Search

How To Create A Personalised Customer Experience That Converts



I’m a person, singular. I have one persona. Brands should treat me as such, rather than treating me as a collection of different profiles, depending on how they’re interacting with me. 

Customers identify themselves online often, and in various ways. They leave a digital footprint whenever they login to a website, click through to a web page from an email, make an online retail purchase, or provide an email address at checkout in a store.

Customer Experience In Online Retail – The Definitive Guide (Updated for 2018)

 

Each of these touch-points helps to create a picture of the customer, which can be used to inform marketing and sales. Together, they reveal a more fully formed customer profile. It is a ‘no-brainer’ for retailers who want to make decisions based on the most detailed customer portrait available, especially as they seek to elevate the customer experience ever further.

How should a retailer use that picture of the customer, and how can that benefit both parties? There’s a wealth of information available, but the challenge is to use it in a way that delights the shopper.  However  retailers need to ensure they don’t step over the ‘creepy line’, where the experience feels too intrusive and the customer feels uncomfortable with the amount that the retailer knows about them, or  feel their digital footprint is being used as a sales tool.

Here are three ways that a retailer can use data from the customer journey to offer a personalised customer experience that streamlines the path to purchase, and ultimately encourages conversions.

Personalised recommendations

As a customer, I do most of my browsing on my phone, often on the go, and often during breaks in whatever sporting event I happen to be watching. My time is precious and my attention span is short.

If I’ve just picked up a natty red checked shirt online, a retailer can provide a far better experience by tapping into my purchase history, and following up with an email to recommend products to ‘complete the look’, or products other customers have also purchased, rather than simply by suggesting (or guessing) products that I may already have, or else by doing nothing at all.

Using my past interactions to get the correct content in front me of me is important to me, especially given my own time constraints.

But my phone isn’t my only way to connect to a brand, of course; it is just my default means. I open emails on my laptop, as well. I even shop in bricks-and-mortar shops at times — on the odd occasion when I find myself in town for the football.

These other interactions should be recorded, and collated. Understanding how customers interact with retailers across channels and devices can help to develop online retail revenues and polish the brand experience.

Helpful prompts, fast-track checkouts

Let us consider another habitual trend in connected retail. I open an email from a clothes shop on my phone, say; I click the men’s section, and start my shopping journey. I use my shopping basket to hold products I might be interested in purchasing later.

The retailer should remember these interactions for future visits! Because after streaming the live game on my laptop, I check back in to consider my basket options — the black or the blue; which goes best with a red checked shirt?

This is where brands can slicken-up and single-out the personalised customer experience they provide. Retailers should already know I prefer to make final purchases on my laptop, rather than on my phone, and they should fast-track my checkout as soon as they see I’ve switched to my laptop, after adding items to my basket.

And in the event I am distracted by the post-game analysis, or a new instalment of the latest Netflix series, and I momentarily forget I cannot live without those items in my basket, then a helpful nudge to remind me of the goods still in my basket is often all I need to re-engage.

Inter-channel sales intelligence

But it is not just about uniting online sales channels; it’s also about bringing offline channels into the mix. Next-day delivery has heightened my expectations of online retail, but it won’t cut it in this case. My needs are great, and my time is limited. I need that checked shirt, like yesterday!

Fortunately, I live in the city, and I am well served by physical retail outlets. Seeing the transition from my phone to my laptop should also prompt the retailer to show me inventory in nearby stores. If the item is in stock, and at a nearly equivalent price, there’s a chance I might hop in a car, or walk to the nearest shop.

Sure, the click and collect option doesn’t often do it for me, but it brings variety and choice, and works well for urgent purchases. But these channels need to be connected up to ensure the customer experience remains simple, and uncluttered as well.

That helpful prompt to return to my shopping basket becomes a nuisance, and a negative experience, if I have abandoned my online journey to complete a purchase in-store instead. These cross-channel customer interactions must be joined up if we are to avoid the dissatisfaction of multiple personality disorders on both sides.

Conclusion

A personalised customer experience is not just about brands unifying their online retail communications channels and customer data to create a single customer profile, but about ensuring their own intelligence and communications are cohesive, and not disjointed and contradictory.

And the focus must always be on user experience. If you’re not using your data in a way that makes shopping more pleasant and more convenient for the customer, you’re not using it correctly.

Recommendations and prompts should be navigation aids over pushy sales messages. Showing that you appreciate and value their custom is of course important to customer retention, but the other side of that coin is that you risk annoying the shopper.

Finally, remember that the online shopper exists in the real world. Just because they began their path to purchase online, it doesn’t mean that online is where it will end.