Imagine you walk into a department store and you are looking through the sales rack. Within a few minutes a salesclerk comes up to you and asks if they can help you with anything.
You give your standard response: no thanks, I'm just browsing.
This is how it feels on many websites too. You visit a websites and are in a just browsing mode. Occasionally the chatbot will pop up and say 'Can I help you?' and 9 out of 10 times you'll close it because you're just browsing.
As wonderful and convenient the world of eCommerce is, it is impersonal.
Imagine with me again, you've walked into a store and a salesclerk comes up to you:
"Hey Matt (because they remembered you)! Those headphones you like have been upgraded and we've got new ones in stock. Do you want to check them out?"
You will more than likely be far more open and receptive to that salesclerk.
This is a very different experience. How do we create the same tailored personable experience online?
eCommerce personalisation is critical for online success. By giving consumers a personalised customer experience you can massively improve conversion rates and customer retention. The bigger your product range the more critical personalisation becomes. You want all your customers to feel unique and special and you want them to find the best solution/ product to fulfil their need on your site.
So how do you uniquely serve everyone without overwhelming anyone?
Here are three key areas in which you can that you can personalise your customer journey to enhance customer experience, engagement and loyalty.
1. Website personalisation
The aim here is to understand the visitor as quickly as possible through their browsing patterns and give them relevant content. The more you can anticipate their needs the faster you can begin to give them recommendations.
One way to do this is to segment your products by categories. Products that are categorised based on the problems that you solve for customers will make it easier for your customers to know exactly where to go on your site to find the products that they need. The more intuitive and aesthetically pleasing your navigation design is the easier if will be for customers (first time and repeat) to browse and quickly find the categories they are interested in. This also helps you gain a better understanding of what the customer wants so that you can begin to offer them relevant content.
For example, if a visitor on my site is looking at fountain pens, I am going to start making assumptions and show them fountain pen accessories or best selling fountain pens or blog articles about these pens. I am not going to show them ball-point pens.
Another way to quickly understand your customers is to encourage them to create user profiles/ accounts on the website. Get to know their browsing habits better and build a complete picture of the customer so that you are in a better position to create and offer tailored content and promotional offers.
Show customers personalised pages based on their anticipated needs/ wants by creating categories like Favorites, Wish lists, Browsing and Purchasing. As much customers want to be understood, they also value convenience and friendliness.
Understand your customer. Sow tailored content and reap higher conversion.
2. Email personalisation
The standard way to do email marketing is to look at your database of subscribers and send the same company newsletter to all of them. This method stopped being effective years ago.
Enter email personalisation. This hinges on thinking about your customer and taking their shopping habits into account in order to provide specific content and promotional offers that they will find relevant.For effective and personalised email marketing you need to think about your customers and take their shopping habits into account before you can offer them specific content and relevant promotional offers.
And guess what?
Email open rates go up. Click-throughs go up. Sales go up.
Segmenting your list of subscribers so that only relevant content is sent to each subscriber. Be really targeted with the content you send. Base it on their shopping habits and watch those conversions pour in.
Email sequences are your friend. These are emails that are sent to individual people based on a trigger or particular action they took.
For example, a customer comes onto my site and purchases a fountain pen. I would have a sequence which outlines content related to that fountain pen. I wouldn't just send a generic newsletter. Instead I would send an email on top tips on how to write like a pro with a fountain pen. Then maybe an email about changing the nib. Then one on the perfect inks for that fountain pen and then the perfect papers.
Personalised sequence emails to those who you are trying to on-ramp and for returning customers are gold dust. Email customers with relevant content that they want to see and encourage them to come back.
Format your emails with a catchy and tailored subject line to immediately capture the attention of the customer and draw them in. Use the recipient's first name and always be personable and empathetic to start to build trust and create loyalty.
Email personalisation, particularly through sequences, is a great way to help engage your customers to increase conversion and to create repeat business.
3. Social media personalisation
Remarketing pixels (most often through Facebook) are super targeted and very specific. They help keep products and services on your customers radar long after they have left your site and moved onto their social media platforms.
Social media personalisation is just as much about engagement. It offers a human connection with your brand in a personable and less formal tone. It creates opportunity for you to better understand your customers - follow them back, get involved in the conversations by responding to their content and let them know they matter to you.
For example, someone comes to my site that hasn't been before and leaves without creating a profile. The FB pixel fires and I can add them to a custom audience through automated software. For me, I would put them in the fountain pen audience. Then I would target them with on-ramp content, such as a video on how to write beautifully with a fountain pen and another on top ten mistakes beginners make with a fountain pen and so on. I would then see which content they interact with.
The more they interact with my on-ramp content the more I get to understand them and the more personal the experience I can create. I become like the salesclerk that says. " Hey Matt, those headphones you like have been upgraded and we've got new ones in stock. Do you want to check them out?"
The more we can understand the customer and what they want, the more we can personalise the experience like the second sales rep in the store and the greater the impact on our conversion.