eCommerce Blog

eCommerce Blog – Opportunities in US and India (by Darpan Munjal)

Personalization & Product Recommendations

Posted by Darpan Munjal On April - 28 - 2008
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The unorganized retail business in India thrives on personalization. You walk into a local kirana (grocery) store and the store owner greets you with your name, asks about the family and then gives you a customary 5% discount for being a long time customer. He also knows the brand of tea you like and recommends you a new brand that just came out and then chats with you for few minutes about last night’s 20/20 cricket match. You end up making some impulse purchases while you are chatting and walk away happy with the overall experience. This level of personalization is a dream for the nationwide organized retailers, and although it may seem simple in a neighborhood grocery store, scaling it to a big-box retailer, with hundreds of employees and thousands of customers a day, is a different story.

But retailers are trying. As the retail environment gets more competitive, physical retailers have started shifting from a product centric to a customer centric mentality to connect with their customers. A large number of retailers now make the assortment decisions for what products to carry in their stores based upon the local demographics of the consumer visiting the store – as opposed to having a “one-size-fits-all” assortment for all the stores across the nation. Despite the serious constraints that are working against them such as supply chain and difficulty in capturing customer insights, the physical retailers are spending significant effort and resources in personalizing their strategies.

What about the online retailers?

One would think that things would be better in case of online retailers – where the customer insights are flowing in with every single click and the technology is available to act on these insights almost on a real time basis. While personalization seems easier to accomplish in that scenario, Read the rest of this entry »

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