Personalization is key to converting online sales

Industry Insight

Retailers often need to cast a wide net and reach the broadest audience possible to achieve success in the highly competitive industry. Even niche retailers still need to engage a large, dedicated customer base to make their eCommerce operations work.

That being said, it’s also critical that you personalize the way you engage customers, regardless of how big your audience is. While it may not be realistic to have one-on-one communications with each and every shopper or fully understand their needs and desires, new eCommerce software allows you to get close to that mark.

Retailers often need to cast a wide net and reach the broadest audience possible to achieve success in the highly competitive industry. Even niche retailers still need to engage a large, dedicated customer base to make their eCommerce operations work.

By studying their buying behaviors, analyzing trends and using data collected from multiple channels, you may be better positioned to reach your customers on a personal level, which can translate into greater loyalty, more sales and fewer abandoned carts.

It’s up to you to be learning about¬†your customers, regardless of the channel they are using. Gaining a complete picture of customer behaviors and trends will allow you to better engage shoppers personally, so it’s critical that you have an eCommerce platform that can consolidate information from different sources.

“Data drives personalization,” explains a recent TechTarget infographic. “Whether in a laptop shopping session or a quick Google search via smartphone, your brand should constantly be collecting both explicit (by asking questions) and implicit data (by observing behavior).”

Putting data into use
Collecting customer data is only the first step, you need to actually make use of this information to have a meaningful impact on your eCommerce operations. This starts by creating a cross-channel customer profile that tracks your shoppers different actions and behaviors.

Which items did they buy in store? Did they use a mobile device or a computer to view your website? What items did they look at online but decide not to buy? Which coupons did they decide to redeem and which didn’t have the intended effect? What shipping options do they use (or do they opt for in-store pickup)? All of these questions are good starting points for customer profiles, but at the same time, you can only collect this data if you’re tracking shoppers at every interaction.

“Of course, it’s no secret that knowing your customer is an advantage,” entrepreneur Jared Smith explains in a Big Picture article. “It’s similar to the advantage you gain by knowing who you’re playing against in poker. Knowing the particular style, the habits and the tendencies of your opponent in poker can make a huge difference. If you find yourself in a situation where your experience playing against this opponent gives you insight on what their next move might be, you can capitalize on this by altering your play.”

Once you have a customer profile, you should begin to use that inform your various engagement efforts. Whether you’re fine-tuning your inventory to offer a better product selection based on buying trends or utilizing your information to create better marketing and loyalty programs, knowing all about your customer is critical to the success of an omnichannel retail business.