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How to Personalize the In-Store Experience

As brands move more and more into experiential marketing programs, a marketer’s ability to extend their brand has been given new life. Instead of just old-school pricing discounts, personalization requires the brand to provide experiences beyond just purchase, shipping, and customer service.

How can you increase the Average Transaction Value (ATV)? How can you raise conversion? What kind of foot traffic can you drive? What is marketing spend ROI? What is your segmentation? What is the Customer Lifetime Value?

A modern way of talking about these metrics is personalization. McKinsey & Company talk about this term in their article titled “Personalizing the Customer Experience: Driving Differentiation in Retail“.  

During an economic downturn, a downturn in foot traffic is to be expected. When foot traffic returns, revenue will climb. That’s when a brand must determine what motivates a particular user segment or risk, throwing good money at bad by being satisfied with more sales-driven approaches, or simply by more boots in your store or buyers on your site. 

Experiences Drive Personalization

Today’s consumer requires this personalization, and brands provide it by creating experiences that excite and map to a consumer’s five senses. A key learning from personalization is that marketing spend should focus on repeat customers who have consistently purchased your product and are willing to spend more for experiences. These customers, and not the highly price-sensitive buyers, drive your revenue and ultimate success. 

In the 1980s, Experiential Marketing meant that you might get a cup of soup with a hat purchase or something lame like that. In the movie Caddyshack, Rodney Dangerfield states, “You buy a hat like this, I’ll bet you get a free bowl of soup, huh?” Ted Knights‘ character is wearing the same hat. Rodney says, “Oh, it looks good on you, though”.

Today a much more sophisticated approach such as tours, access to specialty products, tastings, and classes is necessary. Below are some great examples of brands that are doing this well.


The company’s mobile app encourages customers to book in-store makeovers and fashion consultations. The app can find a store, check if an item is in stock, and book a reservation. The app also allows customers to try on products virtually and to receive recommendations based on their personal beauty traits.


Nike has taken personalization to the next level by allowing customers to configure their clothes and shoes. The company recently launched a 3D sneaker customization platform that enables shoppers to generate real-time, shareable snapshots of finished footwear.

Best Practices

Brands realize that they need to take a giant step forward to map experiences to a consumer’s five senses. It is important to reiterate here that personalization only works once a brand has acquired a customer. The best practices below will provide a boost, but there is no easy way around the initial acquisition. 

1. Data Access and Integrity

There needs to be a repeatable, trusted process when capturing data, which is necessary to run a personalization program. Start simple and build upon it over time. Initially, keep the process and metrics simplistic to arrive at a quality of metrics instead of a vast quantity of metrics.

2. Customer Segmentation

It is critical to segment your customers across several attributes such as time of day, ATV, number of items purchased, shopper yield, etc. Without proper segmentation, you will overspend on marketing in some segments and underspend on others. 

3. Experience Matching

Take the steps of your pre-sales, conversion, and post-purchase process and map that to a list of potential experiences the brand can create. Monitoring of experiences over time will determine which create value and reach personalization goals. 

4. Analysis Paralysis

Finally, do not wait for everything to be perfect to begin. Determine your measuring metrics and start A/B testing of your initial experiences and review, update and continue to improve.

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