My Small Business 28.2.2017 08:00 am

How to offer your customers a personalised online shopping experience

Here are five personalisation tactics written in collaboration with SA’s largest payment gateway, PayU, that you can implement into your sales strategy.

Developing the right personalisation processes will prove that your eCommerce website has mastered the art of delivering value to your customers.

We all know that feeling of walking into a shop and the sales assistant remembers what size shoe you’re wearing, or the waitress at your favourite restaurant already knows what type of sandwich you’re going to order.

If you’re in the eCommerce business, it’s crucial that you also relate to and value each customer in order to reinforce their loyalty to your brand. For an online merchant, this means guiding your audience through the entire shopping journey while helping them to find products based on their unique needs.

One study has revealed that consumers want online brands to understand their individual browsing habits by offering customised product suggestions, marketing messages and online experiences in line with their shopping behaviour.

Developing the right personalisation processes will prove that your eCommerce website has mastered the art of delivering value to your customers.

Here are five personalisation tactics, written in collaboration with SA’s largest payment gateway, PayU, that you can implement into your sales strategy.

Product recommendations

Whether a customer is just browsing a specific product page or placing items in their cart, they divulge their interests and preferences to you. With this information at your disposal, you can suggest other products they might want to buy and save them the time and effort it takes to find a suitable product.

For example, you could show Featured Products and Bestsellers on your landing page. If they are trending products, chances are that the visitor came to your site looking for them specifically. Or, after a customer placed a product in their virtual basket, why not recommend a complementary product – yes, sometimes they forget the batteries.

Product recommendations run on information-filtering software that draws on algorithms and data from past sessions to display related merchandise to a shopper. When merchants do product recommendations well, they can lead to a significant increase in conversions and a site’s profitability.

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Personalised order delivery dates

Shipping is a key influencer in customers’ purchase decisions, yet many eCommerce stores still fail to meet customers’ demands for flexible delivery options. While faster or same-day shipping has sort of become the new standard for eCommerce order deliveries, there is a possibility that customers may not be available to receive their package on the delivery date set by the eCommerce store and courier.

Instead of just offering standard delivery within five working days, why not let customers choose their own delivery date and time when they make a purchase? The best way to achieve this is by installing a Delivery Date Scheduler plugin. This option would especially be useful to customers who frequently travel for work and may not be home in the days after they have placed an order online. This level of certainty that their package will not be left on the doorstep has the power of persuasion – the customer is more likely to make a purchase when they know they can plan around a delivery date that fits them.

Add a personal touch to your emails

Email marketing presents an excellent opportunity for brands to connect personally with customers. A more humanly business-customer interaction has long since replaced the strictly professional approach; however, a personalised email marketing campaign does more than just addressing the customer by their first name. If the content of your email aligns with the wants and needs of the customer, you are more likely to develop a lasting relationship with your audience.

The first step to achieving this is by collecting data from your visitor. This could be information taken from sign-up forms (e.g. names, birthday and location) or profile pages (interests and hobbies). You can track what they’ve searched for or purchased in the past to help you to tailor and distribute the right content (this is also effective for retargeting purposes). The basic rule to remember when it comes to personalised email marketing is that your message needs to educate, inform or entertain your recipients.

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Rewards and loyalty programmes

There are many ways to implement a loyalty programme for your faithful customers; from free coupons and discounts to points systems and member competitions. When your website has a strong customer base, you can launch one, or a combination, of these customer loyalty programmes or come up with a unique way to offer exclusive benefits.

It provides an incentive for customers to continue to support your brand by offering rewards for their loyalty after a specific period. Aside from presenting an opportunity to show your gratitude for their patronage, a loyalty programme can also strengthen your customer’s online experience if reflects their individual style and shopping habits. And, customers who feel valued will in all likelihood be encouraged to spread a good word about your business.

Conclusion

If you optimise the online shopping experience according to the customer’s needs and build products around your audience’s personal preferences, you’ll be able to successfully position your eCommerce store as the best solution towards fulfilling those needs. When you go the extra mile, your business will be at the forefront of exceptional customer service, which, in turn, will increase brand loyalty and give you a head-start on your competitors.

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