Get Personal: How Online Retailers Can Master the Art of Personalization

Get Personal: How Online Retailers Can Master the Art of Personalization

People say, “Cash is king.” And while that is accurate, in today’s world, so is convenience.  For years, e-commerce has offered newfound convenience through online shopping. Besides being able to shop 24/7, not waiting in a line and avoiding crowds has given it an advantage over the traditional retail experience. Through all of these benefits, however, one problem persists: lack of personalization.

For years, online retailers have struggled to create an experience that is relevant for buyers. Today’s shoppers highly value BOTH convenience and customization. As such, the ability of retailers to finally marry the two will be the solution to the famous problem plaguing e-commerce right now.

In fact, in the Business of Fashion and McKinsey 2018 State of Fashion report, survey respondents identified personalization as the number-one trend of 2018. The report found that 70% of U.S. consumers expect a degree of personalization from online businesses. This is one aspect that brick and mortar does well. Enterprises have flourished off knowing customers’ names, favorite products, language, etc. For most, success comes not only from understanding, but also from being able to use their knowledge of the customer to create a thoroughly engaging experience that is tailored to their needs, desires, and wants.

Customers all around the world expect personalization irrespective of whether they are interacting with a brick and mortar business or an e-commerce store. “Connected customers want to be heard, understood, remembered, and respected,” according to Devon McGinnis, a marketer. “Ultimately, they want to be treated like people – and smarter applications of customer data can help companies deliver experiences with a human touch, at scale,” McGinnis continued.

For the online store owner, this means making customers feel like their visit is unique to them. They can use buyers’ purchase behavior, interests, demographics, as well as psychographics, to create a custom experience in the following ways:

  • Personalized email communication. This is one of the things e-commerce businesses can do to create a bespoke experience for their shoppers. However, companies have to be careful about the information they include in emails. Do’s include information like the customer’s past purchasing behavior and preferences. Do not include their personal financial information or anything that could be considered an intrusion of their privacy. The goal is to make buyers feel like they are known, not vulnerable.
  • Offer a loyalty/rewards program. Customers like to feel valued. You can show shoppers that you care about them by creating a customer loyalty program that rewards them for shopping with you. One company which has managed to get its acts right in terms of creating a program that rewards customers for their loyalty is Amazon. The company has a Prime membership service that provides customers with personalized value in the form of free and fast shipping. Amazon Prime members also enjoy added benefits like online video and music streaming, cloud storage, etc.
  • Offer custom designs. People like to know that they are the only owner of a particular item. Providing customers with custom design allows you to personalize and differentiate their product. Mass production isn’t a good thing if you are looking to create unique experiences for buyers.

You will need to stop thinking only in terms of sales and revenue if you want to match customization with convenience in the online marketplace. Instead, put the customer first and look to find out what makes them feel valued. Doing so will help you to create better customer satisfaction and have a higher percentage of loyal customers.

Author:  Christine Duff

Christine wants to live in a world filled with cutting edge fashion, beautiful words and and an endless supply of leather jackets and boots. A product development grad of FIDM, she was the Editor-in-Chief of MODE Magazine where she reignited her love of storytelling. She has diverse experience within the industry with trend research, art direction and styling editorial spreads. She gained her most notable experience working in Los Angeles at the satellite operation for GQ and Vogue Thailand. Christine is passionate about social science and the role it plays in the consumer goods industry and apparel in particular.

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