Written in Stone: How and Why to Implement Personalization

Why investors are interested in subscription-based services and personalization

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Keepsakes, mementos, treasures, heirlooms — whatever you call them, everyone has certain things that they hold dear. For many people, hand-written notes fall into that category. In a world filled with 240-character tweets, rapid-fire text messages, and a stuffed email inbox, getting a hand-written note means more than ever. Even if it comes from a brand.

Personalization is one of the buzziest words in ecommerce, and every business is trying to find a way to give its customers the best, most personal experience possible. David Wachs is helping them with that.

Wachs is the CEO of Handwrytten, a company that uses robots to send personal, hand-written notes.

“Handwritten notes not only do they get opened, but they get treasured,” Wachs says. “Handwritten envelopes, just the envelopes, have a 300% open rate than printed envelopes [and] response rates are anywhere from 20 to 50% higher.”

According to Wachs, personalization is the way of the future, and hand-written notes are one of the best ways to add a personal touch to what can otherwise be an impersonal experience.

Shopping, especially online, is not an activity during which consumers tend to form bonds with the people or company selling to them. But what if it could be? And what if a brand actually could see an impact on its bottom line thanks to something as simple as a hand-written note? With hand-written notes, that ROI is proven again and again, and Wachs believes that it’s time to start making this idea mainstream.

“Some of our clients come to us and do a one-off campaign or one-off promotion,” Wachs explains. “Then they’ll say, ‘Oh, that was the greatest promotion we’ve ever done. We’ll reconsider it again next year.’ You’re thinking, ‘Why is it a promotion in the first place?’ That should be an ongoing part of your CRM outreach strategy….I think that model of moving it away from being a promotion to being a part of your CRM strategy is really what needs to happen.”

And the personalization strategy only expands from there. For online brands that are looking to do more personalization, Wachs says they should tap into a natural advantage they possess over brick and mortar stores.

“Online brands actually have the advantage over traditional retail because they have the home addresses of the clients where the retailers may or may not depending on if they’re in the loyalty program,” Wachs says. “Online brands have this huge benefit of creating a one-to-one personalization opportunity through handwritten notes that brick and mortars might not.”

Wachs also says that the brands that have invested in things like hand-written notes have seen huge payoffs in organic customer behavior. When customers get a hand-written note, they flock to social media to post a photo of their message, creating mountains of user-generated content that brands can tap into.

But personalization goes beyond business, too. And Wachs notes that especially now, a hand-written note could go a long way for a lot of people.

“I still think there’s a huge opportunity here,” he says. “Quite frankly, people are very lonely right now. Any handwritten mail will get savored and opened.”

To learn more about personalization and Handwrytten, tune into Up Next in Commerce.

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