Compared to the retail experience, shopping online can feel a little bit lonely. While some may prefer to complete their shopping without the presence of salespeople over their shoulders, asking them how their day is going, they also don’t want to feel ignored, particularly if they require assistance at some point during their online purchase experience.
Personalizing the online purchase experience for customers leads to ongoing loyalty and sustained business. In 2018, 63% of consumers surveyed said they were interested in personalized recommendations. They added that they were willing to share their data in exchange for coupons and loyalty points, access to exclusive deals, and special offers that interest them.
There is no doubt personalization strategies lead to loyalty. A 2017 report found that apparel retailers with online personalization strategies saw gains of 10% or greater—a rate three times that of other retailers.
Personalization is shifting toward becoming the “norm” in online shopping, but there is still time to catch up to the leading edge. According to research, 44% of consumers would like a personalized homepage to help them find the right apparel, but only 23% of shoppers have seen it in practice. Now is a great time to invest in personalization strategies, content, and platforms if you haven’t already.
How to Personalize the Online Purchase Experience
There are countless ways to personalize the online purchase experience. Among them:
- email marketing drip campaigns based on customer action
- targeted social media marketing messages geared toward certain types of shoppers
- segmented content marketing landing pages, customized to suit individual needs
- paired related products to provide helpful recommendations as the user browses
- alternative payment options to allow greater freedom to purchase
- high-tech solutions like beacons or augmented reality that connect online/offline worlds
- personalization of your loyalty program based on different tiers or segments
Of course, to do any of this, you need robust methods of collecting data and a smart team of executives who can translate this information into a comprehensive loyalty strategy. It may be a large investment, but here are six compelling reasons why it’s worth your while.
Why Personalizing the Online Purchase Experience Leads to Customer Loyalty
1. You’ve made it clear your values resonate with theirs.
Corporate responsibility can go a long way. One way of personalizing the online purchase experience is to allow shoppers to donate to causes that matter to them. They then become more likely to purchase from you because you make it easy for them to do good in the world. They feel good about continuing to support your business when you support their personal beliefs and causes.
2. Your customer service team is readily available anywhere and anytime.
When a person buys from you, let them know you’re available on social media and elsewhere for an honest, transparent customer service process that garners loyalty. Social media is a prerequisite for doing business these days. For a brand or retailer, the social platform offers ample opportunities to personalize content for certain segments of consumers or engage with a shopper directly. By simply being present, you show that you’re always available to help—and that, in turn, makes your customers more loyal to you.
3. You make your customers feel nostalgic—like part of the family.
The language you use on your landing pages and in online marketing campaigns can lead to loyalty based on nostalgia. Some people remain loyal to a brand because it makes them feel nostalgic—it’s the brand of their childhood or the brand they enjoyed with their spouse. Certain products may remind them of the birth of a child, a special anniversary, Christmases with mom and dad, fun college parties, or a taste of home after moving away. Use online marketing campaigns to tap into these veins of nostalgia and loyalty will soon follow.
4. Your brand is one people can trust.
When you demonstrate yourself as an expert in your field, there can be no substitutes. The online experience should contain sufficient information to make shoppers confident in the product. You can expect loyalty from an audience who believes in your founder, trusts your promise, recognizes value in your product, and finds the information you provide particularly useful.
5. Consumers find delight in your personalized customer service.
Increasingly, consumers favor personalized suggestions and recommendations as they shop online. They want you to intuitively understand their wants and needs, and make it easier for them to choose. Deep down, everyone wants to feel valued and special. Consumers know there are many companies vying for their loyalty and they are most willing to give it to a brand that demonstrates gratitude, a strong understanding of their pain points, and the ability to deliver consistent service, as well as quality.
6. You offer the best value in town.
Discounts and special offers can go a long way in retaining customers. Yet, you may not want to keep slashing your prices and de-valuing your products. It can be difficult to compete on price and price alone. Once another competitor offers a product or service for less, the customer defects, taking their “loyalty” with them. Rather than loyalty, you want to cultivate brand affinity—which is a true, genuine love for your brand and products. You can’t do that with price alone. Another way to offer value is to use a rewards program that cultivates loyalty and drives sales without the use of coupons or discounts, and delivers better ROI in the long run. For instance, Shopkick, an innovative shopping rewards app, enables shoppers to obtain rewards points to use towards gift cards of their choosing by interacting with branded in-app content, engaging with products in-store, making purchases, and more. Shopkick can be used to discover new brands and products in-store via its mobile app, or while shopping online at home or on-the-go. “Shopkickers” find it fun to earn rewards as they shop, which provides brands with value above and beyond competitors who aren’t partnered with Shopkick. You can still offer free giveaways and customer loyalty bonuses as you please, but you don’t have to constantly reduce the prices of your products in order for shoppers to recognize the value of doing business with your brand.
Shopkick can be used to discover new brands and products in-store via its mobile app, or while shopping online at home or on-the-go.
Want more innovative ideas for personalizing the online purchase experience? Read our success stories or contact Shopkick to learn how to become one of our partners and start driving greater loyalty right away.
Image courtesy of Stanisic Vladimir