When I was a kid and shopped with my mom, as soon as we entered the local shop, the shopkeeper would know exactly what we were there to buy.

He recognized my mom from prior visits, and he was always ready with recommendations based on previous purchases, conversations, and preferences. I viewed the shopkeeper as a friend, someone who knew my family and me, and who was there to help us. We were satisfied customers, and my mom never thought to look for another shop.

The shopkeeper achieved true customer loyalty because he made our experience feel personal, not just personalized.

Know Your Customers Before They Buy

Large corporations and e-commerce retailers have tried to replicate this small-shop experience by using new-age digital and personalized marketing techniques.

However, relying on technology to personalize brand experiences does not mean personal, human interactions are no longer necessary.

In fact, as Big Data technologies evolve, brands can get to know customers on a personal level before they make their first purchase. The data gives brands the opportunity to create more memorable, personal interactions (reminiscent of the small-town shopkeeper scenario), become a customer's companion, and improve customer experience.

Customer Data: The Key to Bringing Back the Shopkeeper Sentiment

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image of Dave O'Flanagan

Dave O'Flanagan is CEO of Boxever, a Dublin-based predictive marketing and customer intelligence company for travel retailers.

LinkedIn: Dave O'Flanagan