“Personalization” is an overused term. Although it’s not necessarily the wrong way to describe catering to each individual, it’s been used so often that nobody knows exactly what you mean when you say it.
With up to 73 percent of consumers craving “individual retail” (i.e., an individualized shopping experience), the process we’ll be talking about here is something more than personalization. “Individualization” takes a far more customer-specific approach to differentiation.
Individualization focuses on a segment size of one, with content crafted for a single person who is involved in a certain activity at a particular physical location at a certain point in time.
Individualization doesn’t replace personalization; it takes it to the next level by helping brands cultivate real relationships with online users.
As with any relationship, shoppers expect the people—or brands or websites—they interact with to remember who they are after their first meeting and then to act on that information to tailor how they choose to communicate.
These kinds of interactions are, by definition, individualized in real time.