Personalization: Key to Successful E-Commerce in 2014

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Technologies are emerging that make targeting, understanding and engaging with your audience more manageable than ever.  As a result, it has become increasingly important for online retailers to start tailoring their offerings to the individual.

Inviting customers to consider conveniently-placed content and products that speak directly to their interests and preferences will enable your business to drive sales and increase the bottom line.  In 2014, and in the years beyond, personalization will be one of the most interesting marketing and technology trends to follow.

Frustration

In a recent study, 74% of online customers were reportedly frustrated when websites provided content, offers, advertisements, and promotions that appeared to be unrelated to them.  As customers have become more connected more often, having the ability to anticipate what they need and want has never been more significant.

Personalization of the customer experience is fast becoming a core principle to any company that wants to remain relevant in the online marketplace.  At the crux of this development is the idea that personalization is now something every company will have to start using just to stay competitive.  A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Know your customer.  Who are they?  How do they engage with your product or service?  What is their preferred channel of interaction with your brand?  Knowing your customer allows you to make products or service offerings that are individually tailored.
  • Be proactive.  Get involved with your customer and ask for their input.  (What product features appeal to you most?  What components of our website aided in your decision to purchase?  What product/service didn’t you see that you wish you had?)  Then, customize your interactions based on what your customer cares about most.
  • Test and test again.  Different people respond in different ways.  Using an A/B testing process allows you to modify elements within your website to match customer preferences.  Try personalizing headlines, calls to action, imagery, and more.
  • Encourage the purchase.  Customer reviews, testimonials, and cross-sell opportunities are all different ways to provide value to your customer while encouraging them to try your product.  Customer needs go beyond price – and so should your interactions with them.

Creating personal relationships with customers has always been the cornerstone of a great sales strategy.  As sales become more automated, creating a one-to-one relationship with customers has become increasingly difficult.  However, making the effort to provide tailored solutions via personalization will help nurture a long-term relationship for your customers who continue to value a personal touch.

– Randy Hill

 
 
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