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You can pin this personalization mandate on the Amazon effect. While you may think references to Amazon are overused, there are good reasons this retail giant continues to dominate conversations about how to satisfy customer expectations.

Read on for statistics that highlight both the opportunities and challenges in online retail, along with best practices and tips for how to address them.

56% of consumers say Amazon demonstrates an understanding of their individual preferences and needs on a regular basis—a number that dwarfs consumers’ feelings about traditional retailers (source: Swirl Networks, 2015).

Understanding your audience’s individual preferences and needs goes beyond knowing what products shoppers are interested in and the price they’re willing to pay. This understanding of individual preferences is about analyzing shopper behaviors and tendencies—even as they shift over time—to present the most relevant, compelling messages, offers and products. To then convert that insight into action, you must design your site and present the right content in a way that resonates each and every time with that shopper, whether she’s on her laptop, mobile phone, or tablet.

And consumers have spelled out what retailers will get in return for satisfying their demands: 

88% of consumers say they’re more likely to shop with retailers that deliver personalized and connected cross-channel experiences. (source: Swirl Networks, 2015) 

Why do shoppers respond by shopping with these retailers? Because the retailers who deliver a personalized experience make shopping effortless, convenient, inspiring, and relevant. And for today’s time-starved shoppers, such an experience—particularly one across channels—is a refreshing and welcome change. Remember: today’s consumers are continually switching devices during their shopping journeys and slogging through unwelcome and irrelevant messages and offers at every turn. Any retailers still devising plans to enable a seamless cross-channel experience had better pick up the pace. 

60% of shoppers say they plan to start making more purchases on their smartphones in 2016. 54% are more likely to shop with a retailer that makes it easy to buy on several devices and platforms. (source: Facebook IQ, 2016) 

It’s no wonder consumers embrace the retailers that help them zero in on and keep track of products of interest. In fact, it’s another reminder to truly understand and support the shopping experience from the consumer’s perspective. Only retailers think of shopping from a channel perspective; to consumers, it’s simply shopping, regardless of how and where they are engaged in the activity. Those retailers who grasp and satisfy this reality are reaping the rewards.

94% of companies see “higher engagement and conversion rates” as benefits of a commitment to customer experience (source: Econsultancy, 2015)

Consumers have demonstrated their willingness to spend more with the retailers who deliver a shopping experience that matches their expectations. And why do shoppers reward these retailers so handsomely? Because they recognize the value of doing business with a retailer that has taken the time to understand who they are and what they want and designed an e-commerce experience that delivers without fail.

Clearly, retailers that can answer the call for personalization stand to win big. Simply put, both short- and long-term revenues and profitability are at stake. But personalizing the customer experience requires more than inserting the correct first name into an email. In fact, to get website personalization right, you must overcome the five key challenges we explore in our new ebook:Thriving in the Era of Personalization: 5 Challenges for Retailers to Overcome. Download it today and learn how to deliver the Amazon-like experiences today’s shoppers expect.