The age of retail personalization is open us – driven primarily by social data mining and intelligent, dynamic user-interfaces.
In practice this means providing your customers and prospects with a service so intelligent and useful that your e-commerce value proposition blows the competition out of the water.
Here’s some ideas how:
Don’t Bore the Pants Off Your Customers
Filling out a customer survey is too time-consuming and boring for customers on the go, and with every second business offering a chance to “win a free iPad!” consumer skepticism is high.
Better to gradually survey your e-commerce browsers in the relaxed manner of a flesh and blood shop assistant. Based on actions the user takes, ask single questions to help your e-commerce system learn what each user wants and needs without bogging them down with a drawn-out tedious chore.
Get Them Talking
Open-ended questions are one of a salesperson’s most effective techniques – provided they listen to the answers given!
Designing your e-commerce solution to ask these kinds of questions, especially early on in the relationship with a new customer allows the prospect to drive the focus without feeling like they are being interrogated.
Of course, once browsing and purchase histories have been established your e-commerce solution should be able to intuitively guide the customer to the resolution of their problems.
Ask for Feedback About Product Recommendations
If your store recommends a product to your customer which goes ignored, have it go out of its way to discover if it was ignored because it missed the mark completely or simply because the customer is still shopping around or is “just browsing”.
If it is the former, the system can provide more accurate recommendations in the future. If it is the latter, why not see whether the sales can be landed there and then with a now-or-never deal?
Use Facebook to Show Your Customers What Their Friends Bought
A recent study claims that 50% of e-commerce visitors browse stores while logged into Facebook. This provides the intelligent e-commerce store with the ability to drive sales using highly personalised social proof.
Consider Your Own Facebook App
Facebook have recently announced new functionality that will enable third-party apps to supplant a simple “like” button with buttons that proclaim more specific terms like “bought”, “want” or any verb within reason.
Think about it, if a teenage kid (or an adult one) sees that several of their Facebook friends have bought your product even as their cursor is hovering over the buy button – that can’t hurt sales!
Put the Milk in the Far Corner
Supermarkets put the milk in the far corner of the store in order to encourage the customer who is just popping in for a carton to walk out with a couple of impulse buys as well. Do you sell a product that is analogous to the milk bottle in terms of frequency of purchase?
Would this technique be suitable for your e-commerce store? Or would it just be annoying and counter-productive? You could test this by showing different versions of your store to a cross-section of customers.
Written by Seamus – web and social media consultant for CRM Strategy