This is an example of an ecommerce retail email that does not use customer preferences.

Truth is, if retailers were “pioneers of using data to zero in on what customers want,” they should be masters today. There are more tools than ever before to help them create intelligent, intuitive, and real-time experiences that are built off of an understanding of customer preferences.

Towards Personalization 2.0 + new conversations about retail emails

Customer expectations will continue pulling all digital retailers into Personalization 2.0: The Era of Individualization, where marketers are first understanding their customer’s preferences and intent and then leveraging that information intelligently and consistently at all touchpoints—including email.

A customer’s inbox is only one spot in the chain of customer communication (we’ll cover how to create fluid site-to-inbox transitions next week), but it’s still a perfect place to engage them with smart, behavioral emails that surface the most relevant content.

The alternative, in today’s age, feels disrespectful. This is why retailers lagging behind aren’t just going to have poor email open rates—they’re going to get publicly called out by customers and journalists alike.

Brands such as Disney and Godiva are reaping the rewards of delivering individualized emails, and these emails are triggered not on some generic best practice about when humans read their emails but on each individual’s behavior and when they are most likely to engage.

While some readers of Kapner’s piece may find the passage below humorous, digital retailers everywhere should see it as heartbreaking. Customers deserve better.

Cameron Conaway

Cameron is the Director of Content at Reflektion. His work as a journalist and content marketer has appeared in Forbes, Newsweek, and The Guardian, among other outlets. Connect with him here on LinkedIn and on Twitter @CameronConaway.