“Lots of swearing”.  I smiled when I read this candid answer to a question by a retail professional in a recent survey* about personalisation.

The question that elicited such a response?  …..“What is the greatest barrier to bridging the gap between online and instore when it comes to personalisation?”

Apart from making me laugh it actually highlighted a real issue that needed exploration.  Whilst 44% of respondents had gone some way to bridging this gap, 56% were still in the ‘swearing zone’! And that’s a lot of swearing!**

Data emerged as the big issue.  Specifically combining multiple data streams across channels in order to deliver the device agnostic shopping experience that the customer demands.  And this is technically more difficult for those retailers that started life as bricks and mortar retailers than those who began life online.

Not surprisingly changes to old style ‘channel specific’ departments and working practises have been undertaken and help retailers to look at data in a unified way.  The emergence of job roles such as ‘Chief Customer Officer’, illustrates this.  But change takes time.

The survey revealed that streamlining of personalisation software is not happening.  Only 34% of respondents had a single software provider for personalisation.  Many are trying to rely on a mix of disparate solutions with many still requiring a high level of data / IT understanding.   And multiple solutions don’t help the data issue or the successful outcome of personalisation campaigns.

Software providers now, are trying to move fast to create solutions for personalisation that use all data streams, linking online and instore experiences without requiring such IT skill.  There are some good options out there, which will allow you to grow with your business, starting small and gearing up to cover all touchpoints across a variety of customer journeys’.

For the retailer they have to sift through the solutions and the sales jargon and find the one which will really add value to their business, they then spend time building the business case, getting sign off and budgets…..this all takes time, BUT perhaps what they should be doing given the proven ROI in the personalisation space, is arguing, ‘Can I afford not to?”

Katie Latham, CEO  of Persomi.

*Personalisation - Can you Afford Not To? (A survey of 100 retail professionals responsible for personalisation by personalisation experts Persomi).

**My sincere apologies offered to any retail professionals who would never dream of uttering a swear word!