Consumers don’t want to be sold a product. They want personalized shopping experiences that match up your wares to their unique lifestyle.
This is the e-commerce world we live in. Shoppers expect that everything from email communication to their Facebook feeds to the items they see in an online store are carefully shaped around their individual wants and needs.
So to get consumers to engage, retailers have got to switch up the way they do business — and take things far beyond traditional product pairing. Retailers with a thoughtful, innovative approach to online shopping can deliver on the consumer desire for personalization all while increasing engagement and winning customer loyalty.
We’ve gathered five tips for retailers to craft the kind of experience that makes every shopper feel like the store was made with them in mind.
Tip 1: Tap into Email Marketing
Retailers today have the advantage of being able to directly market to consumers through a channel they are already using: email.
Of course, there is a delicate balance in how retailers should manage their email marketing communications. You don’t want to spam shoppers with an overwhelming, and unwanted, number of campaigns. The trick is in the timing. Retailers should be using consumer browsing and shopping data to drive personalized online shopping experiences.
Perhaps a customer engaged with your site, but didn’t complete their purchase. That’s the perfect time to personalize an email message to remind them about those abandoned items in their cart. For customers who regularly engage with your e-commerce channels, sharing relevant digital messages with them is a sure way to keep your brand top of mind.
Seal the deal by sending a special offer that’s only applicable to the products they’re searching for or one that’s only available for a limited time. Sometimes consumers just need a little friendly reminder about products that once sparked their interest. Personalized email offers can get the customer over that conversion hurdle.
Tip 2: Leverage Social Media
What’s the next most popular channel your customers engage with? You guessed it: social media. Social platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be a cost-effective way to directly target the type of customers who are already engaging with your brand. There are two types of social media groups you’ll want to consider:
- Consumers who already follow your brand and engage with your posts, and
- Everyone else.
Both are lucrative audiences.
Your loyal customers who give you love on social are your bread and butter shoppers. They’ve already established that they like your brand, and are therefore more likely to engage with new stories you share across channels. Offer these customers deals organically through your regular posts. Use creative storytelling to provide regular promotions geared toward your social fan base. For these shoppers, personalized shopping experiences are about the stories you continue to share across social media platforms.
For those who haven’t quite bought into your brand, the bar is a bit higher. Investing in paid social media campaigns to target these shoppers will help you to show up and stand out in their crowded feeds. There is a cost, but targeted social media campaigns boost brand awareness and help reel in new customers with content tailored specifically to them.
Tip 3: Pair Related Product Recommendations
This age-old technique dates back to brick-and-mortar days. Instead of physically grouping items together in a section of a store, e-commerce technology allows retailers to create their own personalized shopping experiences by leveraging big data to curate consumer-specific home and product pages.
Amazon’s recommendation engine is pretty much considered the OG of this technique, and they’ve proven it works. Amazon executives have noted that roughly 35 percent of their revenue is directly related to the product recommendation engine, which delivers customers personalized product pages that pair related items together.
E-commerce retailers can deliver the same kind of personalized online shopping experience by leaning on technology that uses the power of search history to personalize a customer’s online journey. Perhaps it’s a simple reminder about a product a customer left in their cart, or a product that relates to another item they recently bought. Either way, personalizing shopping takes knowing how to pair smart technology with traditional shopping habits.
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Tip 4: Market Alternative Payments
Adding more payment options is another way to make shoppers feel like they’re the only ones in the room. Plus, more options means more conversions. Instead of forcing a customer to pay online with a credit or debit card, get flexible. If you really want to meet your customers’ needs, you need payment options as diverse as your shoppers.
Instant financing lets customers pay over time, breaking up the cost of a product so they can pay it down in monthly chunks. Klarna offers a “Slice it” payment option that enables shoppers to pay for purchases over time, and they can get credit approval in a matter of seconds. This type of personalization puts the customer in control of their shopping journey, boosting conversions and brand value for retailers.
Heard of the try before you buy shopping trend? It’s taking fashion retailers by storm and delivering the traditional dressing room experience in the comfort of a shopper’s home. At Klarna we call it ”Pay Later,” and offering it means your shoppers receive their products, decide to keep them, and can then pay through interest-free invoices.
Tip 5: Customize Homepages to Fit Shoppers’ Needs
This final tip ties all four previous tips together. Retailers that want to get personal need to craft a homepage that includes:
- A place to sign up for regular email updates.
- Links to drive engagement with your other channels (AKA social media).
- The ability to browse related products without having to poke around your whole site.
- Upfront introduction to the alternative payment options you offer.
Hopefully, we’ve got you on board with the need for personalized shopping experiences. From browsing your homepage to add to cart, retailers can take consumers on a shopping journey that’s about much more than just getting products out the door.