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This year has certainly taken its toll on the retail market. Thankfully, merchants can see the holiday shopping season just over the horizon. 

But like most things in 2020, this holiday season will be . . . different

With 70% of shoppers making the majority of their holiday purchases online, retailers need to pull out all the stops to give customers what they want – Personalization.

Personalization in a Socially Distant World

Modern consumers have come to expect personalization. A survey of frequent shoppers found that 80% will only shop with brands that personalize their experience.  

However, thanks to social distancing, shopping conditions will be much different. This makes personalization more important than ever – yet also harder to deliver. 

Luckily, technology can provide an assist. Let’s look at how to tackle personalization during the most digital holiday shopping season ever.

One-on-One Assistance…Virtually

One aspect many holiday shoppers will miss is the personal touch of in-store associates. When customers have questions about product features or need a gift recommendation, store associates are there to help. 

Now, retailers need a way to extend this in-store experience to online shoppers. Some ideas include:

  • An Augmented Reality app to help shoppers “try on” products for their home or personal style (makeup, fashion, accessories, etc.).
  • VR walk-throughs of your store, featuring products and deals that align with customers’ demographics and preferences.
  • Virtual Assistance from your associates in real-time, allowing customers to receive help from a live person – including getting recommendations and asking questions about products they’ve never seen or touched in person. 

There are ways to launch this capability in time for the holidays. For example, Pivotree’s Virtual Associate Solution for Assisted Selling can integrate with your existing commerce site. The platform’s Live Chat and Video Chat provide virtual one-on-one interactions for a personal selling touch.

The Sales Companion Console empowers sales associates to assist customers, which helps them boost average order size, capture new customer data, and build stronger relationships. Because we can help you integrate this SaaS platform in a matter of weeks, you can get it up and run in time to impact holiday sales.

Intelligent Search

While some customers crave one-on-one interactions with associates, others are the “No thanks, I’m just looking” type. Merchants can convert these browsers into buyers through intelligent online search.

With Intelligent Search, you can:

    • Understand buyer intent: Leverage product information and behavioral data to deliver targeted search results and recommendations.
    • Improve product findability: Unify contextual data and content from multiple sources (such as YouTube, product reviews, and how-to articles) to inform buying decisions.
    • Leverage automated merchandising: Utilize machine learning to automatically integrate customer intent with your business goals to direct shoppers to products and pages aligned with their needs and your bottom line.

Accomplishing these goals is possible with the Coveo for Commerce platform. Utilizing our Coveo expertise, we’ve helped retailers deliver personalized searches powered by AI and machine learning. 

Coveo is the only digital commerce engine that combines product and content discoverability – so you know what your customers want, what they’ll need, and what they’ll wish for next. 

According to Coveo customer Caleres, the platform helps them provide “relevance, personalization, and smooth, impressive experiences on the website that just feel easy and natural.”

The Essential Element: A Data Foundation

According to Forrester Principal Analyst, Brendan Witcher, 90% of organizations say they are focused on personalizing customer experiences; yet only 40% of shoppers say the information they get from retailers is relevant to their tastes and interests.

Clearly there’s a disconnect. How can sellers provide more individualized experiences? By operating based on a foundation of customer and product data.

By combining customer data with reliable product data, you can pinpoint product offerings that are the perfect match for your customers based on their affiliations, priorities, attributes, demographics, relationships, career, social behavior, and more. 

With Pivotree’s expert guidance, you can lay the data foundation for an evolving commerce strategy – including launching a PIM platform with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in time for holiday shoppers.

Personalization is Just One Piece

One out of every five retailers claim their future depends on the results from this holiday season. The stakes have never been higher – and we want to help you succeed.

Personalization plays an essential role, but it’s only one piece of your online commerce puzzle. To help you get your online systems fully-armed and operational for this ever-important shopping season, we’ve created The Ultimate 2020 Holiday Prep Guide.

Click below to download the Guide. And look out for next week’s blog covering another crucial aspect to your holiday preparation.