Customization and omnichannel in retail

A personalized shopping experience is very important, because it transforms a trivial purchase phase into a real interaction with the customer, and is important for two reasons: a practical one (the customer perceives they have had an experience tailored to their needs) and a psychological one (the client is treated as a person and not as a consumer). The customer expects these attentions, because he is often convinced that the store world is (and should be) centered on him. Customers do not think about marketing and business priorities and expect that the society they are part of and nurture matches their worldview: entirely self-centered.
Chris Shaw, Director of Product Marketing at Manhattan Associates reminds us that: "Looking back at three, four or five decades, personalization was simply the way business was done, at least by the best traders of that time." The mission of his company is to provide retailers with information on individual purchasing experiences that allow them to offer exceptional and personalized service.
Today, the customer experience in buying omnichannel translates into the possibility of, for example, ordering on the phone, following up on the order by e-mail, picking-up the order in a store, returning a part of the order to a different store, with updated customer records and company inventory.

A first example of omnichannel is the one told by Shaw: "When my grandfather, who was an engineer and a mechanic, came into his local hardware store, the people who worked there knew who he was and knew what kind of products he was buying. They would get to stock some brands of tools simply because they knew that Hugh Shaw would buy those instruments.". This example shows how the elements of practicality and psychology were already present: the hardware managers knew their client well and were organized around his needs.
But there were important limitations: a shop, at the time, had limited suppliers, a few hours of activity and the custom model jammed when, for various reasons, the store had to close for some time.
Today, properly trained and efficient employees are the most important resource that a store has to customize the customer experience; there is no better way to build a relationship with the customer than through their employees. Technology offers many opportunities, intelligently designed and implemented digital assistance has the potential to improve personalization, such as customer recognition and recognition of what they are looking for. The recognition studies show an increase in the amount of time and money that a customer wants to spend in a store and the enthusiasm with which they want to return. Shaw: "Our direction is to understand who the customer is and make their experience as easy as possible, and to help create great shopping experiences regardless of how or where they want to buy or receive their items."

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