Personalize the shopping experience in your E-commerce
Distinction: the key in a competitive environment, something we all seek, and achieved by whomever personalizes the shopping experience in their e-commerce.
Electronic commerce growth has been exponential for many years. Stores and marketplaces appear practically every day; the supply is growing with no end in sight. But how many of these shops really provide something different? Is there a difference between making a purchase in one over another?
When there’s product differentiation, meaning we sell the same thing, the difference needs to be by level of service or price, whenever possible. Although, we do have another option: the shopping experience.
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY THE ECOMMERCE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE?
The concept is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s worth digging into a bit further.
When we talk about the shopping experience in an online store, we don’t refer to a single aspect. Actually, all aspects are factors that influence the buyer’s final opinion after completing the purchasing process, everything from entering the page to after-sales service.
Depending on whether it’s positive, negative or neutral, an interaction with the brand could be different.
Everything we’re talking about is intangible and subjective but no less of a defining factor. A good shopping experience can be the difference between making a purchase or not, as well as in recurring purchases and third party recommendations.
PERSONALIZE THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Everything we’ve discussed so far provides an answer to the main idea of this post: how do we customize the shopping experience in your e-commerce?
There’s just one last step before we start: make sure all technical aspects are resolved, meaning loading speed and ensuring there are no errors, that the page has consistent navigability and is accessible from any device and for any user, regardless of their physical traits.
With the minimum points covered, we can go for the gold, the point that will take our e-commerce above average.
#1 – PERSONALIZE RECOMMENDATION
E-commerce implies that customers browse through a page independently, looking at different products, interacting with the website in a way that we can gain an overview of what their interests are.
We can always recommend complementary or alternative products based on intuition or on what we want to sell, but the shopping experience is improved substantially when a store is smart enough to recommend a product to the user based on proven interests.
Let’s look at a simple example. If the customer is looking at barbecues and you recommend a waterproof cover for one, you’re anticipating a future need and, therefore, providing a solution to a problem that may have not been foreseen. Insight works well.
However, if you recommend garden hoses to the same customer, he might not be interested, given that that product is outside his current scope for making a purchase and outside of the shopping experience he’s looking for.
#2 – PERSONALIZE THE ATTENTION
Not just after-sales care, the attention throughout the process. The customer has questions and doubts to clarify, especially if they’re a new buyer. When we can solve these issues in real-time, we’re giving their purchasing experience a huge boost.
Being present during the purchasing process means we attend to the customer through a tailor-made service. This not only facilitates closing more sales, it also means fewer returns and, ultimately, fewer negative shopping experiences.
This has always been a weak point of e-commerce compared to physical retail. At Oct8ne, we detected this need and, as such, created our livechat with a coviewer and features that increase sales (wish lists, the cart integrated into the chat, browsing history, triggers, etc), all to make the customer-agent interaction easier and more personalized.
#3 – POST-SALES ATTENTION
Now let’s briefly review why we believe that post-sales service should be personalized. When a problem occurs, the last thing the customer wants is to be met with vague or generic responses.
They understand that from our company’s standpoint, their case should be dealt with quickly and efficiently, but, above all, they need to feel that they’re being listened to. Taking the necessary time with an issue and providing solutions with the other person in mind when they need it most is one of the best ways to safeguard the shopping experience (in addition to saving us more than one reputation crisis).
#4 – COMMUNICATION
Of course, if you have the technical capacity to personalize the texts and messages on your website for registered users, you’ll establish a much closer dialogue.
Even so, communication comes through different channels. Online advertising is always effective when retargeting is segmented effectively to offer products based on the customer’s interests. The customer who wants to buy hiking boots and clicks on a banner that takes him to a model or category will always have a better experience than one who’s sent to the sports store’s home page and has to complete the entire search from scratch. Many campaigns don’t work for that reason.
The same is recommended with email marking schemes, from newsletters to transactional emails like welcome messages or order confirmations. Create different mailing lists and don’t send the same message to everyone in the database. The more they’re united by common interests, life cycle or average spending, the more you can adjust the message and, therefore, be more effective.
#5 – DETAILS
This isn’t as critical as the previous four points, but many customers are won over in the details and the shopping experience thrives.
What do we mean by this? Actually, it’s anything you can think of that provides a more human touch. This can be from a phone call to find out if everything’s ok to a handwritten note inside the order packaging or a small gift at a marginal cost. If you can surprise the customer on a small scale without being intrusive, you’re on the best possible path.
As you can see, there are many alternatives and actions you can take if you want to personalize your customers’ shopping experience.