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With every passing day, Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report” looks a little less like science fiction. In that 2002 film, retail experiences (indeed, all public experiences) are hyper-personalized – offering up laser-targeted, individual offerings to shoppers based on a scan of their passing faces.

Compare that to the experience of shoppers at the Westfield shopping complex in Shepherd’s Bush, London where, as of early 2020, cameras in and around the mall used facial recognition technology to determine the age, sex, and even mood of shoppers as they ventured through the facility. Based on this input, digital billboards throughout the mall then served up targeted ads as the shoppers passed by.

To some, that level of personalization might seem almost creepy. But it represents a definite glimpse into the future of in-store shopping. Customizing an experience to a shopper’s individual, personal preferences has been one of the largest single trends in retail for the last several years. And it’s only gaining in both prevalence and importance.

The numbers tell the story – people want an experience targeted specifically to them.

80% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand who provides personalized experiences. 

That’s not terribly surprising. The real gut punch for many retailers is this:

80% of those who classify themselves as “frequent shoppers” say they ONLY shop with brands who personalize their experience.

The good news? There are several easy ways to move your business in that direction.

The fact is, most retailers lag far behind consumers’ expectations when it comes to personalizing the shopping experience. But opportunities for improvement are everywhere, and don’t always require a large technological investment. The goal is to personalize critical touch points in a way that best drives value for both the customer and retailer. This could include anything from personalized merchandizing to loyalty and reward programs.

For instance, fashion retailer Chanel has associates follow up with top customers by sending a handwritten note after purchase. It’s a simple, thoughtful, and refreshingly old-fashioned approach that strikes a definite chord with their customers.

Nordstrom and other clothing retailers personalize their e-commerce platforms by “remembering” preferences – from sizing, to style, to color. This same effect can be replicated in-store by using a CRM to create profiles of repeat customers. This allows you to better assist them by using information from their previous visits.

From tailored emails to product recommendations based on previous purchases, there are a host of ways your business can personalize your customer’s shopping experience.

But music selection shouldn’t be one of them.

The right in-store music selection is obviously critical for many reasons – from connecting with customers and creating a positive impression of your brand, to boosting time spent in-store, to increasing purchase likelihood. But one mistake brands often make is to let that desire to “connect” hijack the very brand they’re trying to build.

“You’re trying to personalize music for a brand, not an individual,” says Custom Channels Chief Music Officer and Co-Founder John Bradley. “If you create playlists dictated by customers, you’re letting the customer brand your business – instead of the business expressing its brand.”

In addition to not relinquishing control over the impression your brand makes, there are obvious licensing concerns with letting customers dictate your in-store playlist. And explaining these concerns with customers is just inviting problems.

“Once you start explaining to customers why you can and can’t do certain things, you’ve already lost,” says Kurt Oleson, Director of Operations at Custom Channels.

A much better approach is to turn your sights within – allowing employees to outline their own visions for personalized playlists. This can take the form of individual playlists inspired by individual employees. Or, a company playlist inspired by many employees. Either way, you give employees a reason to stay engaged, talk to customers about what is playing, and enjoy their day a little more.

Yes, we have a horse in this race, but that doesn’t make the opinion wrong. Custom Channels exists to eliminate the potential headaches outlined above. We curate online streaming channels that you can customize to the unique needs of your business while improving engagement with your customers. We work with you and your team to create playlists that connect – fully licensed, high-quality music selections that are hand-picked by our team of passionate music lovers to not only embody your brand, but also create a bond with shoppers.

Think of it as personalization, within parameters.

Learn more about how Custom Channels can help your business further personalize the shopping experience for your customers with our bespoke, licensed playlists and channels. Just visit Music Licensing Basics or give us a call at 303-444-7700.

And tailor a personalized in-store experience like no other.