3 Ways To A Personalized Shopping Experience
Historically, the goal of retailers has been to adequately serve audiences. They were often able to create broad customer profiles based on purchase history, age, location, gender and other demographics that allowed them to reach their shoppers more effectively.
However, in recent years, advances in technology and eCommerce software have allowed merchants to create detailed, individual customer profiles that consolidate information about shoppers across all sales channels using common identifiers such as email addresses or telephone numbers. This means merchants no longer have to target broad demographics, but can reach customers at an individual level and tailor a shopping experience based on their needs and wants.
With many retailers going down this path, many customers have even come to expect a more personalized and relevant shopping experience. However, not all merchants are meeting these expectations, according to one recent report from Cisco Consulting Services. For example, 39 percent of respondents said retailers could do a better job of stocking and offering the products customers want in a convenient fashion. Additionally, 13 percent said customers want a more personalized shopping experience.
Context is important though. Personalization is something customers are looking for, but it must be relevant. Fortunately, there are numerous strategies merchants can use to foster a relevant shopping experience.
1. Product delivery in a way that makes sense for customers
When people make purchases, the way they receive their product is often limited – if they buy in-store, they take the item home with them. If they buy online, it is mailed to them.
However, this is not often convenient for customers, particularly when it comes to making online purchases. People may not want to wait days to receive an item, so more options that help them get their purchase in a timely fashion are always welcome. In-store pickup has become increasingly popular largely due to consumer demand, with studies conducted by Parago and other industry players suggesting nearly two-third of shoppers utilize this option.
In-store pickup is just the tip of the iceberg. Retailers may also want to consider options such as curbside pickup or drive-through lanes that allow customers to acquire items purchased online without having to go inside actual stores. Another potential alternative is off-site, secured lockers located in central areas, such as grocery stores, which allow customers to pick up their goods when it fits into their schedule.
The more flexible sellers are, the better they’ll be able to remain relevant to their customers’ needs when it comes to product delivery.
2. Product recommendations
Suggestions and recommendations are not new. Merchants have been offering them for ages in person. However, making baseless suggestions can be counterproductive, as doing so gives off the impression that sellers do not actually understand their customers.
Retailers can create a tailored shopping experience by offering relevant recommendations. These suggestions may be based on past purchase history, recent website viewing patterns and other pertinent information in customers’ profiles. Retailers can take their suggestions one step further by offering in-store guidance in the form of beacons that help draw customers’ attention to relevant products.
3. Content tailored to the customer
Relevant recommendations are only one step toward tailoring the shopping experience to customers. Other content, ranging from newsletters to coupons, should be personalized in a similar fashion. Again, the key is being relevant to the needs of the shopper – if merchants deliver a newsletter that offers a ton of information about what prospects are thinking about buying, that can be a huge win for sellers early on in the buying process.