In the competitive world of online retail, it's never been more crucial to offer a personalized and memorable experience for online shoppers. It has a significant bearing on customer behavior, as studies show that over ¾ of customers say they're more likely to buy from companies that offer a retail experience that speaks to their wants and needs.
The question is, how do you go about offering a personalized experience? In reality, there are numerous ways in which online merchants can focus their messaging on the interests and pain points of potential customers. Here, we look at some of the most successful methods you can use, as well as the common mistakes you should avoid.
Segmentation of Your Customers
A common mistake that many online marketers make is assuming that their products' broad appeal is sufficient for personalization. "Everyone's going to love our products, right? So, let's have a single approach to our marketing strategy!"
It might seem logical to take that view, but it's a long way from the truth, as focusing solely on your core customers is to forget about many others. Even within a demographic known to appreciate your products, visitors will have differing motivations, preferences, buying goals and over-arching behaviors.
Customers Must Relate to Their Shopping Experience
For example, a topical skincare manufacturer may have a core demographic of women between 20 and 45. However, this is just a guide for your marketing and people who fall outside of that group will also visit your online store with differing buying criteria & needs. The best practice is to define key segments within your target market based on:
- Affinity with your brand
- Digital device usage
- Personal interests
- Buying behavior
Of course, there are more, but you get the idea. Then, you can adjust your marketing to appeal to each of your segments and conduct A/B testing to measure the effectiveness of every part of your strategy. The insight this provides allows you to adjust, repeat and continually improve.
Your Personalization Efforts Need to Be Site-Wide
Another error often made by those attempting to offer a personalized shopping experience online is to focus all of their efforts on a small part of their store.
Your value must be consistent throughout browsing, meaning every touchpoint should cater to each visitor's interests and preferences. People need to feel there's a good reason to part with their money and personal details.
Price-Drop & Back-In-Stock Messaging Drives Revenue
The most successful Shopify store owners often employ a questionnaire/quiz setup at the start of their online experience, during which they gain relevant details like size. The store then remembers these preferences throughout the journey, making everything they see appropriate.
If you want to take things further, you could synchronize this data with your CRM, allowing precise 'Back-in-stock' and 'Price-drop' messages regarding products they may enjoy. This step makes customers feel you're looking out for them and drives revenue.
Tracking the Impact of Personalization
As any good eCommerce marketing company will tell you, the impact of everything you do needs to be tracked - including efforts you make to offer personalized experiences. It's no good investing time and effort into setting up what you see as the best possible shopper experience if you don't track things to see how successful your efforts are.
Important metrics include:
- Abandoned cart rates
- Click-through rates
- Conversion rates
- Lifetime value
- Bounce rates
A close eye must focus on finding the metrics that demonstrate you're moving the needle and your strategies are working. For instance, if you're using custom CRM data to create automated flows that guide customers across your website, you can set up custom tags and analyze them later.
Errors to Avoid That Hurt the Shopping Experience Provided
Now, we dig a little deeper into the subject to look at the many mistakes people make that hurt the experience they're providing. Each one shows that small details can have a significant influence on how likely it is a person will buy from you.
- Not Auto-Filling Data Fields When Possible - A potential customer will not have a memorable shopping experience if you make them work harder than they need to. Not pre-filling necessary data fields increases friction and lowers the likelihood of a conversion.
- Not Conveying a Sense of Urgency - When sending out those back-in-stock messages via email and SMS, it's good to leverage FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and include some arbitrary time limit. No one likes missing out, right?
- Not Displaying Important Pricing - Clear pricing is essential in offering a great shopping experience and applies to shipping pricing. By not showing it, you risk cart abandonment, so be sure not to hide your pricing away and offer local currency rates if you can.
- Overdoing the Personalization - This whole article is about personalization and how to take it to the next level. However, don't bombard your customers with too many messages along the journey, or you'll serve to drive that customer away.
Memorable Personalized Experiences Create Brand Loyalty
With tight budgets and more competition than ever for online customers, eCommerce store owners must do everything possible to offer memorable experiences. It needs to stick in the mind for all the right reasons, and that happens when you get the personalization blend right.
You'll probably not get it perfect the first time, but that's what A/B testing is for. With a consistent approach, you can hone your strategy to deliver an experience that increases the chances of a sale and fosters brand loyalty into the bargain.