Does your online store offer an intuitive, personalized shopping experience?
Are you using your customer’s information to present more relevant products to them?
If not, you could be losing out on orders. In fact, 45% of online shoppers are more likely to shop on a site that offers personalized recommendations.
Amazon is the golden standard of a dynamic shopping experience. But, that doesn’t mean you need to be a $200 billion company to offer the same benefits of online shopping to your customers and increasing your sales in the process.
Here are a few ways you can personalize your customer’s shopping experience and see big results:
Recommend Products Based on Past Purchases
Displaying product recommendations is a standard method of personalized shopping. When customers place an order on your site, they are sharing something unique about themselves. You can use this information to help them find other products they might enjoy, as opposed to digging around through pages and pages of product listings.
Amazon’s homepage is a great example of the extent of product customization based on order and browsing habits. You can find recommendations based on Kindle purchases, wishlists, top products, shopping trends, top selling products, and recently viewed items.
In addition to recommending products directly on your site, you can also make recommendations elsewhere:
- Email marketing campaigns
- Re-marketing advertising campaigns
- Print mail
- Discount offers
One final word on recommendations: don’t think you have to be recommending products. You can also make recommendations of valuable content. If you have an ongoing content marketing campaign, consider segmenting customers based on their browsing habits. If they buy products for antique cars, send them trade show information and seeing what type of response it receives. Make yourself valuable and relevant in their non-shopping activities.
Product Listings Based on Browsing History
You can gain a lot of insight into your customer based on their history on your site. If someone is looking at women’s clothing and shoes, you can make an educated guess that they are either female or are in the market for a gift.
With that information, you can customize the rest of your online store to cater to that browsing preference. A few areas you are able to customize according to browsing history include:
- Featured products
- Best sellers
- Category pages (showing women’s clothing on Apparel category pages by default)
- Filtering irrelevant products from recently viewed listings
A basic principle in marketing is to remove all barriers between the product and your customer. Help shoppers find what they are looking for. Don’t make them work for it. The more accurately you can identify their need based on their current browsing session, the faster you can get that product in front of them.
Take a look at the areas of your site that you are listing products and make sure you are making them personalized to the shopper. Use a mix of their order history and current browsing session to identify their intent. Are they looking at products in a category they browse often? Or are they viewing products in a never-before explored area of your site?
Another strategy is to ask for additional information to create a personalized shopping experience. This may be information you wouldn’t collect during the checkout process. With this information, you can build different personas of your customers to help you better customize your online store.
For example, if you ask customers to specify their top hobbies on their profile, you can craft the entire site to cater to those specific hobbies. Changing the homepage, re-ordering categories, and highlighting more relevant products are a few ways you can get more relevant products in front of that customer.
You can also begin to group your customers into customized personas based on their shopping habits. These can include:
- Focused shoppers: customers that know what they are looking for, and tend to make quick purchases.
- Researchers: customers that are collecting information on products to make a decision. They will browse a variety of product pages in the same category, look at pricing and compare specifications.
- Bargain shoppers: customers looking for the best deal. Motivated by discount offers and frequently shop during sale periods.
- Browsers: customers that are having fun, killing time, or looking for ideas.
- One-Timers: customers that are here to make a specific purchase and never return. They may check out as a guest. Sometimes these shoppers are buying a niche product that they couldn’t find elsewhere.
If you aren’t currently grouping customers based on a persona, start at the top with large personas that include a large number of people. Then over time you can begin to narrow down the segments based on what the information tells you. These personas can vary widely and are going to be different for your unique business. By creating personas based on your shoppers you can create highly targeted experiences that speak to their preferences and habits.
Is your online store like Michelangelo’s Statue of David? Static, never changing, and preserved in time? Or is it dynamic, fluid, and reflects the personality of your customer? Always put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Consider what they are thinking, why they are shopping, and how they will react if they are having trouble finding what they are looking for. Then make sure your site tells them you understand those things, and show that you have made efforts to help them in their search.