Whether you're selling B2B or B2C, you probably find it increasingly difficult to stand out from your competitors based on product selection or pricing alone.
You need a new competitive edge.
Customer experience is emerging as the main differentiator for brands to build relationships with customers and increase conversion rate.
For eCommerce websites, it's no longer an option to overlook customer experience.
If you want to generate more sales, boost average order value, and increase customer lifetime value, you have to raise the bar for your website's user experience.
Personalization is fast emerging as the key to delivering an outstanding customer experience. Here are some steps for designing a targeted and customized user experience:
1. Create Marketing (Buyer) Personas As Solid Foundation
The first step to implementing any personalization strategy is to gain clarity on your buyer personas so you can deliver the most timely and relevant content or product recommendations to your ideal customers.
Besides demographic information, you should also consider psychological factors that drive the personas' decision-making processes.
Start by brainstorming with your team and analyzing existing data to gain a broad understanding.
Then refine the profiles by interviewing your customers so you can ask specific questions.
Don't forget to analyze your competitors' content, such as social media posts or comments on their blogs, to see what your target audience is talking about and how they're talking about it.
Finally, categorize and analyze your data to inform the creation of your buyer personas.
2. Set Up Single Customer View For Omnichannel Marketing
Even though customers are making their purchases on your website, they aren't only interacting with your brand via a single channel.
Think about all the customer touch points both online and offline: blog, live chat, call center, social media, email, direct mail, referral, online store, community forum, print catalog, paid advertising, and more.
Not only do you have to be present on the platforms preferred by your ideal customers but you also need to create a seamless experience across all channels.
When customers interact with your brand at one touch point and switch to another or even a third platform -- they should be able to pick up where they left off and progress smoothly along the customer journey without having to go back to square one.
In order for that to happen, you need to adopt a customer-centric approach.
The foundation of this strategy is a single customer view.
Create a centralized database to store all customer information. When shoppers interact with your brand across different channels, the data will be updated real-time to inform the user experience at other touch points.
3. Use Product Recommendations To Increase Sales
Personalized product recommendations have been shown to increase website revenues.
By combining customers' habits, preferences, and purchase histories with their real-time browsing behaviors, you can use dynamic product recommendations to feature the most relevant products.
Besides the typical upsells and cross-sells associated with individual products, you can offer specific recommendations to help hesitant shoppers find better alternatives, encourage "big shoppers" to increase their order value, or offer bundled deals based on browsing history.
You can also combine aggregated customer data with a shopper's activities on your eCommerce site to provide "customers bought this item also bought" type of recommendations.
Not to mention, you can offer personalized homepage content for returning users in a logged-in state to show products they may be interested in, or even remind them to reorder certain items.
4. Deliver Targeted Content To Nurture Leads And Increase Loyalty
By mapping your buyer personas to customer journey and customer touch points, you can develop a detail content map to inform how best to deliver timely and relevant content.
Combine this content map with the information on the customer profiles to deliver highly-targeted content that will help you attract and retain more customers.
For instance, you can set up an automated drip campaign to nurture leads, which is particularly important for many B2B companies that handle larger volume transactions at a higher transaction value.
You can send out valuable content relevant to the recipients' buyer journey in order to build trust, nurture relationships, and stay top of mind.
Targeted content isn't just for getting prospects to make their first purchases.
You can offer exclusive content accessible to customers only to improve loyalty and turn them into repeat buyers.
In addition, you can use the customer information to design smaller-scale, more frequent, and highly targeted promotional campaigns to drive sales. E.g., offering a first-time customer discount for those on your list but haven't made a purchase, or promoting a "gift with purchase" to past customers who haven't placed an order for a while.
5. Create Custom Audience To Increase ROI Of Paid Advertising
Paid advertising (e.g., Google Adwords, Facebook ads, banner ads) is an effective way to get in front of your warm leads and drive traffic back to your website so you can stay top of mind and move your prospects along the purchasing path.
Leverage your customer data to create a series of custom audiences from your list of prospects and customers.
For each set of audience, craft a specific message based on their interests, preferences, and interactions with your brand. For example:
- Show a reminder about a special offer to an audience that has clicked through a specific promotional email.
- Promote a post to an audience that has shown interest in that topic.
- Use dynamic product ads to retarget those who have visited specific product pages on your website.
- Combine retargeting with your custom audience sets to further customize your ad message.
When you customize messaging on your ads, don't forget to use dedicated landing pages to ensure message-audience match. This will help deliver a seamless user experience and generate a higher ROI for your ad dollars.
6. Beef Up Customer Support For Good Publicity
To deliver an outstanding customer experience, you can't overlook customer care.
Poor customer service will result in negative word-of-mouth, loss of existing customers, and increase in customer acquisition cost.
Here are a few ways to use personalization to improve customer service:
- Offer multiple ways for customers to get support (e.g., live chat, phone, social media) and "pick up where they left off" when they switch channels.
- Provide personalized suggestions based on the customers' interactions with your brand, purchasing histories, or past issues.
- Ensure smooth transition if a customer service representative needs to escalate the issue to a supervisor or transfer the customer to a different department.
- Follow up with customers after an interaction to make sure the issue is resolved.
- Pamper your VIPs with special offers tailored to their preferences.
The ability to collect and utilize customer data for personalized marketing has opened up a lot of opportunities for brands to strengthen customer relationships to increase marketing ROI, average order value, and customer lifetime value.
To successfully increase the conversion rate of your eCommerce website, always keep your focus on delivering a customer-centric experience.