Most retailers today are faced with the ultimate question: how do we compete with Amazon? And my advice continues to be don’t play their game, play by your own rules. We encourage brands to remember and leverage their key advantage – the opportunity to build unique customer relationships through personal and memorable experiences. This means transcending utilitarian shopping processes to create shopper-driven discovery experiences.
We believe that whether a shopper is walking into a retailer’s store or visiting their website, there is an opportunity to create a serendipitous discovery experience. We think that is less about “targeting” people and more about helping them articulate their preferences and express themselves. As our chairman, Brett Hurt, has reminded me time and again, “Shopping should be fun and exciting!” How do we bring back the fun for our shoppers?
Enter “personalization”, the strategy, not the product. We at Edgecase believe that creating a personalized shopping experience is not so much about what the retailer does “to” the customer but what the customer can do “within” the store. It’s not so much about guessing that a female shopper is likely to buy a “black” “high margin” purse, but about being about to engage with her and understand that she’s looking for something that’s “elegant, well-made, works well for work and evening events, and makes her feel like she’s pulled together.” Her preferences on style, materials, construction and functionality are unique and they matter. If a retailer can’t ascertain or understand these things about her, the shopping experience will be less “fun” and more “frustrating” — they are not going to “get” her or be able to give her the discovery experience she deserves.
Edgecase is not a personalization engine, but we make personalization engines work better. We have products that fit as part of an overall strategy, and we make that strategy stronger when we are involved. By focusing on understanding why the shopper is in the store and empowering them to express what they uniquely care about, the experience naturally becomes differentiated from competitors, including Amazon.
Read more about putting the “person” into your personalization strategy.