The relationship between brands and consumers is changing, as consumers want relevant suggestions and services from retailers.

According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) 40% of consumers want relevancy from retailers, rather than personalisation.

While many retailers are deploying personalisation technologies to engage with customers, the research claimed customers want relevant suggestions, such as birthday reminders.

The Entertainer has struggled with personalisation in the past because 60% of its annual business is conducted in the run up to Christmas and shoppers tend to buy different gifts for different children. The retailer found it challenging to link the customer to a specific child, so advertising Star Wars toys on the shopper's personalised homepage would be redundant if the customer wanted to buy a gift for a different child who was not a fan of the brand.

To solve this problem, The Entertainer has become more relevant offering online customers a Birthday Club, which lets shoppers sign up for birthday reminders, by providing information including name, age and gender of the recipient.

This change in retail-customer relationship may also present an opportunity for start-up retailers with subscription-based business models, which deliver products to customers at the appropriate time. One such start-up is Vitl, which provides health supplement packs online via a subscription service. The company caters for time-poor customers who forget to take supplements or are confused over which to take. Vitl provides daily nutrition strips which are delivered through the letter box and fit in a consumer's pocket.

Pact Coffee also delivers coffee through customer letter boxes on a subscription basis, meanwhile, Gousto delivers weekly boxes of fresh and organic ingredients to a customer's front door, which are weighed and packaged into the correct amount for the chosen recipe, which results in zero food waste, as well as the modern shopper's holy grail – convenience.

Bloom & Wild is another company which provides a birthday reminder service and their fresh flowers also fit through the letter box, negating the need for customers to be home during the day.

Click here for the DMA's Customer Engagement infographic