In the last ten years, the online world has exploded, to an extent that the internet now directly affects our daily lives. From mobile phones, and computers at work and at home, to business communication.
One of the most popular and successful enterprises to come from the internet is Online Shopping.
Online retail sales in the UK are expected to grow by at least 15% this year alone. Shopping online is quick, convenient, and can be done wherever you are. This makes it a boiling pot of profit waiting to be taken advantage of, and the best way to engage customers is to personalize their shopping experience or rewards when they log on.
Here are the best ways to personalize your customers’ online experience.
1. Tracking buying habits
A good way of increasing customers' purchases, is to keep track of what they are looking at, what they are buying, and their search terms. For instance, if yours is a clothing business and a customer has searched for ‘ red shoes’ your adverts should be of red shoes, or the closest equivalent, alongside related products the customer may be interested in.
This means the next time a customer goes to your website there will be helpful suggestions based on what you know they are interested in buying.
2. Personalised offers
This is related to tracking buying habits. When emailing consumer updates to a customer, it is important to be aware of what they individually want to buy. Whether as part of a newsletter or when they log onto their online account on your website, it is a good idea to suggest products based on their search results. Many online retailers suggest more options for their customers to choose from, whilst keeping the products appropriate to each individual customer.
3. Clean design layout
This is a personalization that all customers can appreciate. Some will know their way around a computer better than others, but a busy and complicated website is off-putting to everyone, and customers feel alienated by being expected to be tech-savvy. Too many customers say online shopping frightens them because they don’t know what that button does, or where they can go to see that product. Make sure your website is clear concise and ‘ sign posted’ – that way you won’t miss out on sales because a customer finds the website confusing.
4. Social Media
The current Goliath of the internet is social media
; not only does it indirectly affect everyone regardless of whether they use it, but it is also a great platform for eCommerce businesses to maximize sales. A real asset to personalization is to give customers the option of logging into your website via a social media platform
, such as Facebook or Twitter. Not only will your business be mentioned on their ‘ news’ frame, but many customers will choose to share your products, which immediately multiplies
the audience your products are reaching.
5. Visual model
The new and relatively unused branch of personalized online shopping is using a visual model. In clothing businesses, this would mean providing a picture of a model in the size the customer has selected so they can see how the product would suit a person with their particular build. It greatly increases the chances of the customer buying the product as the one minor downfall of online shopping is not being able to try it before you buy.
This can also work for other types of business: visual diagrams explaining how to use a product, or example photos of a new kitchen design in the measurements provided by the customer. Manipulating technology in this way is a new and profitable way to personalize and increase customers’ online shopping.
6. Ratings & Reviews
Feedback is a key phrase to any successful relationship with a customer. Once a customer has purchased your product, give them the option of rating it, as well as a variant of the ‘ Would you recommend this item to a friend?’ button. Not only does it make the customer feel appreciated by being asked their opinion, but the statistics also have the potential to boost further sales for your website.
Bring your customer's online shopping experience right to their local town. Apps and devices which can access a customer’s current location are a great way to make their shopping experience more fluid. Less effort for the customer will incline them to buy. Helpful links to have on your website could include a local store finder that the customer can access. This will make your business more personalized and accessible.
Most online businesses should have an online newsletter or regular emails to be sent to their customers. In order to illustrate to customers that each of them is important, why not use them for your publicity? Inviting customers to send in pictures of them using the products, using a variation of ‘ Your own stories’ where customers can share their experiences of successful products. Your publicity will grow, as well as boost the confidence of your customers by being included in the company’s bigger picture, emphasizing the personal touch.
9. Reward loyalty
The benefit of rewarding your customers is that they will feel as though they have personally done something good. Every customer will appreciate being rewarded for their loyalty to your business, translating to continued custom. Consider offering deals with certain multiple buys, or include a free relevant item with certain purchases. It implies yours is not just another cold company only interested in profit. Instead, it shows you to be genuinely interested in giving the customer the best possible value for money and showing you appreciate them shopping with your business rather than someone else’s.
With the number of us who shop online set to keep rising for the foreseeable future, it’s important to make sure your customer gets the same personal touch they would receive if they were in a store. Personalizing the online shopping experience of your website will ensure your business thrives, and your customers keep returning.
About the Author
Mark has a degree in business and currently works as a marketing consultant. With a passion for helping companies achieve their ambitions, Mark relies on his knowledge of marketing to get results.