IMRG Connect: The importance of personalisation in ecommerce

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Last week Lengow attended the second IMRG Connect Conference of 2014, which focused on the customer journey and personalisation. The day was packed with insightful and thought provoking keynotes, panel sessions and presentations. The main take away from the day is that personalisation is fundamental to ecommerce.

Personalisation is key

People buy from people, and the relationship between the buyer and the seller is key to the selling process, and customers now expect relevance at every stage of their customer experience.

This is a real challenge for etailers, who have no face to face contact with their customers. However in the age of new technology and software, we can now intelligently use data to customise the customer’s experience to make it as relevant to them as possible.

Homepage and product pages

Normally the home page is the first point of contact between your customer and your brand. Therefore you need to test the layout in order to provide the optimum design for your visitors. Heat maps can also be used to find out the most viewed areas of the site, which can help you when designing structure. You can personalise the home page with product suggestions via cross selling and upselling. Thanks to Lengow campaign tracking you analyse your communications to see which ones are being clicked and how often (get in touch for more info: contact@lengow.co.uk).

Ideally you should be continually testing your product layout, i.e: the variation and combination of options available, to see which layout works best. For example on a fashion ecommerce site visitors should be able to display products that are only available in their size.

Accounts

The more data you collect regarding a customer, the richer and more customised you can make the experience. However, forcing a customer to make an account in order to carry out a purchase may have a detrimental effect on conversion rate. Setting up an account should ideally be an option and you need to give the customer an incentive to give you their details, even if the incentive is something as simple as making future transactions easier. In the below example from Asos, customers are offered the option of having exclusive discounts and style advice when they register.

Allow customers the possibility to give information regarding their preferences, for example “I am interested in” or “don’t tell me about”. This information can be then used in other channels, for example email. Furthermore, this information, when linked with an individual account containing information such as age, gender and spending pattern, can be used to decide recommendations and the complimentary content displayed to the account holder.

Customers should have the opportunity to bookmark items and create a wish list. This allows the customer to consider their purchase and come back later and also gives you more information about them and their preferences, thus you can market them the relevant products or services.

You can even give your customer an account homepage, where relevant products and information can be displayed.

Recommendations and reviews

Ecommerce sites can make recommendations to previous customers based on their purchase history, indicated preferences or based on the purchase history of similar users. You can create a recommendation engine, which will use behavioural analysis, follow up actions and product recommendations. For example, when a user abandons a cart, an email can be sent to them promoting the product they put in their cart, or similar ones. However, the effectiveness of this technique depends on the reason they abandoned the cart in the first place. For example, if they did not complete the purchase as they were distracted, the email will work as a reminder. However, not all reasons for abandonment are under the control of the retailer.

However, customers do not always trust brands to say what is good, and this is where customer reviews can be helpful. Not only do they improve conversion rate when linked to products, reviews also empower the customers writing them, allowing them to have a voice on the retailer. User generated content has also been shown to improve loyalty.

Loyalty Schemes

And speaking of loyalty, creating a loyalty scheme is also great way of gaining data to generate promotions and further engagement activities. Insights gained from a loyalty programme can improve personalisation and make the customer feel more valued. Customers can have a loyalty card for numerous brands and thus they do not make a big difference to their loyalty. However, having an understanding of a customer and understanding what information is relevant to them and at what moment can be effective in increasing loyalty and conversation rate.

Conclusion

Most customers accept that in order to get a better service they must part with some personal information. You need to ensure that you get the right balance between the amount of information asked for and the level of personalisation of the service you provide.

Customer acquisition and retention is becoming more and more costly. Furthermore, it is far more cost efficient to keep customers loyal than acquire new ones. Personalising the customer’s journey helps you to form a closer relationship with them and thus increase their lifetime value.

 

 

 

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Kathryn Bird