Thriving in the Era of Personalization:
5 Challenges for Retailers to Overcome

An executive-level guide to avoiding the major pitfalls of modern retail and succeeding through intelligent testing, optimization, and personalization

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Keeping Up with Consumer Expectations


Standing Out in a Saturated Market


Customer Acquisition vs. Lifetime Value


Seamless M-Commerce Experiences


Converting Browsers into Buyers


When Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994, it sparked a retail revolution—even if Bezos didn’t know it yet.

Today, Amazon’s model has changed how, where, and why we shop, and the company’s ubiquity— both in the variety of its product offerings and its consumer reach—is threatening the future of many retail brands.

In fact, according to one report, Amazon now accounts for 51 cents of every dollar in e-commerce growth and over a quarter of e-commerce sales.

Bring this up to a retail executive who works for a company not named Amazon, and you’ll likely hear them raise concerns about competing against the giant on price and shipping. While both are legitimate concerns given the economies of scale Amazon enjoys, a 2015 study suggests those factors aren’t what really set Amazon apart.


of consumers say they’re more likely to shop with retailers that deliver personalized & connected cross-channel experiences.


say those connected, customized experiences would also increase their loyalty to that brand.

Instead, the study found that Amazon’s ability to leverage data and analytics to personalize each customer’s shopping experience was one of its most powerful differentiators.

In fact, 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). Even more interesting, however, is the value that consumers place on personalization and connected cross-channel experiences.

Therein lies the challenge for retailers today.

Today, your brand isn’t just competing with Amazon on price, shipping, or ubiquity. You’re also competing on the quality of the end-to-end experience. And you’re being asked to do that at a time when consumer behavior is increasingly ephemeral and, at times, completely irrational.

The good news? Thanks to the increasing sophistication of tools built to optimize every aspect of the customer experience, retailers can now overcome the challenges that keep them from delivering the Amazon-like experiences their customers expect.


Abercrombie and Fitch: Committed to Optimizing the Customer Experience

Customers today want a relationship with a brand not a channel and they have high expectations for having a seamless experience regardless of how they interact with the brand.

-Billy May

SVP of Digital
Direct to Consumer and Corporate Development
Abercrombie and Fitch

Across this site, we’ll explore five challenges that are unique to retail and provide tips to help you:

01Keep up with—and, ideally, get ahead of—rapidly changing consumer expectations

02Stand out in a saturated market and compete against retail giants

03Optimize the user experience to improve loyalty and increase lifetime customer value

04Create truly seamless, conversion-driving cross-device experiences

05Convert “browsers” into “buyers” and reduce shopping cart abandonment

As you read on, keep this in mind: Delivering truly optimized, personalized customer experiences isn’t just about including someone’s name in an email. It’s about understanding behavior at a granular level and continuously ensuring your customers get the experience they want. After reading each chapter of this site, you’ll have a framework to overcome these challenges and achieve your goals.

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