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How to Turn Your Mobile Site Into a Customization Engine

Customization and personalization are arguably two of the most prolific words that mobile marketers hear on a regular basis. A seamless and memorable mobile shopping experience can’t occur unless the customer leaves feeling satisfied and catered to as an individual.

As brands ramp up their mobile site and app redesigns for the year ahead, adding customizable elements to each touchpoint of the shopping journey should be at the top of their priorities. This can be accomplished by incorporating a select few elements into any mobile site or app.

Last-minute add-ons: Retailers can offer their customers the opportunity to add a customizable detail or monogram to their item prior to checking out—and also show the shopper a visualization of what the personalized product will look like in order to cinch the sale. Luxury fashion house Burberry employed this tactic with its scarf bar, an online and mobile platform that enabled consumers to choose a scarf from more than 100 shades of cashmere and add a monogram for an additional fee. Shoppers who used the platform were privy to an experience that mimicked one of an artisan handcrafting the item for them; they saw the material being spun into the winter accessory before getting adorned with their personal monogram.

The key to driving last-minute add-on customizations is to quickly show the customer a model of the final product—making it easily attainable.

Real-time sync-up: In a vastly different strategy, Starbucks recently redesigned its app to feature a personalized homepage and a music playlist that syncs up with the songs playing in its bricks-and-mortar store. The coffee chain’s longstanding partnership with iTunes greatly benefits from this, as app users can browse the playlist and instantly purchase their favorite tunes. More importantly, My Starbucks Rewards members can see an interactive Stars display that showcases their current rewards earnings in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Users can even leverage their smartphone’s touchscreen to rearrange the constellations and find out how many drinks they must buy before they reach the next loyalty tier. This provides even more of an incentive to make an impromptu purchase.

Although loyalty program tie-ins are more feasible to incorporate into mobile apps, brands that only have mobile sites can still borrow some of Starbucks’ game plan by featuring an interactive homepage that responds to finger taps and swipes. Implementing gamification-like features will especially resonate with mobile-savvy millennials, who have come to expect interactivity wherever they go, and will also set the tone for an enjoyable and memorable experience for the duration of the browsing session.

Emojis everywhere: The emoji craze has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon. This trend has trickled over to the retail world, with brands now releasing emoji keyboards to coincide with new product launches or marketing campaigns. This past fall, cosmetics retailer Sephora took mobile-led customization to new levels with the Sephojis emoji keyboard. Consumers visiting the brand’s mobile site would receive prompts to download the keyboard from the Apple App or Google Play store, upon which they would receive access to a standard emoji keyboard featuring typical makeup-centric emojis, as well as the Color IQ feature.

To take advantage of Color IQ, consumers could visit a Sephora store and ask an employee to conduct a foundation color-matching process on their skin. This culminated in a code corresponding to that individual’s hair and skin tones, which let them discover complementary cosmetics more easily. Sephoji users could then input that code into their emoji keyboards to download a new set of emojis that were customized to their skin and hair tones—resulting in another unforgettable mobile moment.

Customization on mobile sites and apps can take many different forms, none of which are necessarily a clear winner. However, deciding not to add personalized elements to a mobile site—regardless of whether they appear at the checkout stage or not—will make it much more difficult for a retailer to remain competitive. Personalization is expected these days, and consumers won’t let you forget it.

So how are today's retailers stacking up when it comes to offering personalized customer shopping journeys?  Find out. Download the Mobile Retail Report and see where the industry stands. 

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Editor, The Mobile Retail Blog

Editor-in-Chief of The Mobile Retail Blog with NewStore.

Topics: mobile site

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