In previous years, when companies wanted to sell a product, they could devise the perfect generalised advertisement to bring in new customers and revenue. Now, in the era of customisation, it takes more than clever marketing to draw in consumers.

These days, people are far more interested in shopping experiences with an air of personalisation. More and more companies have adapted to the use of AI and machine learning to help them directly target the demographic most likely to buy their products by essentially getting into the consumer’s head and giving them exactly what they want. 

Recent research by Epsilon found that close to 80% of those surveyed would prefer to purchase if the experience was customised to suit their unique and modified needs. This changes the game in a big way.

The business side

When it comes to marketing a product, many companies target as many people as they can in an attempt to reach a wide audience and bring in more customers. Companies that did not offer any personalisation were less likely to keep the consumers they already had or create lifelong customers. 

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A report from Monetate showed that there was a direct link between consumer loyalty and personalisation efforts. As eCommerce is growing faster in Southeast Asia than in any other region, now is the time for retailers and service providers to step up their personalisation efforts to retain consumers.

Different levels of personalisation in business are at the forefront of many new marketing campaigns. Companies such as Netflix and Spotify have been leading the way when it comes to this targeted approach. Netflix lets you know when a series you like is dropping again and makes recommendations based on your previous viewing behaviour. Spotify even goes so far as to compile a weekly playlist based on your taste in music. This level of personalisation is on the upswing, and startups will need to take note of how it works, and why customers love it.

Can scalability and personalisation coexist? 

Scalability, driven by the sheer number of new customers a company can bring on with limited marketing efforts, can be enhanced through personalisation. It may not appear that the two can work in harmony together. How can a company target everyone by essentially only targeting one person? However, with the increase in consumers looking for a customisable experience, scalability relies on the amount of personalisation a company can offer.

Personalisation on a grander scale will involve many different tactics. Businesses need to determine which groups can be put together and drive their efforts towards each group separately. Target market definition (TMD) places groups with similarities such as location, affluence, and demographic traits together to allow for personalisation on a grander scale. 

Customer relations have never been more important 

Consumers want to know whom they are doing business with and the prevalence of widespread communication via social media sites has given them the ability to feel connected with big companies. This closer connection hands the customer more power over the success, or failure, of any given business. 

Word of mouth is no longer limited to the local community. It is now a worldwide phenomenon, spread with the instant release of a Tweet, making it vital that startups address customer engagement and personalisation right out of the gate. 

Consumer data specialists, Segment, found that customers were not only more likely to stay loyal to a company if they offer tailored experiences, but they were also willing to spend more on targeted products. Targeting customers based on personal recommendations also encourages impulse purchases. 

Will overall growth rely on customisation?

If consumers are less likely to purchase from a company or become frustrated with a company because of their lack of customisation, lifetime loyalty may suffer. This hindrance on customer loyalty negatively affects growth. 

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A Taylor and Francis Online report stated that retaining customers was much less expensive than recruiting new ones. This reiterates the fact that startups should come out strong with personalisation to bring on as many new lifelong customers as possible. 

Southeast Asian startups are doing it right 

Although all startups should take heed of the personalisation factor in new business, many already have the model down pat. Lazada, for example, gave their mobile shopping app an upgrade in 2016 to help give consumers the unique experience they were seeking. 

Singapore-based unicorn, Grab, suggests ride-hailing journeys and food deliveries using previous selections, showing consumers they know who they are and delivering a personal service.  

While many companies in Southeast Asia are already using AI and machine learning, more startups must adapt to the personalisation demand of today to keep up with the current eCommerce trends. To ensure growth across all boards, customers want to feel seen, heard, and considered in all things.