Benefits of personalisation for online stores
Before the explosion of digital commerce , customers simply walked into stores and found a friendly employee who helped them find what they were looking for.
Pretty simple, right?
Unfortunately, that kind of personal attention from consumers is still very rare in the digital arena. Even in the “age of the customer”, retailers, brands and B2B companies talk a lot about the need to personalise a customer experience.
We now, take another look at the benefits of personalisation for eCommerce businesses.
Check out these eCommerce personalisation statistics:
- Marketers see an average revenue increase of 20% when using personalised experiences. ( Monetate)
- 80% of customers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalised experiences. ( Epsilon )
- 44% of buyers say they are likely to buy again from a brand after a personalised shopping experience. ( Segment )
- 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended or paid for a brand that offers a personalised service or experience. ( Forrester )
However, in another Forrester survey , 53% of digital knowledge professionals said they don’t have the right technology to personalise experiences.
No customer left behind:
How to drive growth by putting personalisation at the center of your marketing
Successful personalisation requires four elements to work together. This is how marketing leaders build the operating model to make that happen. Personalisation is ready for the moment. Technology and consumer expectations converge to drive personalisation – the process of using data to adjust the time, content, and design of each experience in real-time – from promise to reality. Customisation at scale can drive overall revenue growth of between 5 and 15 percent for various businesses. For example, a global retailer saw a three-year sale of its fashion items in just one year through a successful personalisation campaign. Due to this reason, more than 90 percent of retailers say personalisation is their top priority. But only 15 percent of these companies believe they are doing it right. Consumers who faced irrelevant ads or bombarded by outdated offers would agree.
While many companies have had some success with their testing and personalisation initiatives, few know how to do this on a large and consistent scale across all channels. Most companies focus solely on data, analytics, and agile, while investing little in the organizational and operational complement needed for how people perform work. Personalisation is still treated as a nice addition to an existing company’s marketing function. However, we believe that serving meaningful and sustainable growth through personalisation should be integrated into the marketing operations at all levels. To do this, companies must move beyond the initial impetus of “one-to-one marketing” and enter the terrifyingly empty but critical organisational change.
The core of personalisation is achieving goals. It is important that these goals are customer focused.
What should look like a personalisation strategy?
The core of personalisation is achieving goals. It is important that these goals are customer focused. This is not just about delivering what your business wants, but also allowing each visitor to experience their favorite journey and helping them achieve their goals at every level. Think about a company you do business with online – your favorite retail store, your bank, a vacation booking site – and think about the various goals you have achieved there.
The needs of your homeware store can vary greatly during the wedding season. You rely on your bank for new information when you buy a home, and your vacation options vary depending on whether you’re traveling alone or with the family. Each visitor interacts with companies in different ways and a very powerful personalisation looks beyond who you are to what you are currently trying to achieve.
This is of course easier said than done. While personalisation is becoming an increasingly popular topic, most companies are still in the early stages of understanding how best to use it.
Three main questions that Personalisation boils down
When you start a new personalisation strategy, or updating an existing one, personalisation comes down to 3 important questions;
1. Where should personalisation take place in the user experience?
View all channels and hotspots your customers interact with. Where would a personal element help the most? Product recommendations, inspiring content, location-based services, site analysis, customer portals – map every minute that can benefit from a more contextual experience.
2. What information is needed?
What tools do you already have CRM, marketing automation, A/B testing, trading systems, that provide a wealth of information? Get your map where you want personalisation to happen, decide which current tools can support the micro-moments, and identify the gaps in data you need to fill in to achieve your vision.
3. How do you use technology and human insights to create this personalisation?
Now comes the fun part. How do you bring all your channels and data together to provide this contextual experience at scale? This is the biggest question of the 3, and one we’ll discuss in the following chapters.
e-Commerce personalisation; technologies and tactics
A big problem for the eCommerce when discussing personalisation is that there is no single device that explains it, and all types of technology have limitations.
And there is no single mechanism that explains personalisation.
It’s not as simple as “We did an A/B test, and now we’re personalised.”
A full range of technologies are involved and creating your personalised roadmap means creating your own unique large format recipe or with just as little confidence in each recipe. The table below summarizes some of the most commonly used tactics and how trust in one technology limits personalisation. Each of these technologies has a spectrum of personalisation, and the best way is to combine each of these technologies to build complete information around the consumer’s intent. In order for your visitors to reach their current goal, you need to adapt your understanding and knowledge at all levels that these technologies provide.
- [Tactical personalisation #1]: Understanding the Audience
Understanding each user’s need is a real heart of personalisation. Meeting that need requires a combination of the right technology and knowledge of how to use it.
Whether it is a new visitor or a known one, you can collect suggestions on how they came to your site to find out why they came to you. Recognising that purpose immediately can shorten their missionary journey and improve the experience. Did she come from an ad on social media? Is he looking for a specific product or service on a search engine? Did they find you through a news article?
