There is a lot of talk around omni-channel in the retail sector these days—and there should be for many good reasons: Omni-channel and personalized commerce stand to increase your average cart size by anywhere from 5 percent to 25 percent, depending on how you implement your omni-channel strategy.  So, what gives omni-channel its incredible potential? In one word—personalization.

Personalization is something we all intuitively want. Any good salesperson will want to know something about you to gain a selling advantage. If we know something about you that pertains to what we’re selling, then obviously the potential of selling you something goes way up. It’s why we sales people need introductions. We hope that since we’ve met, there’ll be trust; therefore, the probability of a sale should increase.

In the past when marketers were unable to personalize, they would look at demographics as a way of ascertaining the probability of a sale. For instance, they would map the ideals of a demographic to the benefits inherent in the product. They would then surmise that a certain product would appeal to males under the age of 45, or to a career-oriented busy mother with two children—all based on ideals and associated product benefits. Sometimes marketers got it right, and sometimes they didn’t—and it wasn’t the marketing. The demographics were correct, but the circumstances of the individuals were incorrect, and those circumstances dictated the reasons why the individual didn’t buy the product.

Then omni-channel and personalization entered the scene—dramatically changing the game. Today, we can use demographics to home in on what we suspect, and we can take the data from consumers’ buying behaviors to zero in on an individual. Through their buying behaviors we know what they like and what they dislike. We know what they have looked at on our website, enabling us to track their behavior in a store and, perhaps, to easily script a store associate to direct them through the customer journey.

This is called psychographics. Psychographics allows us to categorize people based on their attitudes, their aspirations, their circumstances, and their outside influencers. All this is a marketing goldmine when positioning a product because it means your store associates say the right thing at the right time to the right person, which should increase conversion and cart sizes tremendously. This is what changed the game. How many times have you been frustrated by a buying experience? And when you come across the right thing at the right time—that’s it, you buy it.

Omni-channel and personalization trigger the buying experience for a person. It might sound a bit Big Brother in that omni-channel and personalization could create an environment where shopping is dreaded by the consumer. They might think, “How can I get out of the store without spending more than planned on the products I want?”

It’s not that at all. It’s an environment where relationships are developed. It’s about connecting the individual with the brand, and allowing the brand to tailor the relationship that it needs with the store associate, the customer, and the brand. Obviously, a brand wants to have thousands of relationships with all its customers, delivering great service through its thousands of store associates. But managing all that is not easy, and changes are rapid.

The question becomes: How do you manage omni-channel and personalization and yet remain profitable? Easily, start thinking psychographics and personalization in your omni-channel strategy.