Do you want happy, loyal customers? Then you need to provide them a personalized customer experience. 70% of customers are comfortable with giving you the information you need to do this - as long as it improves their customer experience. And it’s likely you already have this data. Getting personalization right results in higher revenue, more impulse buys, and fewer returns. By 2020 75% of customers will expect a personalized customer experience, so it’s important to act today to retain customers tomorrow. Here's a few tips on how to personalize the customer experience and reap the rewards:
1. Provide Incentives to Collect Customer Data
Shoppers will gladly share personal information if there’s something in it for them – 63% say that receiving a discount within an hour of interacting with a brand will help improve loyalty. A good way to collect useful customer information is to get customers to fill out a shopper profile and reward them for every stage of completion.
Collecting this data will help you to create the type of personalized offers that inspire customer loyalty. The information you ask for should include:
- Their first name
- Products they’re interested in
- Preferred channel of communication
Knowing your customer’s preferred channel of communication (such as chat apps, SMS, push notifications, or even RCS) helps you engage them with one-to-one marketing on the channels they’re most responsive to. Asking for your customer’s birthdate lets you target them with special birthday deals over these channels. Security concerns may make customers cautious about sharing their full name - but this is fine, since you’re only aiming to achieve a first-name-basis relationship.
2. Use Customer Data Effectively
You know how to instantly lose trust in a relationship? Try calling someone by the wrong name. 76% of customers said that they get frustrated when brands get their name wrong. The same survey shows that 37% will be less willing to make a purchase after being misaddressed.
You can avoid the embarrassment by using placeholders and matching these to corresponding fields in your CRM. This will let you create automated, highly personalized campaigns. Personalizing the customer experience in this way shows your customers that you value them more as individuals rather than walking credit cards.
Getting your customer’s name right is just one personalization strategy. Another thing customers expect you to know is their purchase history. 63% of customers expect a brand’s mobile app to remember web purchases. When this doesn’t happen, you risk frustrating 71% of your customers. Keeping up with their purchases helps you personalize the shopping experience by offering items based on customer spending habits, as well as product ranges that interest them.
3. Get Personal with the Right Channels
Millennials and Gen Z live on mobile. Research shows 95% of millennials are doing other things while they shop - they're binge-watching their favorite shows, brunching on avo toast with friends, commuting... You get the idea. If you want to grab their attention, it needs to be through personalized experiences using the right communication channels.
While email is good – almost free and has the highest ROI - 74% of millennials say that they receive too many marketing emails. Also, GDPR has changed how broadly you may use customers’ personal data, including their emails. In a different survey, 76% reported that they were happy with an impulse purchase when it was communicated over push notification.
More than half of millennials said that they want to receive delivery notifications via text. However, only 20% reported that they receive texts from the brands that they do business with.
This preference comes from the fact that millennials would rather text than call. In the same survey, 80% stated that they would rather text businesses than call them for customer support issues. Using a chat app for this is ideal, since almost everyone uses a chat app. In addition to helping you build a more personal brand experience by texting customers, chat apps also support images and higher character limits. This gives you even more options to personalize the customer experience.
4. Don’t Silo Your Customer Data
Data silos occur in retail organizations when different strategies are employed for different channels. The result? Fragmented customer profiles that make creating personalized experiences difficult.
Making customer profiles available through a single interface gives your marketing team the insights they need to create a personalization strategy that boosts customer loyalty, but also sales and revenue.
Using this data in real-time allows you to provide compelling, personalized offers that satisfy the rising demand for instant gratification from today’s shopper. 40% of customers have spent more than they planned to because the experience was personalized, and 23% of them spent more than $50 on a single purchase of this type.
5. Personalization In-Store Still Matters
It’s no news that brick and mortar stores are struggling to keep up with online. But it's also not really true. Millennial and Gen-Z shoppers are opting to visit physical stores more and more. In fact, 50% of millennials prefer taking their shopping in-store. The physical experience is important to price-conscious Millennials, as well as to Gen-Z – who are also very value-oriented.
When they visit your store, they still expect personalized customer service. However, only 17% find that retailers are doing a good job with this. A further 41% expect retailers in a physical store to know what they have purchased online - though only 19% have experienced this.
Most importantly, Millennials shop on their mobile devices, in-store. Think of your physical store as a showroom for them – the better the personal experience in-store, the more likely they are to convert.
6. Complimentary Offers Grow Loyalty and Revenue
70% of millennials are comfortable with retailers tracking their purchasing and browsing behaviors - as long as it improves the customer experience. In fact, they expect this and will reward retailers by making purchases off the back of personalized offers.
When considering their previous purchases, however, it’s important to make sure your offers are complimentary and not just more of the same.
Think sofas – they’re expensive, occupy your customer’s private living space, and are long-term purchases. When your customer buys a sofa, they won’t appreciate receiving an offer for another at a discount.
For true customer personalization, think complimentary offers– throw pillows or stain remover. Take it a step further and match the throw pillows to the color of the sofa, and stain remover to the material the sofa is made from. This is the sort of personalized customer experience that helps build loyalty.
In today’s competitive retail space, it can be difficult to attract and retain customers. But by paying attention to what your customers are trying to tell you, and by giving them the channels to do this, you can create a personalized customer experience that drives loyalty and pays dividends this shopping season and for many more to come.
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