3 Strategies for Personalizing Your Customers’ Shopping Experience
With Forrester Research estimating that U.S. online retail sales will grow at a 10 percent annual growth rate from 2010 to 2015, reaching $279 billion, retailers have become laser-focused on creating and maintaining customer loyalty and improving the online shopping experience. However, as the online shopping habits of consumers evolve, so too must retailers’ strategies to ensure the most customized online shopping experience. Here are three strategies that online retailers can implement to improve the customer shopping experience:
1. Use the data available to you. From the checkout process to registration, retailers gather a great deal of data from their customers, yet many fail to use this information to enhance the customer experience. For example, if your company sells sports items and you ask me what my favorite team is, are you using my response to better serve me? If you ask me how I'd like to be contacted, are you actually honoring my preference? Leveraging data could be as simple as respecting customers’ personal preferences or category interests, but your site infrastructure needs to be designed to use it.
2. Don’t insult consumers (duh!). If I’m shopping an apparel site and constantly get women-related offers, it's insulting. I'd never walk into a store and get directed to the women’s department. Likewise, if you're an airline or offer flight deals and you see I fly from Indianapolis nearly every flight, why would I get New York City departure deals?
As mentioned in the first point, use the data you’ve gathered from your customers to create a personalized shopping experience. If you want to take this one step further, you should be leveraging this data across multiple channels. If I just bought a product from you in-store, it doesn’t make sense to recommend it to me on your website. Cross-channel conversations work because customers want to be engaged where they are, not where you want them to be.
3. Interact with consumers in real time. Leverage a shopper's real-time behavior to change your website presentation and augment the shopping experience on an individual level. For instance, if I walked into Target and let a cashier know that I’m looking for a green umbrella, he or she wouldn't start showing me kid's backpacks. I often see retailers not listening to their customers by failing to manage their real-time intent.