Personalization and technology are bringing new life to brick-and-mortar stores, according to a report published by BRP, Boston. However, retailers must infuse digital features into the store environment to exceed customer expectations, compete more effectively and offer a more complete and personalized shopping experience.

Today’s online shoppers are accustomed to features such as product reviews, expansive merchandise choices, one-click transaction processing and personalized recommendations. These expectations don’t dissipate when the customer walks into a physical store. In fact, customer expectations are likely magnified across all channels because most consumers shop more than one channel as part of their shopping journey and expect the same benefits across channels.

In the store, sales associates are an integral part of the necessary personalization, offering relevant recommendations and offerings. According to the study, 79% of customers indicated personalized service from a sales associate was an important factor in determining which store they choose to shop.

“Effective customer engagement requires retailers to offer a personalized, relevant, compelling and consistent experience across channels,” says Ken Morris, principal. “In today’s crowded and highly competitive market, personalization is a critical component for optimizing the customer’s shopping experience. Customer identification is necessary to personalize the in-store shopping experience; however, 63% of retailers can’t identify their customers prior to checkout, which is too late to empower the associate to influence the current purchase decision.”

Key findings include:

Customer identification

  • Customer expectations. 64% are comfortable with retailers identifying them via their mobile phone when they enter a store, as long as it means they receive a personalized experience.
  • Retailer capabilities. 63% are unable to identify their customers prior to checkout, and 20% can’t identify them until after checkout or not at all.


  • Customer expectations. 79% indicate that personalized service is an important factor in determining at which store they choose to shop.
  • Retailer capabilities. 53% indicate that personalization is one of their top customer engagement priorities for 2019.

Personalized rewards

  • Customer expectations. 68% are likely to shop at a store offering personalized rewards based on customer loyalty.
  • Retailer capabilities. 48% currently offer personalized rewards based on customer loyalty and another 30% plan to offer within two years.