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Personalisation 2030:
What does the future hold?

Vector illustration of athletes on a running track

Personalisation is a tightrope act for brands. If your recommendation engine simply recycles past purchase information, you’ll quickly frustrate customers. But if you’re too on the nose, they’ll think you’re snooping on them and betraying their trust.

For retailers, smarter personalisation is a huge opportunity, as 65% of consumers by Salesforce say they’ll remain loyal to companies that offer a more tailored experience. The challenge? Less than 20% of retail leaders told Kin + Carta that this was a critical need in 2024.

Preparing for the future of personalisation requires finding a smart balance—seamlessly integrating data-driven recommendations that are highly relevant, while helping customers feel like they’re in control. To thrive in 2030, you’ll need to understand how personalisation is evolving, including how artificial intelligence (AI) will accelerate the ability to customise, tailor, and automate customer experiences.

From automation to anticipation

Personalisation has come a long way from auto-populating someone’s first name in an email. Today, it’s about using data to deliver personalised experiences that truly anticipate customer needs. The coming years will see this evolve. Brands will create experiences that feel organically linked to customer's thoughts and desires, delivering smoother, more satisfying interactions.

Underpinning this evolution will be technology that speeds up, automates, or replaces countless activities. "What can people do when the tech gets rid of all those mundane, time-consuming tasks?” says Heather Ryan, Lead Data Consultant at Kin + Carta. “What additional value can these people bring to their businesses and industries?”

Personalisation is becoming increasingly predictive and proactive, helping brands anticipate customer needs and preferences even before they’re expressed. You can see this in platforms that offer product suggestions based on sophisticated analysis of browsing history or viewing habits.

Consider AI personalisation in digital marketing. Suddenly, analysing customer preferences and behaviours is easy, yielding deeper and faster insights than ever before. Marketers can be more confident in creating highly targeted campaigns that resonate, drive engagement, and deepen loyalty.


Your data foundation determines your fate

The success of your personalisation efforts will depend on how well your data is orchestrated across platforms and touchpoints.

"Do you have the right data at the right maturity level? Do all of these tools that you're using that are trying to add personalisation have data to pull from to create meaningful personalisation?"

says Jared Johnson, Strategy Director at Kin + Carta.

This starts with having the right data infrastructure to make sure data is accessible, accurate, and actionable. Without this foundation, even the most sophisticated personalisation tools will fall short. Effective data orchestration involves integrating various data sources, validating data quality, and making this data available in real-time to personalisation engines.

The synergy between data and personalisation is crucial. Retailers will need to seamlessly connect customer purchase histories, browsing behaviours, and engagement metrics to offer product recommendations that truly resonate.

Dream beyond retail

While personalisation has become a cornerstone in retail and digital marketing, nearly every sector should be exploring its potential.

"While personalisation has become a cornerstone in retail and digital marketing, nearly every sector should be exploring its potential," explains Mona Champaneri, Senior Vice President of Experience and Product at Kin + Carta. “We are likely to see its expansion in industries where it’s not yet standard, such as healthcare, education, and legal services.”

In education, personalised learning paths could significantly enhance student engagement and outcomes by adapting to individual learning styles and paces. Imagine a classroom where each student receives assignments and resources tailored to their progress and preferences. This approach makes learning more engaging and equitable, allowing instructors to continuously refine their methods based on real-time feedback and student progress.

In healthcare, personalisation can mean AI analyses patient data to recommend specific treatments, monitor health trends, and even predict health issues before they become critical. The key lies in making decisions based on a patient's medical history and ongoing health data, not just generalised recommendations based on high-level demographics. Healthcare professionals can spend less time reacting to unexpected health issues and more time focusing on prevention and early intervention—leading to better outcomes and patient satisfaction.

