How many times have you done a purchase online? Have you wondered how different it would be for a retailer to sell their stuff on a digital platform when compared to having a physical shop? From setting up the store to the nuances in marketing strategies, you can find here the knack of selling a product online and how customer fulfilment is achieved through personalization.
Okay, but before we see that, let’s do a reality check:
As a shopper, do you expect your favorite retailer to show you exactly what you want? If so, you are not alone. In fact, 86% of the online shoppers prefer personalization to help them on making a purchasing decision. Almost all the retailers (96%) agree with the same.
For more effective personalization, the retailers are constantly optimizing the customer experience, both by online and offline media. They have been doing email marketing, sending promotional messages, optimizing their website and merchandising. Whatever be the method, these personalization techniques are done to influence the customer’s purchasing habits. Personalization begins with data collection.
Why is Data Collection Important for Retailers?
The obvious reason is the competition in the retail industry. So, they find effective ways to collect data in order to show their brand better. The retailers, with the help of solution providers, collect customer data. More than 40% of retailers use the data from the site search to personalize the customer’s experience. With this data, they can set up individual campaigns for each customer.
Is Collecting Customer Data alone Enough to do Personalization?
No. The retailers must do an analysis of who the customers are and what were they doing on the website in order to decide on the objective of personalization, instead of sending out messages and emails as soon as the data is collected.
For example, a person who visited the website might be from another country and just happened to land there through Google search. It is highly unlikely that he orders something from the website, because the particular product he was looking for might be available in any local website in his country. In such a case, sending him promotional emails will be useless.
How to Effectively collect and Analyze Data?
Customer analysis can be made effective by using technology solutions at in-store POS (Point Of Sale, where the customer completes the transaction) and other online purchasing experience. Apart from using technology, other methods like reviews, interviews and surveys have proved to be effective.
Almost all retailers collect data, but what differentiates the best retailers from the rest is the ability to provide an experience equal to that of human interaction even through digital screens.
Hence the retailers are realizing that just communicating with a customer after data collection is not enough. Instead, they need to figure out what particular data about the customer that they should use. Imagine yourself as a retailer competing against the E-commerce giant, Amazon. You will definitely be thinking of doing something different, won’t you? So, proper use of available data is highly important.
What is the Issue in Personalization and How to Solve it?
Competing with a well-established organization like Amazon is easy said than done. But other tactics can be followed to stand out and get noticed, thereby attracting the customers. Consider that a shopper buys some product from a retailer’s website, for example, Amazon. After he completes the purchase he will get product recommendations. But, more often, those recommendations may not be on a personalized level. Let’s say, he had purchased a mobile and would have got recommendation for another mobile after the purchase, rather than recommending, say, an earphone that suits that purchased mobile. This issue leaves many products from the retailer’s catalogue become unnoticed. This is where content personalization comes in.
- Show more in less time: The shoppers don’t have time to skim through the entire website to choose a product. So, proper guidance is necessary. The guidance should be in such a way that the shoppers do not feel that the product was being forced on them. It must be in a way that they get to see a product that they haven’t seen before and that particular product must be relevant to that customer.
- Personalization software providers: Content personalization software providers like Maxymiser, AgilOne and Certona provide campaigns for retailers that will help them to collect customer data. This customer data can be product views, past shopping, clicks and purchases. This will help the retailers recommend the most suitable product for individual customers. In return, the service providers generate revenue from this recommendation advice.
What is Bounce and How to Tackle it?
When a customer leaves the website without making a purchase, it is called a ‘bounce’. The best way to avoid this is to convert the E-commerce site into the best salesperson. This is because the shoppers would not always be able to ask questions on an online store like they do in a physical store. One way to reduce bounce rate is by sending offers through the sources by which the visitor came to the site. The ads you see on Facebook is a good example. Engaging the visitor on the landing page or welcoming them based on their geographical location will be very helpful as well.
Some more Strategies to achieve Personalization:
Festivals, anniversaries and even seasonal conditions are used for marketing campaigns. Based on your geographical location, if winter is coming, you may get a recommendation to buy a warm jacket.
Other strategies can be loyalty/reward programs and messaging. The retailer would be sending messages about offers and discounts on a regular basis, as a motivation for repeated purchases. This way, the customer will remember the retailer. Personalization based on language is another effective way. It will help bridge the gap in customer relations.
Proper planning is necessary to coordinate the personalization with the business goals, which includes the mode by which the campaigns are channelized. Sending out emails has proven to be very effective but personalized emails will generate higher revenue than non-personalized emails.
Personalization and its Future: Ever since the revolution of E-commerce started in the 1990s, the consumers have had their freedom to pick their desired product wherever and whenever they wanted. Hence, the importance of personalization should not be underrated. This freedom has changed the way a business runs. Now, the shoppers run the business and the retailers should respond well to get hold of the shopper. Even the prices are 100% transparent. So, the only way for the retailers to succeed is by bettering the customer experience.
According to Forrester Research, the future of personalization is contextualization. They have defined contextualization as “tailored, adaptive and sometimes predictive digital customer experience”. Contextualization combines the behavioral, historical and other data of the consumer to generate a location-based adaptive content that automatically changes for individual consumer. It basically combines all the strategies in personalization and it is in the hands of the technology providers to accomplish it.