The trend for personalization of products and services which started from e-commerce and other digital sectors now spans across the whole customer-facing business landscape. Being able to capture and retain customer interest by developing individualized relationships between them and the brand is what distinguishes good companies from great companies that can sustain their growth. In times when customers are overwhelmed with an abundance of products, services, choices, and options, personalization is a strategy that gains in importance for players looking to differentiate themselves from the market. Personalization is not necessarily a novel concept. However, with exponential advancements in and widespread adoption of technologies, this customer centric approach is rapidly creating new propositions and developing new marketplaces.
At a minimum, personalization allows companies to tailor their products and services to the customer needs, gradually building customers’ loyalty to the brand which drives revenue. Leading players, however, increasingly utilize the concept of “hyper personalization”, where they not only tailor their offering to target customers but in fact shape what the customer would want and would need based on in-depth analysis of personal insights and behavioral patterns. Companies who adopt this strategy leapfrog their competition, as they are proactively defining the trends rather than reactively following the rules set by other players.
Source: Business Insider
Personalization can be sector agnostic, with players across multiple industries unlocking the value from personalization of services and experience:
The personalized medicine market size was valued at $2.12 trillion in 2021 and continues to grow with the demand for a more intimate patient experience. The ever-increasing relevance of customization is driven by predictive analytics capabilities coupled with increasing customer expectations for a more targeted and tailored approach to one’s health. The outcome is increasingly personalized supplements and medicine, which ultimately improves the patient experience and overall health. The topic of personalization in healthcare revolves around three key aspects:
- Preventing potential diseases;
- Identifying the most effective treatments for congenital and acquired diseases; and
- Providing access to digital healthcare
Preventive intervention is invaluable to the industry and has triggered the creation of several health-tech start-ups which have disrupted traditional value offerings. One example is Bioniq, a startup which offers personalized vitamins and nutrition advice. It conducts in-depth blood, microbiome and genetic tests that are used to track health and produce tailor made supplements. Each consumer receives a personalized formula that can include up to 120 components, blended into granules for daily intake. Tests and supplements are received to your door via courier, freeing customers from physical visits to labs and clinics. Customers also have the luxury of an app where they have a personalized dashboard tracking all the individual health indicators, updated on a bi-monthly basis. Leveraging the clinical research and extensive data analytics capabilities to deliver customer impact, the startup generated more than $15 million in Series A funding only two years after its launch.
Facing strong pressure from more digitally advanced industries and fintech challengers, banks across the globe have embarked on the journey to re-define their image in the eyes of the customers. Banks are uniquely positioned to utilize the customer data to deliver personalization due to massive data pools and access to customers across multiple touchpoints. By better understanding their customers, banks would be able to not only improve their experience, potentially tapping into the new revenue streams, but also to make the financial system more inclusive by creating targeted offers for underserved segments of the population. A relatively recent trend in the banking industry has been the emergence of neo-banks, which challenge traditional banking business models and are built around personalizing and enhancing customer experience. While new players emerged in this segment, some of the high-street banks remain competitive by launching their own digital banks.
One of the pioneers in the Middle East is the Emirates NBD bank which launched digital bank Liv. Its offering is centered around providing personalized banking solutions that match customers’ lifestyle and needs. Their enhanced KYC and user friendly app helps set up the account in a matter of hours compared to traditional banks in the region which would take days. Additionally, Liv. focuses on providing the ultimate customer experience. Examples include providing customers with insights on their spending habits, while advising on how to optimize it, personalizing customers’ saving goals and populating the app feed with events and activities tailored to customer’s interests and budget. Liv. has further enhanced its personalized banking proposition by integrating with Microsoft Azure to generate real-time insights on customer behavior and transactions to advance customer service and individual offerings through advanced analytics.
With technological advancements, personalization has become one of the most relevant and in-demand trends in the modern fashion industry. Customers become increasingly tired of mass production and the “ready to wear” concept, which suppresses individuality and freedom of expression. With the rise of social media and an increase in trend for the visual aesthetics, people see fashion as a way to build a personal brand and to reflect individual identity. Forward-facing brands have recognized this change in customer behavior and are leveraging data and technology to speak to their customers as individuals. Offline and online personalization differs in the way customers are approached; however, the concept is the same – make a customer feel seen, heard, and taken care of.
The majority of fashion brands have made strong advancements in personalizing the experience and offerings, starting from providing personal online stylists, to guiding customers through the shopping process, to creating virtual dressing rooms. However, the notable market entry has been that of THE YES, the e-commerce platform powered by AI and machine learning that learns about customer preferences the more they use it. The built-in algorithm gets to know customers’ personal style and gives them product recommendations from more than 250 brands and retailers based on simple yes or no answers, adding the element of gamification into the shopping process. Based on the answers customers put for each of the personal style questions asked, the app selects suitable items from across all the partner brands and adds them to the customer’s personal feed. The app is revolutionizing the fashion industry providing a one-stop shop for online shopping while creating a highly personalized experience.
By re-defining how they engage with customers and personalizing the services through available data, organizations can build a mutually beneficial relationship between consumers and the business. However, there are three main factors the organizations should consider to deliver the ultimate experience, while hedging against the potential risks:
- Changing the mindset and cultural behavior of the organization to put customer centricity at the top. This requires a top-down approach where strategic alignment on enhanced value proposition cascades into tailoring the business and operating models.
- Maximizing analytics capabilities by investing in relevant technologies to harness data analysis and predictive modeling, while equipping the team with strong technical experts to deliver quality insights.
- Ensuring data privacy by developing a solid data management framework and having a structure in place for a baseline assessment of data use and its security.
Meet our experts:
Jan Rohde | Strategy Partner, Middle East
Jan is a Partner at Monstarlab BX and has 20+ years of cross-industry experience and has advised clients ranging from start-ups to government entities in over 15 different industries, but focusing on tourism. He is passionate about strategy, transformations and creating extraordinary, innovative customer experiences.