Time for chit chat
The modern online shopper has long expected certain minimum requirements from their e-retailers of choice. The opportunity to find and purchase their goods quickly, browse in an intuitive and user-friendly way, and select from a range of delivery options, have been considered minimum requirements for a while now.
But technology has now moved to the point where retailers, and the marketers they work beside, are able to offer a more bespoke experience, tailored to the precise needs of the customer. The more data collected about the shopping habits of the person in question, the more precise such marketing is capable of being.
It’s widely, and understandably, assumed that a personal approach is more persuasive. But to what extent is this true, and are there any limits on the effect? According to last year’s Conversion Rate Optimisation Report from Econsultancy, just under a third of the companies surveyed report a ‘major uplift’ in conversion rates after implementing a personalisation programme. When we extend the figure to include companies who’ve experienced any kind of improvement at all, the figure rises to 90%
Of course, it’s worth attaching a few cautionary notes to these findings – they rely on self-reporting of data that’s not easily quantified – we can’t, after all, easily tell what proportion of the conversion rate improvement came as a result of the more personal approach. Given the trend of the data, however, it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that personalisation is effective.
In the not-too-distant past, the extent of personalisation in online marketing was such that conversational phrases like ‘welcome back’ was considered cutting-edge. Now, the rapport between an engaged customer and an effective website is far more nuanced, largely because the latter knows so much more about the former. Armed with this knowledge, gleaned from mining data about the customer’s habits and online behaviour, a far more targeted approach is possible.
So, if a customer has displayed an interest in books by a certain author, or electric guitars, or outdoor hot-tubs, then presenting them with marketing material about those specific sorts of items is going to be far more effective than offering a more general catalogue.
Purchases of this sort will also serve to improve customer retention, as personalised offers are among the strongest drivers of repeat purchases. By building a familiarity between your customers and your website, you’ll make yourself the first port of call in the future.
By providing content that predicts what a customer might want, rather than reacting to their demands, you’ll be able to provide them with a beacon of clarity in a stormy sea of content. Consequently, effective personalisation should be seen as a priority for anyone looking to sell just about anything.