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How To Deliver A Personalised Customer Experience At Scale in Retail Stores

Jed MoleMay 04, 2017

Accurate personalisation is a core component when creating successful customer experiences. But when you have an annual customer audience of 76 million – as Heathrow airport does – how can you deliver accurate, relevant personalisation at scale?

How to Improve Customer Experience in Retail Stores At Scale

Well before Heathrow introduced technology such as smart car-park barriers and geo-fences, the team understood the value of personalisation.

Knowing that members of their original ‘Heathrow Rewards’ programme spend three times more per-visit (on average) than non-members; it’s clear that creating a good customer experience can result in increased retail revenue for the airport.

For Heathrow to maximise that mutual benefit – matching customers with their favourite retailers for best results – they needed to enhance personalisation within their customer experience offering.

Metrics for delivering effective personalisation

In order to deliver even a basic level of personalisation, Heathrow needed to segment their audience and choose the metrics most likely to reward both customer and marketer. But, with an audience of 76 million customers, each with a diverse set of interests, habits and airport behaviours – selecting these metrics was no small task.

Ultimately Heathrow adopted a range of key performance indicators to assess the effectiveness of personalisation activities, with a prime focus on three key metrics:

  • average transaction value
  • spend per visit
  • cross category spend

Why these metrics?

Because these KPIs reflect the reality of how people shop. Every customer will have their favourite retailers, but each will also have a spending limit. A pure focus on increasing people’s spending would be a narrow-sighted move that creates a predictable and repetitive customer experience.

Instead, those three KPIs (in conjunction with many more), work to find a balance between what customers want and what retailers want.

For example:

  • Heathrow may know that a regular customer likes luxury watches. However, they also know that that customer won’t repeatedly buy the Cartier timepiece that made them a high-value customer in the first place. But, that customer is likely to make other high-value purchases, such as personal shopping experiences, premium lounge access, or a pre-flight glass of Champagne.
  • Since that customer is already a big spender in one category, the system will prioritise cross-category spend and send personalised offers for items and experiences in a similar spending bracket, albeit in a separate category. The incentive here is not just to spend more, but to explore more; in addition to receiving new and varied offers, the customer can discover retailers and services they didn’t know about before.
  • Meanwhile, frequent high-street clothes shoppers might receive an offer for their favourite outlet, or an offer for 15% off at Burberry. Even those just ordering a sandwich and a coffee can get 20% off food at a restaurant if they return multiple times in a year.

The Heathrow Airport Retail Experience

By improving the customer experience with personalisation, Heathrow aims to get happy customers onto flights; customers who’ve had a great experience.

Ideally part of that experience will include a purchase or two – and that’s important; as Heathrow knows that the retail experience of being able to get the food, drink, treats, and airport gifts visitors want, makes a significant difference to customer happiness.