Personal shopping has long been the privilege of the elite. For example, at Harrod’s in London, the minimum spend for personal shopping service is the equivalent of $4,000 USD, where you get a personal style coach that will tailor every purchase to your liking.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t spend that much on the average shopping trip, so will the average person ever reach the heights of elite personal shopping? The short answer is yes. Personal shopping is already happening and is helping a much larger group of people make informed buying decisions.
Personal shopping is another arm of the “Concierge Economy.” With apps like Uber and OpenTable, everyone with a smartphone has a driver waiting or a reservation at their favorite restaurant. But, unlike Uber or OpenTable, personal shopping will not be provided by a new service. It will be the same retailers providing a more personalized shopping service to every customer that walks through the door.
By offering customers a self-service retail appointment scheduling option over any channel, a customer’s digital touch point can be converted into a highly personalized, in-store meeting. Once in the store, customers can meet with knowledgeable associates that have instant access to their customer profile and purchase history. Associates can then roam around the store with the customer, armed with a mobile device that gives them in-depth product and consumer knowledge at their fingertips. This enables employees to operate more efficiently and intelligently while providing a shopping experience tailored to each customer’s individual needs.
Intended to be a personal shopper, a new app called Mona allows consumers to enter in preferences and other specifics, such as price. It can even scan your email to look at previous receipts and other retail communications to better inform its decisions. The app then scours the web, presenting the user with potential purchases. However, it misses the mark as a personal shopping service in that it only helps consumers find what they’re looking for. Most people look to personal shoppers for advice based on the latest fashion trends so they can buy what’s going to be popular this year, not last year. Purchases based on past purchase history will only propagate fashion faux pas. It also keeps consumers from discovering new things that they might like. Personal shopping is about having someone more knowledgeable help you make buying decisions. Apps like Mona can’t do that like a real person can in a store where you can also see the product and even try it on.
At the end of the day, it’s virtually impossible to take the person out of personal shopping. The one-on-one experience and feeling of exclusivity is what shoppers crave. What’s more, today’s retailers are already set up to operate this way. In fact, leading retailers are already making strides in terms of creating a highly personalized in-store experience.
TimeTrade recently conducted a survey of 1,029 consumers, which asked in-depth questions regarding their perceptions and behaviors around retail shopping. What the survey reveals is that the in-store experience is more relevant than ever. To learn more about The Power of In-Store Service, click here.