By Stéphane Amarsy,

With customer expectations and contact points on the rise, brands today must personalize their offers to build customer loyalty. What’s more, brands that adopt a data-driven marketing approach—moving from segmentation to individualization—will lay the foundations for their sustainability.

“Phygital” stores created out of a need for sustainability

E-commerce has been transforming the world of retail for some years now. With €103bn in sales in 2019, online shopping grew in popularity among the French (+12.2% in sales in the first half of 2019), forcing brick-and-mortar retailers to reinvent themselves and their role. Phygital—the contraction of ‘physical’ and ‘digital’—describes the increasing digitalization of brick-and-mortar retailers and the interdependent relationship between online and in-store shopping. In other words, brands today must develop and maintain their presence on both channels. Traditional and 100% web-based brands (e.g., Carrefour and Google) have also joined forces to provide a genuinely fluid and omnichannel consumer journey. In fact, 69% of French people do not wish to see brick-and-mortar stores disappear. Online retail behemoth Amazon is even opening physical stores around the world.

In response to the growing expectations of demanding, ultra-connected and mobile consumers, there has been an increase in customer contact points, such as stores, websites, mobile apps, social networks, messaging and smart objects. The main challenge in this ecosystem where interactions have multiplied is how to tackle an exponential volume of data and maintain a personalized, relevant and sustainable customer relationship.


Demanding consumers faced with a multitude of offers

Brands offer roughly the same experience to all their customers, which leads to dissatisfaction.  In France, 61% of consumers reported offers weren’t aligned with their interests, while only 9% said they’d received useful and personalized services. Today’s consumer gets information from the web, checks products in-store, does research on forums or social media and purchases online. It’s clear that typical consumer pathways don’t exist—they are infinite. We can no longer develop scenarios based on sequential, predetermined customer journeys, which result from the search for an overall compromise.



Tomorrow’s businesses will be data-driven

While consumers want user-friendliness, immediacy and evidence, they want to be recognized as individuals above all. For them, brands have to incorporate their life experience, profile, relationship and history with a brand. For this reason, retail companies have naturally shifted to hyper-customization. The debate is not whether the technologies exist; they have been around for a long time. The challenge now is to use these technologies to exploit and enhance all the information available. Sustainability in the retail sector will come from adopting a data-driven and customer-centric approach that moves from segmentation to the individualization of predictive marketing.


We speak of a revolution because we must transform our approach entirely, starting from the individual instead of the product or service being offered. Consumers want a pledge of loyalty from brands. And brands that adapt to individual profiles, places, moments and needs in real-time will see an increase in sales and customer satisfaction. With more relevant and streamlined interactions, an authentic personalized relationship between consumer and brand will develop.