It’s no secret that the most successful businesses, the stores and restaurants with a loyal customer base do a great job of tailoring the experience to each individual consumer. Sure, there’s a convenience factor, but nothing can replace the feeling you get when the server at your favorite restaurant remembers your “usual.” Or when a store associate picks up on your style preferences and makes recommendations that are just right.

Those are the experiences that keeps you coming back. They know who you are, tune into your preferences and offer suggestions that are well suited to what you like. That’s what personalization is all about.

Online retailers have been trying to personalize the shopping experience for years, but as we all know, delivering a unique shopping experience at scale is easier said than done. Technology has come a long way and it’s becoming easier for online merchants to add a persona touch to the shopping experience. But it takes more than implementing a predictive product recommendation engine to truly offer a personalized experience.

Why it matters? The battle to win the customer has never been more competitive. Today’s tech savvy, mobile buyers are driving change in the marketplace with their behavior and expectations.

Boston Retail Partners’ ecommerce Benchmark Survey gathered feedback from top North American retailers to gain insights into the top priorities for online retailers in 2016 and beyond. It’s no surprise that the overarching theme is focused on providing shoppers a personalized, seamless experience. Let’s take a look at the key findings from the survey:

Key Findings: Top Ecommerce Priorities

  • 31% of retailers indicate a consistent brand experience across channels is a top initiative.
  • 78% of retailers plan to have a unified commerce platform within five years.
  • 45% of retailers indicate mobile websites are their top digital retail priority.
  • 63% of retailers plan to accept Apple pay within two years.
  • 85% of retailers expect an increase in digital sales in 2016.

Retailers that personalize the shopping experience across channels are seeing an increase in engagement, sales and customer satisfaction.

According to a study by Magnetic (formerly MyBuys) and the E-tailing Group, a large percentage of consumers purchase more goods from retailers who:

  • suggest products based on browsing or buying behavior – 53%.
  • are likely to engage with a new brand and purchase when they see relevant, online ads based on current and past behavior – 52%.
  • send personalized emails based on past browsing and buying behavior – 48%.
  • personalize the shopping experience across all of their channels – 48%.

Success in ecommerce really boils down to the ability to deliver a unique experience for each visitor.