Search

How to convert more visitors by understanding your customer’s mission

By: Craig Smith

Every customer has a mission. Few shoppers will arrive at a retailer’s landing page by accident, and most will have a strong idea of what they will purchase once they arrive. This article will explain how you can help a customer’s online retail mission and convert more site visitors.

Understanding your customer's mission

When it comes to convenience shopping, as many as 70 per cent of shoppers know what they want when they enter the store. Even if this is not the case for every customer, 72 per cent still expect their experience to be fast and convenient. Understanding and helping the customer to achieve this mission is what retailers should do best. 

However, this does not always bear out online. Unlike a physical store, where the layout is designed for thousands of potential visitors and the most general view of ‘the customer’, a retailer’s landing page loads for a single customer every time. In theory, this affords the retailer incomparable control over the customer experience and an unrivalled opportunity for personalisation. 

Yet, too many retailer sites have become the online equivalent of a convenience store, with as many products as possible presented to shoppers as soon as they step through the door. When they browse online, customers are still bombarded with irrelevant products, offers and content that take no account of their age, gender or purchasing history. 

Such practices only alienate potential customers and damage their relationship with retailers. As a result, they are spending 41 per cent less time browsing retailer websites and opting instead for product recommendations on social media. It’s no longer enough for retailers to simply be customer-driven. They must be driven by the mission of every customer.

The power of personalisation

Personalisation is hardly a new concept for retailers, but mission-driven commerce goes a stage further. To be successful you not only have to know who the customer is, you need to know their mission – what they want – and be able to help them achieve it. Not only that, but the retailer has to do it fast. Today’s always-online customer has an ocean of content to explore and if you can’t satisfy them quickly you’ll lose their attention as well as their business.

Online retailers must appreciate the importance of delivering a fast and seamless cross-channel experience. Content plays a major role in conversion by heightening the brand experience retailers deliver. However, this content must be targeted, engaging and delivered quickly no matter to who, where or what device the customer is using. 

There can be no shortcuts. It is has become commonplace for brands to collect customer data through email forms, sign-ups and page tracking. This is the crucial first step in the attempt of personalisation. Through data collection, brands get to know their shoppers on a more intimate level. They can learn their age, gender, what they typically buy and what their next customer mission will be. 

However, a retailer who knows their customer well through a database of personal information may still fail to deliver them the most appropriate content. With all this extra data also comes a great number of new customer segments and variations, each requiring its own creative and targeted communications.

Despite all the effort put into data collection by retailers, only two per cent of shoppers feel like they are understood, and their preferences known. Many brands already possess a wealth of information on their customers – where they fall apart is how they communicate this to customers through the content they offer.  

This is where a powerful, flexible content management system (CMS) proves its worth. Most CMSs are geared towards producing what we call ‘baked content’. This is pre-made content that is ready to be delivered to the customer, but that is created for a finite number of situations and customer groups and is difficult to adapt for individuals. The benefit of a flexible CMS is that it can take individual assets and categorise them into smaller data-descriptive chunks, making it easier to create more targeted, personalised content.

How to deliver your content

Online retailers must ensure that both their customer analytics and CMS are top-notch, but they should also seriously consider what AI can do to bring the customer experience to life. Customers have already embraced AI companions as part of their customer journey.

The number of US customers using AI voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa is projected to increase by 129 per cent this year. The use of AI chatbots is also growing, with notable use during Tommy Hilfiger’s ‘Rock Circus’ event, where viewers engaged with chatbots on social media to find the products they wanted from the show. 

When it comes to content, the key benefit of AI is saved time and effort. The content refresh cycle has shrunk alongside customer attention spans. What only needed to be updated seasonally, retailer websites now require a daily or even hourly content flow more similar to the output of media production departments. It would be simply impossible for a retailer to create every variation of content needed with a standard CMS without a substantial time investment. 

AI, however, does the heavy lifting. It can pull together pre-existing assets based on what is known about the customer, their preferences and habits, to create and deliver the most relevant information that guides them to the right page and product. Above all, it ensures the process is fast and seamless for the customer, mimicking the in-store style experience they have come to expect when they shop online.

AI is no gimmick – it has real potential to guide shoppers to the products they want and help them complete their customer mission.  

To help your customer’s online retail mission, retailers require a high-tech approach to customer interaction. Customer analytics, AI and a rigorous CMS are the three pillars holding up such an approach, providing the insight, capabilities and speed needed for the ideal customer experience.

Conclusion

Serving content that is designed for individuals, not generic content for the intangible ‘customer’, should be the priority of all retailers. When a customer arrives at your landing page, that is the perfect opportunity to close the customer’s journey and help them complete their mission. You must not fail them!

 

By Craig Smith - VP of Customer Success at Amplience

More content from Amplience in our Solution Provider Directory