As an online retailer, you may often feel like a small fish in a big pond. It can be pretty scary when you’re up agains big companies with lots of money and resources. But don’t worry, I’ve got a secret weapon for you to even the playing field and make you online store successful.
The secret weapon? Personalization.
My name is Michal and I’m the CEO of an e-commerce agency WDNN.dev. We help stores, both new and established, with their everyday challenges. Over the years, I’ve learned that personalization is a great way to make your store stand out. Today, I’ll share our strategy and tips that have been tested and proven to work.
Personalization is like having a shopping assistant for each of your customers. You should know what they like, what they bought before, and they’re interested in. But to make that possible, you need to have the data. And in today’s world, it’s not just that. In many cases and many parts of the world, you also need a customer’s consent to use the data to personalize your offer. But you don’t have to worry, whether it’s CCPA or GDPR — a good rule of thumb is:
It’s not a rocket science. Honesty and transparency is a key, and many customers already prefer having personalized offer vs. general one.
Now, what you can do with the data? You can segment your userbase based on their favorite product. You can cross-sell addon for a product, recommend them a refill if it’s consumable (eg. a hand cream), offer custom bundle etc.
Pull your order history to CSV, filter by users that gave marketing consent, group by product, create segments, set up campaigns for products.
If it sounds like a lot of work, tools like Klaviyo goes a long way to make this super easy. You can create segments and automated flows to do this on autopilot.
Static websites are old-fashioned. Instead, you can add dynamic blocks that changes and adjusts based on what your customers like and do. You can show your customers products they recently visited.
If you have landing pages optimized for sale of a product they visited, you can send the link to them (if you have their marketing consent).
The best online stores goes a step further and when visiting a site, they show a custom hero banner aimed at a specific group of customers.
Possibilities are endless here. I’m yet to witness a completely custom site based on just past purchases.
Important note: Make sure that anything you show to a customer can be shared further to their circles. There’s nothing more frustrating than sharing a link only to find out that it doesn’t work for anyone.
Invite your customers to join in and have fun while they shop with interactive features. Let them make their own choices and if possible, allow them to change products to suit their style. Show your product in different places, and if you’re adventurous enough, let them see the product in AR.
Another great, high-converting option is collaborating with a designer or another brand on a cool new product.
Let customers get involved in the product, so they feel it’s made just for them, and they won’t forget you.
Social proof is a powerful tool in the online world. You can ask your customers to share their thoughts, reviews, pictures and videos of the products they bought. You can then share these across your store and social media. It’s super important for three reasons:
Having social proof makes your brand feel personal and relatable. For potential customers it’s the most important factor that decides whether or not they purchase your product.
Having someone (or something — looking at you AI) to reach out to with questions and problems is integral part of the shopping experience. You can also make this process very personal. If your customer’s package got lost, it’s super nice touch to show them list of active orders and let them pick which one they talk about.
And another, even more pressing thing — returns. As painful as it is, nothing is perfect in life, and many stores spend too much time dealing with returns manually via email. For one of our clients we added a custom extension to their customer portal that let customers not only pick which order, but also select a faulty product, describe the issue, upload evidence, and select a preferred way of fixing it (refund, replacement or discount). This minimized email back and forth by 50% overall, and removed a lot of frustration on both sides.
And then there are chatbots. Yes, we love them we hate them, depends on how good or bad they are implemented. If implemented well, they can serve as a great first contact with customer, helping them navigate the situation. Plsu, they don’t have to sleep, so they are always there. Advanced apps and solutions powered by AI can even solve easier cases all by themselves. And I believe we’re still only scratching a surface here.
Pro tip: No matter what, always inform the customer about where in the process they are, what the next step will be, when will they hear from you. Don’t leave them in the dark.
Online store is a living mechanism. It sounds like a thing from a poster, but it’s true. Every store is either expanding, or shrinking. Same thing is with personalization. There are new and awesome ways to personalize customer journey through your store. Listen to your customers, look at the data, test, evaluate. There’s always something that can work just a little bit better, and that’s why we’re here in the first place. You have the best product, you have killer marketing, and now you focus on what matters the most — your customer.
Good luck with your journey, and see you next time.
Founder & CEO of WDNN.dev