In today’s customer-centric marketplace, customers have come to expect personalized marketing from their favorite brands. Consumers yearn for a hyper-personalized buying experience, and thus an actual relationship with a brand.
A plethora of B2C e-commerce marketers have taken steps to provide their consumers with personalized experiences through exceptional customer service (Nordstrom), wonderful email marketing campaigns (Warby Parker), and social prowess (Everlane). Over 85% of consumers say that personalization plays a role in their purchasing decisions.
The need for personalization is obvious, but how can marketers deliver?
1. Personalized Recommendations
Leverage behavioral data. If brands take the step to analyze their consumer’s browsing and purchasing patterns to provide tailored product recommendations, they can create an experience that fosters brand loyalty. According to Invesp, 56% of online shoppers are more likely to return to a site that offers personalized recommendations.
With that statistic in mind, it is impossible to deny the success that Amazon has achieved. The world’s largest online retailer ranks amongst the very highest for customer service, in spite of their extraordinarily high order rate, receiving and processing over 35 orders worldwide per second. Amazon differentiates themselves through the power of personalization. Every square inch of the home page is perfectly tailored to each unique user and his or her own purchasing and browsing patterns. This heightened personalization creates the sense of a true relationship with the brand and fosters greater brand loyalty, something all e-commerce organizations should strive to achieve.
2. Cross-Channel Personalization
Wonderful customer service transcends the traditional brick-and-mortar experience. Nordstrom, a brand whose name is synonymous with excellent customer service, has embraced the increase of online shopping by taking their customer service reputation to the web. Nordstrom goes the extra mile in ensuring that their consumers are catered to through any and all avenues through which they interact with the brand.
For example, when a consumer clicks on an item, Nordstrom produces a conglomeration of additional items often purchased alongside. Taking it farther, there is a call-to-action directing to a page with even more recommendations derived directly from the consumer’s browsing history. If the individual leaves the site without purchasing, in less than a day, Nordstrom triggers an email as a coy reminder, showing the exact items visitors spent the most time looking at.
The brand invests heavily in re-targeting that enables them to infect these items into visitors’ social media feeds and banner ads across the internet. This kind of cross-channel personalization keeps the brand at the forefront of the consumer’s mind, and fosters a sense of loyalty and stronger relationship.
3. Segment Your Customer Base
Personalization through mass email is a hard task to achieve. Marketers can make this process easier by segmenting their customer base from the very first interaction a visitor has with the brand. For online retailer HauteLook, every user has to take the step to become a member before they are able to add an item to their online shopping cart. When creating a profile, HauteLook subtly segments their customer base by asking for two pieces of information: gender and zip code. This enables the email marketing campaigns to be further personalized.
Personalized marketing emails receive 29% higher open rates and 41% higher click-through rates, and even understanding the time zone that customers reside in can make a big impact. MarketingSherpa reports that companies have increased their click-through rate by over 11% by switching from sending email blasts to personalizing send times based on time zones and past opening behaviors.
4. Optimize Landing Page based on Referral Source
According to Digital Trends, 73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experience more relevant. A piece of personal information that consumers unintentionally, and often unknowingly, provide is their traffic or referral source.
Online retailers like Zooshoo.com have figured out a proper way to harness this information, and use it to their favor for a more personalized shopping experience. Zooshoo triggers promotional pop-ups with special offers specific to the consumers’ traffic source. The below advertisement was only specific to consumers clicking through a Facebook targeted ad. By implementing this personalization strategy, Zooshoo was able to convert over 7% of abandoned click-throughs into purchases.
5. Embrace Social Media to Surprise and Delight
There is no denying the power of social media on brand interactions. The interaction (illustrated below) between Samsung and a loyal customer is a spectacular example of a highly personalized customer service experience that spiraled into a viral advertising opportunity that positively impacted the brand.
In short, a loyal customer Facebook messaged Samsung asking for their newest, yet-to-be released phone and included a picture of a fire breathing dragon to sweeten up his request. Samsung politely declined by responding with their own drawing of a kangaroo riding a unicycle. The loyal customer shared the exchange on reddit, where it went viral. In response, Samsung thanked their loyal customer for the positive media attention he had helped them attain by sending him the free phone he requested, personalized with the very fire-breathing dragon drawing he sent in the initial exchange. In this instance, Samsung created an influencer through a very thoughtful and personalized social media customer service experience.
The five aforementioned personalization strategies can help e-commerce and retail brands strengthen relationships with their consumers and foster greater brand loyalty.
These are great examples of how personalization can be leveraged, and it’s good to see this important subject nicely addressed. With greater customer data gathering and management sophistication, marketers are getting closer and closer to the one-to-one future predicted by Peppers and Rogers. The opportunities and rewards of personalization, for delivering higher customer value and building an enduring, emotionally-driven relationship, are within the reach of most businesses today.