Personalized shopping experience goes beyond meeting the customers’ needs once. In this kind of service, the business aims at gathering reasonable amounts of data about a customer to make its services as customer-specific as possible. If so, customers may feel like the brand cares about themselves instead of their money.
The process of personalizing a customers’ online shopping experience is a long journey. It starts with knowing what customer database to collect, when to collect data, and how to manage the data.
This article contains 5 practical tips for personalized shopping experience to help you drive more sales in 2021. Before going into that, let’s look at why you need to personalize customer experience and understand the basics of collecting customer’s data for the personalization process.
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Why You Need to Personalize Customer Experience
With loads of decisions and tasks businesses already have to do, collecting customer data to offer a personalized shopping experience can be a task that is not worth your time. But, you might want to think otherwise.
A study conducted by Bain & Company Inc showed that repeating customers spend more and generate more significant transactions. This translates to more sales and more enormous profits for the business. This is beside the word of mouth advertisement the customer does for your brand every time they enjoy their shopping experience.
What Data Should be Collected?
Collecting too much data is confusing. You only need to know the correct data to collect. This data usually varies with business.
Starting, you want to collect only the most basic data. Consider the whole data collection thing as a date. You don’t expect to know your partner’s parents on the first date. You will start with more basic information like name, age, job, and all. Then you build on this information with subsequent dates. The same applies to collecting customers’ data.
Examples of the type of data to collect are name, email, gender, age, hobbies, likes and dislikes, etc.
How Should Data be Collected?
The next important question is how to collect data. We live in a sensitive world, and if customers feel uncomfortable with your questions, they may leave your store. Or even worse, defame your business. This is why it is pertinent to know the right approach for collecting data.
Almost every adult owns an email at the present age. So, the email address may be a good place to start. Then you build on this. The next time, you can ask about age, birthday, gender, and job. Then you move on to more personal questions, like hobbies, likes and dislikes, etc. From here, you can insert unique questions. All of these data will make up your customer profile.
As to the channel for collecting data, you shouldn’t rely on just one. Utilize as many channels as you can lay your hands on. These include forms from web pages, customer purchases, social media, surveys, other parties. Of course, directly from the customer. While you should use many channels, ensure all data is in one database. Don’t scatter data.
So, here is a checklist of things to put in mind while collecting customers’ data:
- Make sure your customers understand what the data is for
- Don’t ask ambiguous or tricky questions.
- Don’t rely on just one channel; utilize as many as you can
- Don’t force answers out of your customers.
- Use pop-ups, ads, surveys, and other online tools moderately.
- Train members of staff to ask questions.
Just ensure you don’t infringe on customer’s privacy because that will only make matters worse. Use only legal and ethical means. You want to come off as a caring business, not an obsessed stalker.
5 Tips to provide a personalized shopping experience
1. Consider previous purchases
This is one of the first steps to personalizing the customer experience. If the customer is not a first-timer, you should have a record of their shopping history. From their previous purchases, you can make suggestions on new products. This may not seem like much, but it goes a long way in reassuring customers that you care about them.
Consider Nordstrom. They remember the sizes of their customers from previous purchases. When making new purchases, they suggest a size based on what the customer has purchased before. It doesn’t have to be just in size now. Anything at all about previous purchases is important. It could be colour, weight, type, etc.
These data on previous purchases can also come into play when recommending new products in emails, brochures, subscriptions, and ads.
2. Use live chat widget
According to Shopify data, businesses that respond to customers’ chats within five minutes have a 69% better chance of making a sale. That really is enough to show you how important this is.
If a business rents a billboard on a busy street, it may grab many passersby’s attention. But what good is this attention if none of these passersby eventually visit the business? Don’t get us wrong; the passersby are interested in the business. But at the time of seeing the billboard, little can they do to follow up on this interest. And then they may forget before getting home.
This is why live chat features are critical. Now, businesses can follow up at the time of customer interest. If you reply fast enough, you can catch them before they go offline.
Live chat can be person-to-person or through a chatbot. We prefer the former because it adds a personal touch, but technology is evolving, and many chatbots are getting really good.
Heatonist Sauce Sommeliers will reply to you in real-time if you text them a question, recommending from their personal experiences.
3. Email marketing
You can leverage email marketing to offer a personalized shopping experience to customers. Email personalization involves targeting an email, or series of them, to a particular customer, using data you have about them.
According to research on the new rules of email marketing, emails with personalized subjects have a 26% better chance of being opened than those without personalized subjects. This makes sense too. Subscribers will be more concerned about an email related to them on a personal level than a generic one.
Whether they are offers, advertisements, or new products, businesses will have a better chance of getting the customer to open the email if it’s personalized. And when talking about personalization, businesses should also try adding a personal touch. This means the email sender should be a person or use a person’s name rather than the company’s logo or name.
Dubsat is one company that excels in this field, using the name of the account manager the customer is familiar with when targeting an email campaign.
4. Utilize personalized promotions
Promotions are widespread in businesses and companies today. This comes as no surprise as it is one of the most effective ways of bringing to customers’ notice what offers and products are available.
Promotions and incentives help to draw customers closer to a business. This is even more so when the promotions are personalized. The customer sees it as ‘specially-for-me’ deals because that’s exactly what they are.
One of the most relatable examples of this is Coca-Cola. They launched the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign nine years ago in Australia, and the results were simply astounding. Overall sales increased, the first time in a decade. Traffic online also increased. One of the primary reasons for this success is the campaign’s personalized nature, with the company printing popular first names on their products.
Promotions usually increase sales, personalizing them would do wonders.
5. The order tracking system
Order tracking, as the name suggests, is the tracking of already-placed offers. This is in the post-purchase stage, leading to many companies neglecting it. Businesses need to understand that making a sale is not the end of customer service. You still need to ensure full customer satisfaction until the product is delivered and used.
Many businesses use a third-party delivery system, and this is fine. What isn’t fine is letting customers track orders on the third-party’s website. Before we even move to personalized order tracking, you need to effectively kill the idea of leaving all of the trackings to the third-party’s website. Why? Because 94% of customers would blame you, not the carrier, for a bad delivery.
It would be best if you took control of this process. And to make it even better, personalize the order tracking system. This way, customers know you don’t just care about taking their money. LEGO is one of the big names to effectively use this strategy, with their bricks showing exact status in a rather fun way.
Personalizing the shopping experience is one way to ensure customers keep coming back and also refer others to you. To go about this, you need to collect the right data and in the right way. Please don’t overdo it or resort to illegal or unethical means. Know that you’re trying to make the customer feel special, not stalked.
You should also personalize email marketing, promotions, order tracking, live chat, and product recommendations with the data you have for optimal results.
For more tips and strategies to optimize your Shopify shopping experience, visit our blog.