June 27, 2023

Personalization trends in 2023: what customers expect and how to deliver

minute read

It’s no secret that today’s customers increasingly expect a more personalized shopping experience.

Whether they’re looking for a great deal, saving time, or researching a product, shoppers want an experience tailored to their needs and preferences—and they reward brands that deliver. As brands level up their personalization efforts to meet the challenge, those investing in smarter zero-party data collection and activation will build a strategic advantage not just when it comes to customer loyalty and satisfaction, but in bottom-line revenue.

Customers want you to get to know them

According to data from McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized experiences, and 76% of them get frustrated when they don’t. It’s no wonder that companies that grow faster drive 40% more of their revenue from personalization than their counterparts. The good news is customers are willing to give you the tools you need to improve their experiences with your brand. Our recent Global State of Conversational Commerce Consumer Survey report found that shoppers around the world are willing to offer up personal information in exchange for tailored experiences and cost savings—and getting this data directly from customers themselves will be increasingly important as brands move away from third-party data.

SMS is becoming a go-to channel for gathering the data you need for personalization

With ongoing privacy legislation, third-party data is becoming increasingly hard to come by, not to mention unreliable. And while first-party data (like browsing behavior or purchase history) is great for inferring customer needs and preferences, there’s no substitute for asking customers directly for zero-party data. After all, there’s nothing worse than getting offers that don’t apply to you—like men’s slippers when you’re a woman—just because you bought your dad a birthday present in the past. 

As brands double down on zero-party data to supplement what they can infer from customer behavior, they'll need to invest in two-way channels that make sharing information and preferences easy and organic for customers. SMS is a channel that customers already use in their daily lives for relationship-building, so it’s a natural place for brands to engage with shoppers. Indeed, 52% of brands plan to increase their SMS marketing budget in 2023—greater than any other paid channel.

Getting customer phone numbers—and their opt-in to your brand’s SMS channel—is a great first step to getting to know them. 49% of shoppers said they would share their phone number in exchange for a discount, at which point you can ask for  their shopping preferences so you can personalize their experience from the get-go.

Once you get shoppers to opt in to SMS communications, you can then use two-way messages to ask buyers more about their interests. This will enable  you to progressively build out robust customer profiles tto help deliver increasingly relevant experiences—and effective campaigns—across all of your marketing touchpoints.

Personalization goes beyond using customers’ names

Capturing customer data—whether it be first- or zero- party‌ data—is only half the battle. Brands need to deploy customer data in a thoughtful way throughout the customer lifecycle to unlock its full impact. Because timing is everything when it comes to personalization, we’ve seen SMS become just as effective for activating data as it’s become for collecting it, and in turn, helping brands drive repeat purchases and increase customer LTV.

Here are a few personalized SMS campaign examples we’ve found to be successful:

  • Welcome new subscribers with a personalized offer.

Your beauty customer tells you their skin type is dry when they submit their preference collection in your SMS opt-in flow. Send them a discount for your new cream for dry skin in their welcome SMS to show you understand their needs from the very beginning. This will also help drive that first purchase while they’re in a moment of high intent.

  • Convert first-time buyers into repeat shoppers with tailored product recommendations.

A new customer bought a pilates ball as their first purchase. Pilates bands are your most popular purchase in the pilates category, so send them a message suggesting they pick up some bands to take their new workout routine to the next level.

  • Drive referrals with post-purchase messages.

You have a customer who's made a few shoe purchases, so clearly they’re happy with your brand. Use that good will and send them a post-purchase message offering a free travel bag for their shoes with their next order if they refer a friend.

These are some of the most common strategies our customers have found to be effective, but every brand’s customer base is different. The true key to driving the most impact from your personalization efforts is to lean into your own brand’s data, testing, and collecting customer insights. Check out our recent guide with Lexer, Marketing Mix: Personalisation Strategies to Drive ROI, for tips on how to identify the most effective personalization strategies for your brand.

Whether you’re just getting started with basic personalization efforts or you’re ready to scale your strategy with advanced data collection and segmentation, leaning into hyper-personalized campaigns will help your brand stand out in a crowded marketplace and drive outsize revenue from your existing customers.

About Attentive

Attentive empowers the most innovative brands to create meaningful interactions through personalized text messaging.

Attentive® is the leader in conversational commerce, reinventing business to consumer communication. Our SMS-first software platform helps everyone from entrepreneurs to enterprises strengthen relationships with their consumers in a new way. Through two-way, real-time, personalized communications, we drive billions in e-commerce revenue and over 8,000 leading brands like Rebecca Minkoff, Urban Outfitters, Steve Madden, and Charlotte Tilbury rely on Attentive to deliver powerful commerce experiences.

Interested in learning more about how Lexer and Attentive can enhance personalization? Book a demo with one of our retail experts.

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Natalia Rybicka
Marketing at Attentive
Natalia is a Senior Director of International Marketing. During her logged-off hours she enjoys travel, photography, fancy wine, & living an ex-pat life in London.