How to Improve the Customer Experience Through Personalization

How to Improve the Customer Experience Through Personalization

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September 6, 2016
How to Improve the Customer Experience Through Personalization

These days, it's no longer possible to compete solely on price or product. To gain mindshare and loyalty, retailers must compete on customer service and experience. One of the best ways to do this is through personalization. By providing tailored messages and interactions, you can improve the customer experience and set your company apart.

To help you accomplish this, here are some personalization best practices that you can apply to your customer experience strategy.

Understand Your Customers' Shopping Journeys

Use data analysis and research to answer the following questions: How do customers find you? What factors affect their purchase decisions? How do they want their orders to be fulfilled?

The answers to these questions will offer insights that will help you craft programs that improve the customer experience. This exercise should help you determine how to implement personalization, what channels to use, and what kind of experiences to offer.

Determine the Best Personalization Method

If you've done your homework, deciding on the best personalization methods to implement should be straightforward. That said, here are some common personalization initiatives to consider.

Recommend Relevant Products

Recommending relevant products can increase add-on sales dramatically. Here's how you can implement product recommendations:

1. On your website

Increase basket size and time on site by upselling or cross-selling products as shoppers browse your online store. Use their purchase history along with data on what items other shoppers bought to serve up the most relevant recommendations.

Amazon is one of the best examples of this strategy in action. The eCommerce giant does an excellent job of using customers' purchase histories to display suggestions that shoppers might like. In fact, Forbes reports that Amazon attributes up to 35 percent of its revenue to cross-selling.

2. In-store

Integrate your POS with your CRM and empower your staff to use data to engage with shoppers. For example, if associates see a familiar customer, they should be able to view that shopper's previous purchases so they can tailor their approach and recommend products the customer might like.

You could also use beacon technology to send personalized smartphone notifications to shoppers based on their previous interactions and/or their location inside your store.

3. Email

Use eCommerce behavioral data to personalize your customer emails. For example, if a subscriber browses your site and looks at several pairs of shoes without buying anything, why not include the products they looked at in a follow-up email?

Personalize the Post-Purchase Experience

Taking care of customers after they've completed their purchase is just as important as making the sale. Keep them updated about their purchases and help them get the most out of your products through personalized tips and product suggestions.

Have a look at what Sephora is doing. As Harvard Business Review reports, when a customer purchases something online, she receives a branded delivery tracking page that tells her everything she needs to know about her shipment. She also gets educational content, deals, and recommendations so she remains excited about what she bought.

It's also a good idea to make relevant customer data (e.g., channel preference, purchase history, previous interactions) accessible to your support staff so they can personalize any customer service or post-purchase calls they may have with customers.

Don't Be Creepy

Implement personalization appropriately and with finesse. Always tell shoppers that you're collecting their data and give them the ability to opt out.

Be upfront about how you're using data and show them the benefits. Consider what Netflix is doing. When suggesting movies and shows, Netflix displays "Because You Watched..." headers above its recommendations. The company is upfront about the fact that you're seeing certain titles because you watched similar shows in the past. This practice encourages people to share more of their data with Netflix because they can literally see the benefits of doing so.

The Bottom Line

Personalization will continue to be an important strategy in the years to come. The retail landscape will get even more competitive, and those who can connect with customers on a personal level are the ones who will thrive.

Will your company be one of them?

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