Tips for Customizing the Online Shopping Experience
In an effort to give you a sneak peek into the Nov. 21 Retail Online Integration webinar, One Size Does NOT Fit All: Delivering Customized Shopping Experiences for Your Customers (you can register for free here!), I conducted an interview with Catherine Frye, marketing and customer services solutions manager, IBM Business Analytics. Frye will be co-presenting the webinar, and offered a few of her thoughts on the value of personalization in e-commerce. Here's a portion of that interview:
Retail Online Integration: Why is offering a personalized online shopping experience such a critical task for retailers?
Catherine Frye: The game has changed. The consumer expects the retailer (online or brick-and-mortar) to know them, know their purchasing behavior, know what they will be purchasing next, and what items they might purchase in tandem. No longer can a retailer market to categories of people; they must market to individuals. Consumers expect and demand one-to-one marketing and tailored offerings from retailers given the amount of information available about the individual consumer. This information is found in clickstreams, social media posts, blogs, consumer review sites, call-center interactions, retailer surveys and more.
ROI: What's some of the data that retailers should be collecting and analyzing in order to give visitors a personalized shopping experience?
CF: Basics — transactional history (e.g., purchases, billing, demographics), footprint on the website/browsing (e.g., clickstreams), loyalty program participation, social media postings, prior offer responses, call center/email/chat details, price sensitivity (e.g., purchase only discounted items), brand/item preferences, channel preferences, third-party review sites and blogs for attitudinal insights and sentiment, etc.
ROI: Can you give an example or two of how that data can be leveraged to improve the online shopping experience?
CF: One, a live chat pop-up providing the consumer with an instant discount or "shopper bucks" toward an item or category of their choice while they are on the site. Two, an offer forwarded through their online loyalty account from the retailer (or an email waiting for them when they log onto their loyalty account) which directs them to the retailer's Facebook page, giving them an additional 5,000 points for visiting the page and leaving a comment. Three, as the customer checks out with a purchase on the retailer's e-commerce site, a special offer appears giving them a 40 percent off coupon if they purchase an additional item generated by the site's product recommendation engine.
ROI: What are the benefits that retailers can expect to see from offering customized shopping experiences?
CF: Higher average revenue per customer visit, increased customer satisfaction, increased customer loyalty, increased repeat visits, a halo effect from a growing number of satisfied customers, eventually increased market share when incorporated with strong voice-of-customer programs, lower marketing costs/higher return on investment and a strong cadre of customer brand advocates.