Personalization and customization: what is the difference. How to implement a personalized approach to sales?
12.08.2019 13044

Personalization and customization: what is the difference. How to implement a personalized approach to sales?

The sweet times when demand exceeded supply in the market have long sunk into oblivion. Players of the shoe market, who for a long time considered price and quality to be their unique selling proposition, notice: there are fewer and fewer buyers and new ways to keep customers are to be found. And the thing is that in an overheated market, the price and quality of the product become not a competitive advantage, but a basic condition. In other words, this is not enough for the buyer to remain loyal to the brand. New tools to strengthen loyalty appear, and today personalization and customization are considered one of the most trending. Expert SR, business coach Maria Gerasimenko, talks about new approaches to working with customers.

Maria Gerasimenko Maria Gerasimenko -

CEO of Fashion Advisers and the first online school for fashion business Fashion Advisers School, expert in business management and development, business coach. Fashion business management experience - more than 12 years. Successfully defended 2 MBA dissertations (Mirbi International Higher School of Economics, Russia, Moscow, 2013) and London Metropolitan University (Great Britain, London, 2017)

Main areas of activity: strategic and anti-crisis management of the shoe business, assortment matrix management, development of motivation programs, conducting trainings in the field of management, service and sales. Clients include: Unichel, Tamaris, s'Oliver, Kotofey, Rieker, Sinta Gamma, Helly Hansen, Rusocks and others.

Personalization and customization are one of the most popular and effective ways to maintain customer loyalty in retail and services. Often these concepts are considered interchangeable. Indeed, their goal is the same - to provide a product that will be in demand by the buyer, taking into account the needs of this buyer. However, there is still a difference between them.

Personalization more relevant to the collection and analysis of large amounts of customer data. This approach allows you to accumulate sales information in the future, use it both for data analysis, and when working with a specific customer. Data is collected by sellers in a conversation with the buyer, through applications, SMM, etc. Desperate marketers of the old school, in turn, hope for the completeness and accuracy of the data left in a paper form in the cashier area of ​​the store.

Big Data Analysis allows you to create a portrait of the target audience: gender, age, assortment preferences, lifestyle, contact points with advertising, hours of active use of social networks and much more. This helps the company better understand its consumer, correctly formulate a proposal, an assortment matrix, use the most effective advertising channels and much more. In other words, we make the business more customer-oriented, without involving the client himself in the process.

Customization - this is an opportunity for the buyer to take part in choosing the model, material, color and accessories for shoes or bags, without the participation of the buyer it is impossible. Among European brands, the boom of customization projects fell on the 2014-2016 years. The trend was supported by many brands, including luxury ones: Furla, Gucci, Nike and others. However, among the majority of other market players, this tool is starting to gain popularity only now. This service allows the buyer to get a unique product, however, due to the production of unique commodity units, the economies of scale are lost in production, which means that the production time and cost of the product increase.

It's early to get upset! There are other ways to customize your product: you can add embroidery, metal fittings, stickers with the image of flowers, animals, zippers, superheroes and other motifs from the brand’s collections, as well as a customer’s monogram or any other inscription.

When we say that the buyer does not come to the store for a purchase, but for an emotion, customization is the way to double it! Indeed, the emotion from ownership and the joy of the work done are added to the emotion from the purchase.

This is what attracts the experience of customization for most companies - a significant strengthening of consumer loyalty.

Everything has its pros and cons, customization is no exception:

  • customization makes the sale longer: both the process of the seller’s work with the buyer in the store and the decision-making process on the purchase;
  • it takes longer to produce a custom thing, but you can control the depth of customization and offer only what is beneficial to you. There is an interesting Nike case. On its official website, the brand offers to customize purchased sneakers: choose colors, material and even a personal inscription on the back;
  • another caveat - in the mass segment, customization works if the price of a personalized product exceeds, by no more than 15%, the price of the base model.

Personalized service

Each of us regularly becomes a buyer, client, passenger and patient. We gain positive and negative experience in communicating with representatives of companies and stores. It is often difficult to even clearly articulate what exactly we liked or, on the contrary, pushed away. The customer’s experience is influenced by the atmosphere as a whole and the communication with each employee individually.

What exactly can we do for the perfect store service?

1. Contact the buyer by name. Do you often see customers being called by name? Meanwhile, sellers miss a colossal opportunity from the very beginning to build the right dialogue with the buyer. It's so simple: introduce yourself and find out how you can contact the buyer!

However, the impersonal and standard “Good afternoon, what to tell you” and “Girl, try on this model!” Most of us hear regularly.

2. Listen carefully to the buyer, ask the right questions. This item seems to be taken for granted. But, as practice shows, upon hearing “I have the 38 size”, the seller begins to offer everything that is in the store of the named size. Starting, as usual, with the new collection. And selling, first of all, goods from the new collection, or an assortment with indecent discounts.

3. Do not try to reach all customers at once. If you started working with one buyer, and if the rest of the sellers are busy, then the client who has entered the store at this moment must:

  • to greet (always with a smile, without leaving your client);
  • Further, the buyer needs time to navigate the store;
  • if the buyer asks a question or asks for your help - answer briefly, orient, offer a drink of coffee / water and ask to wait a bit. When a seller tries to combine two customers, he usually loses two. Each buyer needs attention, support, help, a side view, psychological work - this is not selling shoes for you, but working with people who came to buy comfortable / fashionable / stylish shoes!

4. Maintain a favorable atmosphere in the store.

How comfortable is the atmosphere of your store? Rate your store for each item from 0 to 10, where "0" is the minimum rating, "10" is the maximum:


from 0 to 10

Name of the factor of the store’s interior

Comfortable air temperature 

Good room ventilation

Lighting. Brightness, color, directivity

Music plays according to the status and mood of your target audience.

The aroma. The absence of extraneous odors, the use of specialized, professional aromas

Merchandising. Does your visual merchandising stimulate a complex purchase, do you have monotony of the layout, is the store zoned correctly.

Even with the world's best employees, maximum customer focus and personalized service, but lack of the right store atmosphere, it is difficult to attract and retain customers. And vice versa: with the perfect atmosphere, but without the right people, it is impossible to maintain customer loyalty. Find the right balance, love your customers - and success will not take long.

This article was published in the 158 issue of the print version of the magazine.

The sweet times when demand exceeded supply in the market have long sunk into oblivion. Players of the shoe market, who for a long time considered the price and ...
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