E-commerce: Must-have Web Personalization Features
As online shoppers become increasingly savvy, catalogers must meet rapidly changing customer needs and expectations. The must-haves for accomplishing this are advanced e-commerce features that support personalization of online merchandising and enhance the brand experience. These features will allow catalogers to quickly respond to trends, assist in buying decisions, build customer loyalty, target marketing initiatives and enable product comparisons.
Until recently, personalization features have been more reactive than proactive and have been delivered using approaches that leave much to be desired. Available e-commerce solutions that are fully featured have tended to be inflexible and expensive. In-house e-commerce development has left many catalogers with a confusing maze of quick-fix applications. Hosted ASP platforms offer little control, flexibility or scalability and can have restrictive pricing models. Catalogers who use them can end up adding new technologies they may outgrow, or implementing costly functionality they do not need. Unfortunately, reactive features and inflexible approaches simply won’t cut it in today’s e-commerce market.
To succeed in proactively responding to constantly shifting customer demands, catalogers will have to effectively implement -- and deliver on the benefits of -- the new and advanced personalization features available today. That will require e-commerce approaches that provide catalogers with greater control, flexibility and scalability, as well as pricing aligned with results.
Today’s must-have personalization features include the following:
Dynamic Merchandising and Collaborative Filtering: Driven by the broad deployment and usage of site analytics, this long-awaited functionality has become a reality and emerged as a best practice. By taking actual user activity and combining it in an automated fashion with merchandising activity, catalogers will be able to quickly, accurately and proactively respond to trends in the marketplace, rather than waiting for them to materialize in weekly reports.
Social Commerce: Also known as community-based selling, this functionality will bring some of the social elements of shopping to online retail. It will allow customers to compare and rate products, write reviews, create”best of” lists and search for recommendations by other customers. It will also provide “forward-to-a friend” capabilities, and enable search-centric shopping that allows buyers to mine meaningful data from feedback, reviews, and other online content for use in making buying decisions.