Today the likelihood of your customers favouring your competitor is just a click away. You may ask yourself why? Well in today’s fast paced lifestyle consumers must manage their time effectively and may find it more convenient to browse for products through online websites rather than visiting their brick and mortar counterparts. Studies show that while there is still some preference in making purchases in an actual store one cannot negate the fact that having an e-commerce website is equally important. Online shopping is on the rise and is an avenue that contributes towards customer loyalty. Having an e-commerce website should by no means be an afterthought. It requires strategic planning and structuring to match the experience that a customer would otherwise achieve when visiting your physical shop.
While customers in store are greeted by salespeople that guide them in making informed purchase decisions and provide a more personalised shopping experience, online shops must invariably rely on displaying cleverly thought out content and web design to not only compete with physical stores but also other online competitors. One area to pursue in providing a top notch online retail experience is personalisation.
The more personalised the experience the happier the customer, increasing loyalty and the propensity of returning customers.
A customer’s journey together with their online experience is unique. A marketer’s job is to map out that journey and gather as much information and insight to create a highly personalised experience for current and returning customers. This paves the way for the creation of contextualised campaigns based on actual consumer behaviour and not on gut feeling. While customer information such as the customer’s name, email address and other information can easily be leveraged, a more direct approach is needed to fuel customer satisfaction. A retailer must exploit a customer’s previous product search history and preferences in order to provide the customer with intelligent recommendations to ultimately improve the overall customer’s experience on the website.
One thing to keep in mind is to gain as much data about your customers on a timely basis as possible. This is only achieved by earning their trust, then you will be capable of mining that information and creating more refined and personal marketing messages. Segmentation tactics have evolved to make use of customer purchase behaviour patterns and interactions with your e-commerce website. Understanding your audience will provide an outlook on who are your most loyal customers.
Managing your website’s touchpoints improves the overall customer experience
Customers want to feel a sense of inclusion when they engage with your website. In fact one of the major mistakes is sending out generic email messages about an upcoming sale to customers who will not even consider opening the email. Personalise your messages according to their previous search history. So if history shows that they are interested in buying long sleeved shirts and a sale is soon to be launched, segment your audience according to their different tastes and tailor your messages according to them.
Through intelligent targeting you can cater for customers’ needs at the time they visit your website by personalising the content presented to them according to their interests. Implementing a properly thought out website with the right tracking in place can allow for identifying and understanding returning customers. For example you can offer a 10% discount on a particular item they viewed last time instead of offering a 10% generic discount.
Customers are deterred when presented with an overload of information. It is best to keep it simple and provide them with the necessary information when required. Simplify the process for customers to reach the page they are looking for with the right content that best describes the product.
Apart from having attractive and personalised offers, one other way to attract customers is to provide them with high quality tips and advice about the products you offer and not just a place where they can score the best deal. Paint them a story on how to use your products. Storytelling is very effective when used properly by using subtle cues that will inherently increase the value of your brand.
Keep your content fresh and up to date. If you have a blog implemented within your website, make sure that it is updated regularly. A website should never be a static page of information. To keep a customer continuously interested it must be updated with unique content that you provide and not by the supplier.
Keeping abreast with all the latest marketing innovations right from the get go maybe a losing fight, unless you have deep pockets. You have to be flexible and adapt as you go along. Make sure to implement tactics that best fit with your overall objectives and that they can be integrated seamlessly with your content management system as well as with your e-commerce platform.
Offering an overall personalised experience for your customers will improve the sales process by identifying qualified sales leads and shortening the sales cycle. Through interesting and up to date content you will keep your customers engaged. Apart from increasing customer loyalty this will also improve your search engine optimisation. Simplifying the experience will strengthen the perception of the brand amongst your current customers, who will eventually become repeat customers with the chances of becoming brand ambassadors. That little extra planning to have a top notch e-commerce website will undoubtedly be beneficial and pay excellent dividends in the long run.