Enter e-commerce personalization—a way companies can effectively engage with their customers through highly relevant product offers, recommendations, and other valuable content. According to a 2018 e-commerce personalization report, most online retailers offer some form of Personalization but they don’t take advantage of every possible channel. Often overwhelmed, they fail to attain the data they need to optimize the Personalization process.
By taking the time to mine the right data, analyze it, and revisit it as necessary, e-commerce sellers can create effective campaigns and successfully communicate with consumers throughout the customer journey.
Gather Data from Multiple Sources
The first step in the Personalization process is sourcing data on current customers. Traditional demographics, such as age and location, are a good starting point for understanding the customer, but they only scratch the surface. By tracking the types of products purchased, the number of orders, and the recency of those orders, sellers can see what features worked in the past and know how to tackle issues with more personalized offers or promotions in the future. Behavioral data on potential customers, such as previous site searches and purchase history, can also help sellers personalize the shopping experience, increasing the chances of conversion.
Sellers should look to outside sources for impartial, third-party data in addition to data on current and potential customers. Big Data, for example, can reveal a wide range of information and provide greater insight into future market trends. Social media data can also help sellers determine “actionable patterns” based on users’ activities, which can be translated into targeted Marketing campaigns for specific audiences.
Though data is sourced from a variety of places, there’s arguably no better data than customer feedback. According to a Salesforce report, 56 percent of customers are willing to share data to receive faster, more convenient service. By operating loyalty programs and conducting surveys, sellers can gain access to powerful customer data while also offering their customers rewards for their purchases.
Transform Data into Actionable Insights
Establishing customer profiles is the first step in data analysis. By segmenting customers into groups based on the data collected, sellers can better target customers and choose the appropriate channel, whether it be email, social media, or more traditional channels. Demographics such as age and gender are typically included in customer profiles, but other personal information—birthdays, addresses, and social media handles, for example—are instrumental in Personalizing Marketing materials like Sales promotions and special offers. By allowing customers to provide this information in customer profiles, sellers can access it as often as needed without having to locate it again and again.
The most important piece of information sellers should consider in analyzing data is their customers’ transaction history. Questions such as, How often do they buy? What products do they purchase? and How much do they spend per visit? are particularly helpful for identifying trends and upsell opportunities. Sellers should review their Sales reports and determine if there are any patterns between customers in specific regions, products, or different times of the year. These trends will not only prove useful in Marketing campaigns but in Product promotion, Merchandising and more.
Revisit the Data as Necessary
As technology improves and the competitive landscape changes, sellers must revisit the data often, modify their customer profiles, and identify new trends. Technology plays an important role in the way existing and potential customers behave. For example, the average person in the US now spends over 87 hours per month browsing their smartphone compared to 34 hours on a desktop. The increase in mobile usage might indicate to a retailer that customers prefer a more mobile-focused outreach, which might not be apparent if the customer profiles and trends aren’t observed regularly.
Sellers should also ask themselves, How has my business changed in the past year? If the products or services offered have been tweaked or changed entirely, they should take the opportunity to revisit the customer data. While the ideal customer might have fit one specific profile in the past, the retailer may have introduced new product lines that are inclusive of other types of customers. Sellers should also take into account how changes in their competitors’ products or services can affect their customers as well.
Execute Campaigns with the Learned Insights
Once a seller has mined mounds of data and analyzed it, it’s time to establish clear goals for the campaign strategy. The timeframe should be taken into consideration, as campaigns can lose efficacy over time, while the budget will determine the creative direction of the campaign, where it is published, and the frequency of the output. Because the seller knows who its customers are and what channels to target, they can pair the right creative with the right customer on the right channel.
While e-commerce personalization is a process, it’s never a one-and-done task. As sellers grow and change, so do their future customers. To stay relevant in a competitive e-commerce market, online retailers must constantly stay aware of their customers’ key traits, monitor the data, and deliver consistent campaigns that not only inspire results but create an engaging, personalized customer experience.