Ditch Generic E-Commerce Design: Personalization Wins Customers
A personalized experience is no longer an added feature of an e-commerce website — it’s a deciding factor in whether connected consumers do business with a brand. Many e-commerce businesses are failing at digital innovation because they’re not optimizing their channels to meet individual customer preferences. With recent data from the Boston Consulting Group revealing that personalization equals monetization — to the tune of 6 percent to 10 percent revenue increases — and only about 15 percent of companies considered “true personalization leaders,” it’s clear that businesses are dropping the ball when it comes to putting customer needs at the forefront of digital optimization.
This doesn’t mean that e-tailers should sit back and get “Amazon’d." Instead, it’s time for e-commerce companies to disrupt themselves. By implementing new strategies and technologies to create more tailored customer experiences, e-tailers will in turn boost their brand perception, drive profits and build long-term customer loyalty. To get started, there are three crucial steps to developing and executing a smart digital personalization program.
Step 1: Know Your Customers
The first part of the process is pretty intuitive. E-tailers need to know who their prospective customers are and what they’re interested in. By leveraging innovative machine learning technologies, brands can really dig into their digital audiences, understanding the different behavioral attributes and shopping preferences associated with each group. From there, e-commerce companies can determine the significance of each audience segment to their business, examining trends between their customer segments and understanding differences in how they prefer to engage with each digital property.
Step 2: Launch Targeted Experiments to Gauge Influence
Once e-commerce brands have a holistic understanding of their prospective customers, the next step is executing targeted experiments at the different segments to review how they interact and behave. Deploying these “tests,” brands can start to identify which digital elements are most effective and influential for each group of users, and therefore start to make correlations between audience segments and the digital features that drive them to convert. For example, if an e-tailer will be launching a new promotion and is looking to understand the best way to engage and promote to different groups of shoppers ahead of a campaign launch, the marketing team could conduct targeted experiments across its social media channels, within its mobile application, on desktop and in email campaigns. With technology embedded in the back end of the website, e-tailers can extract data from these experiments, helping them understand, for example, that young female buyers between the ages of 18-34 were most influenced through a Twitter post, while male baby boomers opted to click through an email campaign.
Step 3: Personalize the Experience Based on the Data
Armed with all this data, e-commerce companies can offer tailored experiences to meet individual customer needs. Through the first two steps, brands can really get to know their prospective customers and understand what makes them tick. Using this detailed insight to build intricate customer profiles will ultimately allow the e-tailer to provide personalized shopping experiences that meet customer needs. However, e-commerce businesses shouldn’t stop there; this isn’t a one-time process. By holding onto this data and constantly looking for new trends, brands can find opportunities to optimize their digital presence for current and potential customers.
Personalization should be at the very top of an e-commerce company’s priority list. By understanding customer preferences and using this insight to optimize functionality and the overall user experience, brands can drive conversion rates while creating happier, more loyal customers.
Eric Hansen is the chief technology officer and founder of SiteSpect, a provider of patented, data-driven CX solutions.