Customers Increasingly Seek Companies That Personalize
It isn’t just an advantage when a company decides to personalize eCommerce experiences for their customers anymore, it’s expected. Even over the web, customers want to feel valued and appreciated, but without a personable sales clerk and informed management, providing this individual experience is a lot more difficult. ECommerce already lacks the advantage of building interpersonal relationships with customers, and everything from standardized web design to stock photos can only make this more difficult drives. Nearly 60% of online businesses say they struggle to personalize their customers’ experiences.
To close the interpersonal gap the web can create, good eCommerce brands are sure to avoid some of the basic failures in personalization, such as repurposing content and putting faith in one size fits all sales leads, but the best businesses go further. There are strategic ways to personalize the eCommerce experience that can increase a customers’ trust and can lead to a significant increase in overall sales.
Recognize the Rise in Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is heralded as the next big trend in eCommerce digital marketing, and it could impact brands and revenue in a major way. For the most part, influencers are individuals who amass a presence and following on social media. These individuals could be YouTube sensations, Instagram fitness celebrities, or a ready-to-wear women’s blogger. An influencer may not even be human, consider Marnie the Dog, a Shih Tzu from NYC, with an impressive 2.1 million followers on Instagram. That is a number any eCommerce company would be ecstatic to be able to connect with.
So, how can Marnie the Dog, and more traditional influencers like lifestyle guru Desi Perkins help personalize the eCommerce experience? These individuals are highly visible and easily recognized by the millions of people that follow their stories and keep up with their content. When someone with immense visibility lends their face and name to your brand, it becomes the persona associated with your company. It’s a marketing tool that’s been used for a very long time – consider Cover Girls and the Faces of Dior – just translated to our digital age.
Also, influencer marketing can personalize the eCommerce experience by building trust in your business, both through social media and elsewhere. Over the past few years, influencer marketing has evolved. Where influencers were once engaged for a limited and affiliate role, one that focused on brand awareness and introduction to new potential customers, these social media stars are becoming full-fledged brand spokespeople. Brands are looking for influencers that represent or relate to their target market, and, just as the world of television and print ads became more selective, digital marketing is finding that partnering with one excellent influencer has better value than placing affiliate marketing on ten moderately engaged accounts.
Directly Address Your Customers’ Questions
One pitfall of eCommerce is the inability to immediately answer potential customer questions about a product. For an example, a customer browsing in a brick-and-mortar electronics store finds a sound system that seems perfect for the living room, but she has questions. Does this system integrate with my stereo? Will it work well with my television? Is it going to project an action movie at the same quality as my beloved Jason Aldean song? Luckily, a sales associate is there to answer all of these questions, and can even provide other positive information on the product to make the sale. Further, if the sound system isn’t a good fit, the individual can recommend one that is. This leads to better conversion.
In the world of online shopping, a confused or overwhelmed shopper could leave the site without making a purchase, and it isn’t an issue confined to technical products, such as electronics. Furniture stores, specialty stroller shops, and even Etsy designers all face the same hurdle. When it comes to Q&A, you need to personalize the eCommerce experience to lower your shopping cart abandonment rate.
Here’s what we already know: Simply placing your business email on the website is not enough. Potential customers, particularly mobile shoppers, don’t have the time for extra steps. Plus, the gap between answer and question leads many people to move onto a different website. Providing a phone number or other contact information isn’t much better. Most people want to have their questions answered without going through an automated process or lengthy phone call.
Instead, the best way you can address customer questions is through good product descriptions and customer-driven review and Q&A sections. When these forums are clear and robust, customers often find their answers within seconds. Other ways to personalize the eCommerce experience is incorporating a chatbot into your site or providing the option to “chat with the owner” on each product page. These immediate forms of communication could win over customers that needed more information before hitting purchase. Of course, making these chat options mobile-friendly is essential.
Follow-up is another key to personalizing the online shopping experience. A customer may leave your site without making a purchase, but if you keep in contact with them via phone or email and offer to answer future questions or concerns, you could still convert that individual to a customer. In this instance, a generalized email isn’t your best bet, but one that asks about the specific product the customer viewed and provides some additional information on the item shows a vested interest in that particular shopper’s wants and needs.
Guide Your Potential Customers Through the Sales Funnel
Digital data revolutionized the way brands market to potential customers. An eCommerce company knows more about their potential buyers than ever before, and the available avenues to utilize this digital data to personalize the eCommerce experience are endless. However, one of the most effective ways to put your data to good use is in your sales funnel.
Any eCommerce company with the right analytics and website plugins will pick up and utilize every click, pause, and decision that shoppers make. If the potential customer leaves without a purchase, then the individual should be automatically filed into a funnel of strategic and integrated marketing initiatives.
For example, imagine that a shopper clicks on the product page for a green, velvet dress. It’s November and this dress is ideal for a holiday party, but she doesn’t make a purchase. Afterwards, the ads she sees on Facebook should be for this green dress or one that is similar in either cut, color, material, or formality. Now, the shopper is presented with the dress she was interested in alongside alternative options. Other forms of communication can follow, such as an email reminding her that holiday parties and seasonal weddings are upcoming. If she returns to your site, she could be greeted by a “welcome back” message or a reminder that the dress is still available.
If she returns to the site but doesn’t execute the sale, the next email should remain focused but cast a broader net, such as a link to a recent blog post on the best dresses for the holiday season. Then, she could receive a digital postcard for 10% off holiday dresses and accessories or an online exclusive offer.
These steps to personalize the eCommerce experience apply to a surprising number of online shoppers. In the above example, your company was able to turn a standard web shopping experience into something that feels more special.
Other Ways to Personalize the eCommerce Experience
If you are looking for other tips to personalize the eCommerce experience for your own brand, then work with the best team in eCommerce marketing. 1Digital Agency is responsive, innovative, and, most importantly, fully focused on eCommerce. Our team includes some of the top eCommerce marketers in the world, and our ideas and strategies to personalize your site are cutting edge.
Contact 1Digital Agency at 888.982.8269 today.
- Dan Kogan
- November 1, 2017