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Personalization remains a top priority for all brands. The goal of delivering personalized experiences is alive and well. Thanks in large part to significant developments in technology, brands have the power to meet this goal. Still, brands must harness a few different capabilities to achieve it. These include machine learning, data, and analytics, among other things.
Recently, we chatted with two representatives from ICF Next: Andrew Kelly, Partner, Sales and Marketing; and Ken Seaton, Partner, Client Solutions. We heard their thoughts on personalization and the future of retail. They offered numerous insights that our brand representatives should find useful.
What is the biggest challenge you are seeing in the market today?
Andrew Kelly: Brands are facing a whole host of challenges these days. One that comes to mind and that we have seen surface quite a bit of late is addressing personalization. How do brands deliver that at scale across what can be a very non-linear customer experience in an effective way? Personalization isn’t new, but delivering it in a complex, evolving digital ecosystem at the customer level consistently throughout different parts of the journey requires a significant amount of preparation and knowledge in both analytics and digital experience platforms.
How are you responding to this challenge?
Andrew Kelly: Personalization is one element of what brands are trying to achieve these days. Successful personalization should be coupled with relevance, value, even utility in some cases, for it to resonate meaningfully with the consumer. An important aspect of that is understanding and analyzing the customer data available, assessing and mapping out what is achievable, what is possible in the customer experience in terms of personalization and what those expectations and outcomes are, KPIs, etc. That must be the starting point from which you build out.
What is the future of retail?
Andrew Kelly: The future of retail is uncertain. What we are seeing, however, is the continued blurring of lines between online and offline, the irrelevance of channels, supported by an increasingly complex digital ecosystem, powered by data and accelerated through advancements in supply chain technology and the commoditization of certain benefits or services. Leveraging a partner with the right expertise that can help retailers navigate these challenges and changes—one that not only consults on technology, analytics, strategy, design, and experience but also helps deliver and execute those initiatives—in a diagnostic, holistic, and future-facing way is an excellent place to start.
Ken Seaton: The future of retail is changing at warp speed and, not surprisingly, many in retail are struggling to keep up, much less get ahead. In our view, we see three key areas that are driving the future of retail:
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