If you're like most people you experienced some great, and some awful shopping experiences over the past few months. But what made some experiences great and others less than average?

The answer is almost certainly that the good experiences were driven by exceptional service tailored to your specific needs, and the bad experiences were caused by poor and uncaring service. It's the difference between the sales associate that takes the time to understand what you are looking for and helps you find it, versus the sales associate that is too busy texting to be bothered by your questions.

The same characteristics of a good in-store experience also make for a good digital experience. The more personal and relevant the digital experience, the better.

The Personal Touch

If you think about the best in-store customer experiences, you might think about retailers like Nordstrom. What differentiates their in-store experience is providing highly personal and relevant customer service. A Nordstrom associate goes out of his way to help you find exactly what you desire. He provides you with alternative choices based on his experience helping other customers like you, and finally, he personally hand delivers the bag to you after you make your purchase.

These same key ingredients are present when you buy from Amazon. You can find exactly what you are looking for easily and compare alternative choices. It provides recommendations based on your purchase history and other customer’s experiences. Your purchases are handled with care from the time they leave the warehouse to when you receive a text message indicating that your package is waiting at your front door.

Stand Apart from the Crowd

Unfortunately, many traditional retailers don’t apply the same customer experience philosophies to their digital experiences as they do their in-store experiences. They are not leveraging data and technology to deliver personal, consistent customer experiences across their digital properties. These disconnected experiences result in lower online sales conversions and decreased customer satisfaction.

Think about the number of email offers you received over the holidays that were not relevant to your past purchase history with a retailer, and if by chance, you did open and click on an email offer, how often were you linked to the retailer’s site without any content related to the email offer. These are perfect examples of not delivering a personalized digital customer experience.

The traditional retailers that are delivering the best digital experiences are the ones that intelligently use customer data to make relevant offers to drive customers to personalized digital properties. Successfully delivering these personalized experiences requires integration between WCM, CRM, Campaign Management, e-commerce and Fulfillment systems. Linking these systems takes significant effort and clearly indicates a retailer’s commitment to delivering the best possible digital customer experience.

Ultimately, the best retail experiences are the ones that are the most personalized to your needs. The same level of personalization that can be delivered by a store associate is now being delivered by technology. Traditional retailers need to embrace this technology in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  ** RCB **