowing of bricks and mortar by e-commerce finds retailers in the position of justifying to customers why they should leave the house for the high street.

Industry insiders tout augmented reality, often described as the fusion of virtual reality and real life, as a revolutionary personalisation tool. In light of the ever-growing reliance on smartphones and the success of Pokémon Go last year, it’s easier to see how shop floors can be transformed. Imagine picking up a book only to have critic reviews pop up on your phone, or scanning your phone’s camera across a leather jacket to bring up images of how your preferred celebrities have styled it. Such experiences will be on offer within a decade.


Consumers love control, and by 2025 there will be a greater focus on product and promotion customisation. Customers of Adidas and Nike can already tailor their design: for a premium, anyone can play around with colours and fabrics. More brands will be coming on board with this sort of product personalisation.

Customising promotions delights the right type of customer. In 2015, Waitrose introduced their Pick Your Own Offers scheme, allowing loyalty card holders to pinpoint the items they receive discounts on.

It’s a simple point to make, but by giving regular consumers the chance to inject some creative flair into their purchase, or by letting them decide what matters to them when they shop, there is greater incentive to return again and again.

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