When a customer walks into a store, the sales associate has one of two options:
1. Let the customer browse until they find the item they were looking for, and then the associate rings up the purchase.
2. Have a conversation with the customer to learn their wants and needs, and then make personalized suggestions and offerings.
The first will bring in some sales from customers that walk in the door, but it won’t create a connection between the consumer and the brand. The second option, though, customizes the experience for the customer. This leads to a great opportunity for engagement, upsell, and repeat purchases.
The same is true of your business’s website. You want to personalize the online shopping experience to deliver top-notch customer service. You want to build rapport from the moment the customer clicks on your URL.
A Forrester report found that over half of American adults expect a social marketing experience online. You need to create that customized service in order to compete in today’s retail market.
What’s the purpose of personalizing your website, and how can you create a customized customer experience that converts?
Why personalize your website?
There are thousands of online retailers. If customers don’t feel valued by your brand, they can easily click away and find another company.
You want to create a strong customer experience from the first moment that a consumer interacts with your brand. Most customers today find and select brands based on their website and social media.
Thus, your website is the first impression on your customer. Personalization and customization show that your brand cares about that individual customer.
- Drives impulse purchases in 49% of browsers
- Up sells 40% of customers and boosts revenue
- Reduces the return rate, with nearly 85% of impulse buyers happy with their purchase
- Improves loyalty, with 44% of customers reporting repeat purchases
Ultimately, a personalized customer experience pushes your user through the sales funnel to increase the conversion rate. It also builds trust with the customer, because it shows you care about them as an individual—not just as a sale.
Consumers are willing to spend more money to companies who put in the effort.
1. Collect user data
Most websites automatically grab information about a user, like their location, type of device (mobile, desktop), and how they arrived to the website. This offers a basic level of personalization. For example, a travel site can see where you are currently located and offer deals in that city.
Some sites and plugins will also offer a heat map, so you can see where customers are spending the most time and clicking through on your site. This can help understand their individual behaviors and purchasing patterns.
This tells you the type of content they’re looking at, which can help you determine future content that they’ll want to see. It also tells you what products they are spending the most time on and revisiting the most.
This creates a deeper level of personalization that allows you to offer targeted content and promotions.
2. Use social media
Social media creates a lifestyle around your brand, which attracts people who are already interested in that lifestyle. This instantly creates a personalized recommendation while narrowing down your target audience to engage your ideal customer persona.
Beyond that, most social platforms also collect information about your visitors and followers. For example, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ offer key user profile data points like names, email addresses, interests, likes, locations, birthday, education, activities, events, and more. These platforms also offer access to your users’ friend lists, which can boost your reach and referral programs.
Utilizing this social information creates a deeply tailored digital experience that can surprise and delight your customer.
3. Consider segmentation
You can segment customers into groups based on a variety of factors, like location, interests, and even purchasing patterns.
You can then use those segmented groups to send emails, target promotions, and alter the personalized web experience.
However, you want to be careful not to segment customers into broad categories. You still want to respect each customer as an individual. Avoid segmenting by generalized demographics, which can actually result in a loss of credibility and trust in your brand. Focus instead on interests and buying behaviors.
4. Offer personalized recommendations
Recommendations have a high conversion rate, especially with impulse buyers. You’re showing your customer that you care about their needs and wants, and you’re also putting products in front of them that they are most likely to purchase.
You can offer recommendations based on their previous purchasing or browsing history. For example, they recently purchased a bamboo toothbrush from you. You can recommend eco-friendly toothpaste to complement that purchase. Or maybe they’ve been browsing pink products and phone covers so you can recommend a specific pink phone case.
Recommendations maximize engagement while pushing the user further through the sales funnel.
5. Target and automate your marketing.
After collecting data, especially with a heat map, you can better understand the products the customer is interested in. This allows you to target specific CTAs (calls to action) that boost their likelihood of conversion.
For example, you can track if someone has been looking at the same product on your site but hasn’t yet made a purchase. You can then set up a targeted banner or automated email that sends a series of messages based on their behaviors and timing.
This stays in front of the customer and keeps that product (that they’ve already shown interest in) top of mind.
This is also a good opportunity to offer discounts. If someone has a purchasing pattern that isn’t converting, you can utilize targeted promotions to get them to take the plunge.
6. Offer personalization with an opt-in form
Opt-in forms ask the customer to offer up information about themselves. It shows a level of trust and transparency because you’re visibly alerting your customers that you’re collecting and using their info to create the best possible experience for them.
You can then use this information to further personalize the experience for that individual.
However, in the opt-in form, avoid asking customers for more information than necessary. You want it to be easy and straightforward to register with you. Ask for their name, email, and company.
You can ask a few follow up questions to help tailor their experience as well, if relevant. For example, when signing up for an email list, you can ask what kinds of emails they want to receive: promotions, new launches, company news, or blog posts. You can even offer multiple types of blog posts based on subject matter or tag.
Your customers then self-segment into lists that you know that they want to be a part of. This minimizes unsubscribes and enhances engagement.
7. Unify all channels
In today’s market, customers expect a highly personalized experience through all channels. You want to create the same personalized experience whether they’re on mobile, desktop, or in store.
Thus, it’s important to find a way to collect and consolidate user profiles across the omnichannel communication. This creates a consistent experience with your brand, while providing a more accurate and holistic view for your user analysis.
The purpose of a personalized website is to improve the customer experience towards a long-term relationship and interaction. Personalization comes from knowing your customers on an individual basis and then using that knowledge to deliver a high-quality experience.
If you can anticipate your customer’s needs, they will be more engaged with your brand. Greater engagement helps push customers through the sales funnel. This, in turn, leads to increased revenue and customer loyalty that can grow your brand exponentially.
Take Care believes in utilizing customer data to provide top-notch service with every interaction.
If you’re ready to personalize your content and email campaigns, contact Seller’s Choice today. We’ll work with you to create a marketing campaign that will surprise and delight your customers for enhanced engagement, loyalty, and profits.
This is a guest post by Andrew Maff, Director of Marketing and Operations for Seller’s Choice, a full-service digital marketing agency for e-commerce sellers. Seller’s Choice provides uniquely personalized marketing and managed services for digital marketplace sellers, e-commerce merchants, and brand builders worldwide. You can learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting here.
Feel free to contact Andrew on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with any questions.