Beyond peer-to-peer communication comes yet another aspect of modern life—the interaction of systems with the user. Every person born after 1995 has become accustomed to service providers and e-commerce knowing exactly who they are. And though tracking is not new, the idea in 2021 of businesses knowing their customers as individuals has grown to an all-time high.
Today, Millennials and Gen Y are not only comfortable having their information tracked, but they’re also comfortable giving businesses their personal data in order to receive more enhanced personalized experiences. They are also incredibly savvy in terms of choosing who they give their personal information to—understanding how social media, eCommerce, social connectivity apps, and more can all work to their personal advantage. Meanwhile, we are also seeing younger populations having an influence on technology and—by extension—on people far older than themselves. Now, Gen X and even Baby Boomers are adopting technology in their everyday life in the same way that younger generations have for years.
As people of all ages embrace mobility, apps and data as the epicenter of their daily connected lives, customer and user expectations have evolved and grown. People are now conditioned to know that the more detail they provide to apps and entities, the more personalized that information, offers and ads become.
That expectation for personalization is now firmly rooted in the belief that all companies should know their customers intimately—as individuals—to ensure that all communications and promotions are geared to them and only them. Or, put another way, to ensure customers receive a stand-out experience with every interaction.
The days of generalized advertising—that is, creating and sending the same message or offer to groups of people based on limited shared traits—went the way of the dodo years ago. The saddest part is that there are businesses out there who must know inherently that times have changed, yet they still believe traditional segmentation is effective. They don’t realize that their marketing is catering to a generation that is used to—but moving past—old-school tactics.
So where does this leave business—particularly grocers and restauranteurs? They are the last holdouts of the old guard, where segments and target markets are still believed to work. To be blunt, as data and associated tech continue to skyrocket in 2021, I fear that many of these businesses simply won’t be able to keep up with customer expectations, not to mention competitors. More and more, we are seeing brands across every vertical market jumping on the personalization bandwagon, creating and offering stand-out experiences to customers every day—enabled by the latest solutions and analytics.
Today’s reality is that customers expect personalization, right across the board. If a person’s bank knows them really well, then they’d better have that same or even a better customer experience at their favorite restaurant—because in customers’ minds, it’s the same thing. And to tell you the truth, they aren’t wrong. But this presents new challenges to businesses. After all, when every company works really hard to deliver stand-out personalized experiences, standing out in that crowd becomes harder and harder. Those that fail will become victims of customers voting with their digital wallets—gravitating towards the businesses who have successfully met their expectations for personalization, and away from those that appear not to care.
Stand-out experiences are the new goal post to which all businesses are measured—and grocers and restauranteurs are not immune to the new world of delivering on digital expectations. To compete in the new digital economy, you need to stand out by delivering stand-out personalized customer experiences. If you don’t, you will simply be standing out in a field all by yourself.
Allan Zander is the Chief Executive Officer at omNovos and a regular keynote speaker on the subject of Digital Transformation. Allan loves the entire process around the “art of the possible” - whiteboard sessions where he gets to turn problems into ideas, ideas into solutions, and solutions into businesses. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter to start a discussion or even discover a new dinner recipe.