If you’ve spent any time looking at digital commerce trends in the last year or two, you’re likely to have come across the concept of personalisation and how it is becoming ever more important to the customer experience.

And with good reason, research has indicated that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that provides a tailored experience and 70% of consumers say that how well a company understands their individual needs impacts their loyalty.

But new research from Adobe suggests that not everyone truly understands the concept of personalisation and that what is being implemented is best described as stereotyping.


People don’t like being put in a box

There is a huge reliance on putting people into generational groups to form an idea of what might excite them, the types of platforms they might use or at what stage of their life they might be, but the research indicates that more and more people are embracing their authentic selves and aren’t afraid to lean-into their passions, however unconventional or unexpected.

It showed more people think being labelled by their age cohort isn’t helpful or relevant (42%) compared to those that do (31%). Customers want brands to respect their capacity to make choices for themselves, to enable them to explore their interests without restriction.

It went even further and showed that over three-quarters (76%) of people want to be seen as individuals while a quarter (24%) say they either don’t fit many, or any, of the stereotypes associated with their age group. Brands should be there to facilitate and guide, not dictate and control based on an arbitrary age category.

This form of faux personalisation just doesn’t cut it and, in some cases, can do more damage than good.


So how do you start getting it right?

We need to think of the digital commerce interaction in the same way that has made luxury retail so successful in the past. There are brands and stores that pride themselves on knowing every one of their customers like they’re close friends or family members.

They remember birthdays and anniversaries. They remember the last thing you bought so they can make recommendations that include those purchases in the mix. They know if you’re looking for something that is hard to find, is out of stock or coming up, and make sure that the moment it is available, it is reserved and ready for you. But they also keep note of when your tastes change and make sure not to recommend stuff that is no longer relevant to you.

None of this is new or groundbreaking but it is what is expected when we talk about personalisation. You’re not going to be able to do this if the foundation of your offer’s recommendations is based on an age group.

The answer is real-time customer data collection and small but regular thoughtful gestures rather than large one-off offers.

As Adobe puts it “the way to a consumer’s heart is through consistent, thoughtful interactions that demonstrate empathy while showing the brand has a deep understanding of who they are and what’s relevant to them right now. Business leaders need to exploit the shrinking pool of third-party data intelligently to gain consented customer information and build direct relationships with customers through consistent moments of relevant and authentic magic. A Real-Time Customer Data Platform can deliver those small moments of magic, consistently, enabling brands to capture customer information, make it immediately available and actionable to everyone that needs it, the moment it is captured.”

It is this attention to detail that will make you stand out in the very crowded market and allow you to build strong customer loyalty.

The report is packed with other great insights, and we encourage you to head over and look for yourself. The only next step is to take it on board and start to work on a plan to supercharge your customer personalisation.