This time, it’s personal. Today’s top performers in ecommerce prioritize the personalization of the customer experience, from marketing to shopping, and from customer service to the point of sale. Over 80% of customers feel better cared for and more likely to return to ecommerce businesses which implement special attention tailored to their specific needs at touchpoints along the customer journey.
And personalization not only improves the customer experience at your ecommerce business, but can actually boost your bottom line, and contribute to market and brand growth in the long run. In short: it pays to get personal.
Why Personalize your Ecommerce Platform, and What Does That Mean?
What exactly does ‘personalization’ mean in the world of ecommerce? Here’s a brief definition: this concept describes the delivery of a tailor-made customer experience on retail websites by showing consumers unique content based on their browsing behavior, purchase history, demographics, and other personal data.
Personalized content can look a number of different ways. Businesses might offer specific product recommendations on their website, send out cart-abandonment marketing emails, Instagram-based birthday cards, or place a hand-written note in a customer’s package to be discovered upon unboxing. Even the use of a chatbot or on-site messaging app can recreate the experience of a brick-and-mortar in-shop attendant and lend itself to creating a more human encounter between the customer and your company.
And the benefits are tangible. In 2018, an estimated $756 billion was lost by businesses with lackluster personalization practices. On the flip side, companies with successfully implemented personalization efforts may expect a 15% increase in profits. It’s that impactful.
Other benefits to ecommerce personalization include:
- Increased engagement between your brand and your customers.
- Better conversations with your customers, and better customer feedback.
- Better product recommendations.
- Improved customer loyalty.
- Increased customer brand advocacy.
- And more.
As with all things in business, the implementation of personalization should be goal-oriented, and work towards the overall ambitions of the company. It must not be left unsaid, however, that any steps taken should be in the best interests of the customer.
The needs of consumers, and therefore how you personalize your content and delivery, change with the seasons (quite literally). An inbox marketing campaign delivered in May might not have the same efficacy if it is run again in December.
And world events also have an impact on how customers are shopping, and why: consumer behavior and spending habits shifted drastically at the onset of COVID-19, as did the type of content to which customers were receptive.
Successful personalization does more than simply catering to the identity of the customer, but also contextualizes them as a participant in a larger world, and helps them receive what they need in that precise moment in time. It serves the momentary goals and needs of the customer, as much as the customer themself.
Convinced yet? Here are some pointers to show you how to successfully implement a personalization strategy at your ecommerce company.
Collect data. How else will you know what your customers want? Understanding customer behavior both on and off your site can be a critical key to delivering personalized content and service. Top performing ecommerce businesses employ machine learning to track critical data points including traffic, searches, purchases, personal data, and customer’s paid media. Creating and maintaining this vital window into who your shoppers are is the first stepping stone into successful personalization.
(If you’re just getting started, try learning about your clientele the old-fashioned way with a getting-to-know-you email or onsite=chatbot survey.)
Talk about the weather. Whether (ahem) you’re a clothing retailer whose products are bound to what’s happening outside, an artisanal soap maker, a tattoo-machine-parts peddler, or any other ecommerce merchant, your personalization should be sensitive to the weather.
We mean this both literally and at a grander scale: if it’s raining out, offer your consumers a cozy blanket over a beach towel, or cinnamon and apples over lemon and spearmint. Or if “difficult and unprecedented times” are at hand, reach out to your consumers with words of comfort, special in-light-of-the-times sales, and relevant product recommendations.
Something old, something new. How do your goals change based on the age of your relationship with the consumer? With repeat customers, it’s all about maintenance. On-site and email personalization might include their previously viewed items, birthday offers, and “based on your browsing history” product suggestions. Personalization will start with you demonstrating how well you know them, and making relevant offers.
But it’s all about getting new visitors to stick around. The goal is a first purchase, a second purchase, a subscription to your monthly box. As you begin to develop a relationship with first-time visitors, personalized content will be geared towards getting to know them, and encouraging them to get to know you.
Omnichannel is (literally) everything. Stretch your personalization strategy as far as it will go by connecting customer profiles across all platforms on which you interact with the consumer. An inconsistent experience between mobile, in-store, email, and social can counteract your efforts to nurture a relationship between the customer and your company. Your audience doesn’t have a relationship with you on facebook, you on-site, and you in your outreach campaigns — it’s just you. And an omnichannel approach will help your customer feel truly recognized, seen, and appreciated.
One way to make this easier on everyone involved is to offer social-login when your customers are creating their initial account with you. If their account with you is connected to their facebook, this makes you better able to deliver consistent personalization on otherwise separate channels.
Don’t forget about service. Personalization goes just as far during customer service interactions. Your intimate customer relationships should persist at all touchpoints along the customer journey — and Gladly is here to help.
Final Thoughts: Ecommerce Personalization
Delivering radically personal customer service, Gladly is the first people-centered customer service platform. With all channels of contact built-in to the Gladly solution, your customer service representatives will have a comprehensive customer profile at the ready so they can deliver top-quality assistants whenever your consumers make contact. Gladly helps your customers feel truly seen and heard by making customer service about the customer, and not just their ticket.