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Sephora, Nordstrom, Rent the Runway rank top 3 brands in retail personalization

Sailthru (part of Campaign Monitor) released its third annual Retail Personalization Index on Tuesday. It ranks the top 100 retail brands according to how well they personalize the customer experience across various channels.

Top brands include Sephora, Nordstrom, Rent the Runway, The Home Depot, Best Buy, DSW, Ulta, and Urban Outfitters.

Sephora wins top spot third year in a row

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sephora landed the number one spot in the rankings — for the third year in a row.

Here’s a sample of the factors that went into their score:

sephora ranked top brand in retail personalization

Note that they scored a full 20/20 on their mobile experience.

Per the report:

“With more than 2,500 stores, Sephora proves that brick-and-mortar experiences thrive when it’s interwoven with a customer’s digital profile — and in Sephora’s case neither are traditional.

The beauty retailer is a pioneer of in-store technology, such as Color IQ, which scans customers’ skin to help them determine the perfect foundations, concealers and lipsticks for their coloring.

With unrivaled in-store events and experiences, Sephora has built a community of Beauty Insider loyalists who retain their lifetime value.

Unified customer profiles across all channels, complemented with on-brand triggered emails and push notifications, keep customers connected wherever they shop.

Sephora’s approach is so seamless that it makes the customer’s entry point irrelevant. Whether it’s in-store, on email, or in-app, the brand meets customers where they are and recommends what they need (and want) to keep coming back for more.”

Top retail brands do two things right

Commenting on the findings, Jason Grunberg, VP of Marketing at Sailthru, said:

“The brands that performed best in the Retail Personalization Index do two things right: They deliver deep personalization on individual channels. And they deliver experiences between channels that keep customers coming back.

Today, the customer controls their shopping experience, and that’s why their feedback drives this research.”

Other differentiating factors

The study also notes these key differences that separated out those retailers who ranked in the top 25:

  • 88% of the top 25 brands have personalized recommendations on their websites versus only 21% of non-ranking brands.

  • 96% of the top 25 brands provide personalized product recommendations via email versus just 23% of non-ranking brands.

  • 84% of the top 25 brands use mobile push notifications versus 10% of non-ranking brands.

Mobile in particular

The report writers note that “in particular, retailers with good mobile personalization climbed the rankings, which reflects changing consumer habits, with global m-commerce transactions set to overtake e-commerce transactions this year.”

Indeed, of the top eight retail brands ranked, only one (Best Buy) scored below a 15/20.

Both Sephora and Ulta got a 20/20, and both Rent the Runway and DSW came in close with a 19/20.

On methodology

To determine the rankings, Sailthru evaluated a mix of 78 attributes around how well retailers use data to personalize and connect the customer experience across email, site and mobile.

These scores were then combined with the results of a survey of more than 1,500 consumers in the US and the UK around customer satisfaction.

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