How Online Retailers Can Win Big by Adding A Personal Touch

We’ve written recently about how brick-and-mortar retailers are working hard at creating great customer experiences in order to compete with the convenience of Amazon. But I’ve also noticed recently that online retailers also seem to be working harder to create personal connections with their customers in an effort to bridge digital and physical experiences and cement brand loyalty. Both of the examples below show the impact a personal touch can make.

Warby Parker

With just fewer than 100 physical locations in the U.S., I think many of us original fans still think of Warby as primarily an online retailer. For style – and value – conscious shoppers, it has always hit the mark and had a quirky enough personality to have a boutique feel, even as it grew. These have all been contributing factors to my feeling that it’s a “cool” brand and really my go-to for glasses for the past seven or eight years. I was already loyal. And then they upped their game.

After visiting the new store on Atlanta’s Westside (I happily would have continued to buy exclusively online had this not been so close to my home), I returned home to find that my favorite Warbys had been no match for our new puppy.

Within a few days, I had a response — not on Insta, but IN THE MAIL (which I obviously also Instagrammed).

Anyone’s social crew could have responded to my first post with a “sorry this happened” message, but these guys turned it into a great story I could share. In the process, they got a brand ambassador and an even more loyal customer, showing how a little creative thinking and a personal touch can have a big impact.


I recently embarked on upgrading light fixtures, cabinet pulls and a few other items throughout my home in order to give it a refresh without having to drop a ton of cash. Once again, style, value and convenience played heavily into my decision to explore Wafair and I happily discovered that they indeed had, as the jingle goes, just what I need. I spent some time searching and saving items and over the course of a few weeks ordered several light fixtures, a coffee table and some other accessories with the intention of ordering a few more once I could see how everything was coming together. I was also busy posting before-and-afters of my finds on social and happily recommending Wayfair to my friends. 

Then, one Friday night, I received a voicemail from Connor at Wayfair. My heart leapt for a moment, thinking I must have won the shopping spree I signed up for at the start of my relationship with the retailer. When I called back on Monday, there was good news and bad news. Bad: I had not won the shopping spree. Good: Connor had been assigned to be my very own personal service consultant. I have never had a personal service consultant before, but it felt very fancy! What did it mean? Connor’s job seems to be a mash-up of customer service rep and personal stylist. He’s apparently there for me (via a direct line) whenever I need help finding options for a piece I’m shopping, questions about products or my orders and can even help get me status on backordered items and more routine asks like that. I haven’t yet taken advantage of my personal in at Wayfair, but the experience sure did get me interested in learning more about their more extensive design services and gave me mega warm fuzzies about continuing to shop and and recommend the company to my friends. Adding this personal touch to what is typically a fully-digital transaction creates a great story for customers to share and provides Wafair with an easy way to upsell services and products.

So, especially if your business operates primarily online, think about how you can add a personal touch ang bring a little IRL charm into your customer interactions. Just a little effort can go a long way.

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