If you are lucky enough to have a known visitor, perhaps he has made a purchase or filled out a form, you can offer the items that are relevant to him.
- Do this:
If you are a sports seller and have entered a search engine using the term “cheap golf clubs,” your landing page may sell some of your existing clubs along with other cheap clubs at the top of the product list.
If you are an insurance company and have a user via his cell phone from a country outside of your area, you can indicate that they are likely your customer on a vacation and display claim information on the home page.
If you are an apparel retailer and your visitor has recently ordered a jean, you may want to showcase some attractive complementary items for that jean such as a t-shirt, a pair of sneakers, or a sunglass. Thanks to digital knowledge platform and machine learning, you can focus on scaling up and deliver relevant content and results to your visitors.
- [Tactical personalisation #2]: Targeting & Profiling
You can digitally accompany your users as they browse your site, much like a car salesman can walk through a showroom with a customer. Along the way, a good salesperson builds ideas about what type of car is right for their customers, what color they like, what they can afford, and how fast it is. By knowing the cars in the inventory, he can show them a car that suits their needs.
In the digital domain, you can take a similar approach and even use a trick that car dealers can’t: you can stay invisible. An important way to do this work is to have machine learning process and apply all that information in real time. Not only can machine learning guide people at high speeds, but it can also provide options that can be lost by identifying patterns in user’s past behavior or matched by a segment of customers with similar characteristics.
In fact, your system can identify completely new customer segments that your team is forgetting.
- Do this:
If a fashion retailer knows that buyers will be looking for a festival party soon. They create a landing page and post the products they think festival goers are chasing. The system then goes to work, promoting high-performing items, has more inventory, and matches visitor preferences.
Additionally, marketers can create targeted promotional content around regional festivals and have the system deliver appropriate content based on IP locations.
Adding intelligence to the user experience can also provide real-time assistance to users that simply impossible manually.
- [Tactical personalisation #3]: Semantic Understanding
The search bar is the most important building on any page. Unfortunately, many of the search activities on today’s pages can hurt just as much as the fact that they focus on keywords rather than the meaning of those words in context. A search can be misleading. Spelling mistakes, the use of generic terms, differences in how people describe the same product can be a struggle for accurate search results.
On a practical level it is the difference between a stupid search and a sensible study. Most marketing platforms still look for the words on their own, which is the recipe for failure. If a buyer is looking for a “cheap black laptop,” he might want a black computer at a low price. But instead, a keyword search can turn up cheap, low-cost black accessories for a laptop.
Intelligent semantic analysis, on the other hand, considers words in context, just as a human sales associate would.
- Do this:
Intelligent search is a big advantage when it comes to customer satisfaction. Along with other information you have about this customer, such as previous purchases and recent browsing history, you can create a page that tells you what the customer really wants and include content that will help them make a purchase decision.
- [Tactical personalisation #4]: 1:1 personalisation
1:1 personalisation requires rapid data collection and analysis, cross-channel implementation, and machine learning optimisation. Marketers and fashion retailers can use this deep level of data to deliver 1: 1 personalisation through a specific product recommendation.
Product recommendations is a service that shows recommendations to customers based on their browsing history and their profile and characteristics.
It is very likely that you have seen previous recommendations and recommended results on sales websites. “You might like …” and “Others also bought” are often flags on eCommerce websites that point to a product recommendation engine at work.
- Do this:
For example, if you have a customer looking for high heels, you might recommend shoes with stiletto heels and shoes with 4 or 5 inch heels.
When a customer browses through different Louboutin slingback heels, Dynamic Departments can recommend Christian Louboutin shoes or Christian Louboutin Evening Wear shoes and display products that fit those categories.
Developing personalisation capabilities is a journey to achieve the full set of capabilities for truly dynamic personalisation: constant, real-time, one-to-one communication within the consumer ecosystem. Often times, the hardest part is just begin. But in our experience, most companies and individuals have more than enough data to start getting value immediately.
The first step is to determine which customer issues to focus on (converting new customers, increasing loyal customers spending, etc.) and setting up an energetic team to quickly test and learn which offers and interactions work best. This practical approach helps online stores to quickly gain real knowledge and experience. But even when teams are moving fast, it’s important to keep an eye on the end state so you can plan effectively to make better decisions about people, technology, and investments.
- [Step 1] Understand where and how you want to personalise for your webshop visitors. This decision should also be made depending on where personalisation has the greatest impact on revenue.
- [Step 2] Do your research on the eCommerce personalisation technologies and tools available and decide a few to get you started.
- [Step 3] Provide sufficient resources for the project. Determine who is responsible for this project and weigh the benefits.
- [Step 4] Explain a long-term personalisation strategy and optimization process.
- [Step 5] Start segmenting and personalising your website. See which parts of your site benefit the most from personalisation.
- [Step 6] Continue to monitor and track the results of your strategy. Create the best process where it is needed.
- [Step 7] Once you are happy with the strategy, start scaling across channels