4 Personalization Ideas Retailers Are Using to Attract Customers

Personalization in retail

By Tricia McKinnon

In the ongoing battle to obtain a greater share of wallet retailers are focusing on personalization.  While personalization may be the goal, determining where to start can be challenging.  

According to eMarketer the most popular categories for personalized goods are apparel and footwear (29%), which is tied with food and beverage (29%) and then technology products come in third (at 27%).  It is estimated that only 26% of consumers have a personalized product but that rate is likely to grow as more retailers capitalize on this trend.  One of the reasons personalization is becoming more popular is because it allows someone to express themselves and standout from a crowd.

If you are trying to figure ways to gain from the personalization trend here are four ideas that can you build on. 

1. One of the best examples of personalization is Coke’s Share a Coke campaign. When the campaign launched in the US in 2014 it featured 250 of the most popular names among American teens and millennials on the outside of Coke cans and bottles.  You may have seen a bottle with your name on it at the grocery store and picked one up for yourself.  By 2015 the campaign featured 1,000 different names.  This has been a great way for Coke to create a personal connection with its customers.   

The campaign was so successful that following the initial launch Coke expanded the campaign to include an eCommerce site (www.shareacoke.com) where customers create and order personalized coke bottles.  Aedamar Howlett, Coke’s Marketing Director for Great Britain commented that: “’Share a Coke’ was a global phenomenon which took product personalization to the next level. The 2014 campaign earned a number of awards and mass-scale engagement with our customers online and in-store.”

2. Leather goods, accessories and paper products company Shinola demonstrates that providing personalization does not have to break the bank.  It offers customers free monogramming on leather goods and paper products such as journals where customers can have their name or initials engraved on their favourite bag or notebook. Customers can also get their jewellery purchases engraved.

3. Nike has brought DIY to the footwear market with its NIKE BY YOU product offering.  When customers go to the NIKE BY YOU section on Nike’s website they can customize shoes by choosing the colour of the swoosh, lining, laces, soles and airbags. Customers can also write a message on the side of a shoe and in some cases they can select the shoe’s material. On Nike’s website it says: “you can be your own footwear designer and customise shoes with the colour, fit and feel that's perfect for your style. You can start with a blank canvas or with inspiration from Nike designers and athletes.” Customers can also add a Personal iD (PiD) to their merchandise to signify the shoe they have designed as their own custom creation.   

4. Nordstrom is another retailer that is focused on personalization.  In its new men’s store in New York city there is a Levi’s Tailor Shop. Nordstrom calls the Levi’s Tailor Shop a one-of-a-kind partnership where customers can have their denim jeans or jackets distressed, hemmed, repaired or elevated with studs and decals. Customers can also have their denim monogramed.  Nordstrom offers this service even if the denim the customer wants customized are not Levi’s.


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