The key will be for business leaders to understand why they’re adding personalisation, says Ewan Nicolson, Director - Data & AI at Kin + Carta. “Are we recommending for discoverability? Are we recommending for a better experience?” he says. “That's the sort of thing that I'd love to be doing more of in the industry and not just slapping personalisation on because you can.”


Zooming in on your ‘best customer’

In the future, loyalty programmes won’t just be about discounts and rewards; they will be about understanding and meeting customers' real-time needs.

Understanding your "best customer" is an approach in which you target the group or individuals who best represent your target consumer. By modelling how to move customers along the “best customer path,” you can zero in on the actions most likely to trigger and deepen interactions.

At Kin + Carta, we worked with a leading international coffee chain retailer to tap propensity modelling—a statistical approach that uses data to predict behaviour—to analyse and optimise its rewards programme. This approach helps the business better understand and segment existing customers and consider different scenarios, such as whether the programme incentivises cross-selling in different categories without losing recurring sales.

As businesses continue to evolve their personalisation strategies, the focus will become increasingly granular and precise. You’ll need to know which customers to target and how to customise your content and communication methods based on detailed customer profiles and sophisticated analysis.

“Customisation in the future doesn't mean everyone's going to get an email or everyone's going to get an update, it's going to be targeted and it's going to be personalised”

says Richard Bownes, Principal - Data & AI at Kin + Carta. “There's going to be a lot more tailoring of which customers are activated to receive content, what that content is, and how the body of customer communications or the presentation of the experience can be fine-tuned for them.”

Instead of generic messages to your entire audience, personalisation is evolving into making sure each customer receives only information that's highly relevant to their needs and interests.

Vector illustration of athletes on a running track

Make way for AI

Personalisation and AI are a natural pair, as AI tools can analyse enormous amounts of data in real time to predict customer behaviour, recommend products, and create personalised content.

Across industries, AI-driven personalisation will go beyond simple recommendations based on past behaviour and start predicting what people want in the future. For instance, streaming services like Netflix use AI to recommend shows and movies based on viewing habits, but the future will see this extend to interactive and immersive experiences.

One opportunity for brands in the coming years will be to integrate AI into personalisation efforts while overcoming consumers’ concerns about privacy and data security. One way to do this could be a "digital twin" that manages personalisation on your behalf.

“Use all of your personalisation algorithms, target me as much as you like, but you're only going to get to speak to my AI,” says Karl Hampson, Chief Technology Officer of Data & AI, at Kin + Carta. “My AI is going to know what I'm in the market for at the moment, what my preferences are, and I get a beautifully filtered view of the world.”

Under this model, personalisation is smart and based on personal information, but it’s also filtered and less invasive. Customers only receive the best, most relevant offers tailored to their needs and preferences.


Designing digital interactions that become seamless and intuitive

By 2030, personalisation will be so integrated into digital interactions that it'll feel seamless and intuitive. Technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will continue to evolve, offering increasingly immersive, personalised experiences. For example, virtual try-ons in retail or personalised home tours will become commonplace.

Personalisation will also emphasise real-time adjustments based on customer interactions. Imagine walking into a store where digital displays change to show products you might like based on your online browsing history and behavioural data.

The benefits of intuitive personalisation are obvious. “In terms of what's virtuous with personalisation, the idea that it removes steps, it's intuitive … it gets very sticky and addictive for people,” Hampson says. “I love personalisation being used for that.”

Seamless personalisation also goes well beyond the purchase point. Businesses should tap into both first-party and third-party data to gain a comprehensive view of customer behaviour and preferences. By combining these data sources, companies can provide value from first touch through to post-purchase support, ensuring a cohesive and intuitive customer experience.


A highly personalised future

Personalisation will continue to evolve, driven by AI, high-quality data, and a relentless focus on earning and securing customer trust. The winners in personalisation won’t bombard people with offers that are little more than guesses. Instead, they'll shape a “best customer path,” delivering memorable, engaging moments that support meaningful business growth.

Want learn more about the complex world of personalisation?

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