Who knows you better than yourself? Amazon and Nike to name a few

Open up Amazon. Immediately suggested items pop up based on your profile and past purchases. Open up any website. Ads pop up based on your previous Internet searches. Open up an item purchase page, and suggested complementary items are found just below.

Years ago, I thought customizing your Nike’s was outlandish, but now, it seems the Internet is being customized for me. It it amazing how tailored the Internet has become to enable users the most efficient and effective shopping experience. As if online shopping was not already convenient enough, we now have customized interfaces that narrow down to items of your interest with no effort on your part involved. So long brick and mortar; online shopping is paving the way with advancements day in and day out.

As data becomes more and more available, companies are taking the opportunity to take advantage of this and use it as a weapon for mass shopping. Not only does this customized interface make it easier for you to shop based on your [assumed] preferences, but it also makes the consumer feel as if the brand knows them and increases brand loyalty. This type of customized experience, known as prescriptive personalization, is becoming more and more popular as online retailers compete for the huge online audience that will only continue to expand.

This type of assumed personalization does can become a bit scary when it begins to predict our life. Think: Target…pregnancy.. ring a bell? How futuristic did that sound and that was only back in 2012 when Target was able to predict a teen’s pregnancy using purchase history and predictive analytics? While it can become a bit daunting to know the internet may be better at picking your preferences and knowing about your life than you do yourself, it is only fair for them to do with the abundance of publically available free data.

The topic of customization has continued to take forefront in the consumer world for many years now. I am interested to see how this continues to develop and impact our purchase decisions.

Janel Parker, Market Research Consultant at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in Marketing and Psychology from Cornell University. Her previous experience at a social media agency combined with her knowledge from SKIM provide for a unique understanding of the relationships between social media and marketing. She can be reached at j.parker@skimgroup.com



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