Want Powerful Results? Personalize E-Commerce Support

Today’s online retail environments deliver a shopping experience the likes of which few could predict at the conception of the Web years ago.

Streamlined, polished user interfaces, intuitive browsing and inventory search processes as well as quick and easy checkout systems allow shoppers to journey through a powerful brand experience from the comfort of their homes or on the go with a mobile device.

Despite these advancements in the quality of online shopping platforms, customers still expect more from e-commerce. Specifically, they want cross-channel shopping and personalized experiences in every brand interaction, including new forms of live help technology that bring the human element to online support. Clearly, the bar has been raised for online retailers, and decision-makers must step up to meet these demands if they want to stay relevant.

Related article: The High Cost of Customer Inconvenience: Gradual (Then Sudden) Failure

What the people want

While many shoppers still make their online purchases at home on desktop computers, merchants must take into account the wide array of personal devices that today’s consumers are using to research and buy merchandise.

According to MarketingLand, facilitating a seamless, personalized experience between these platforms is crucial to success in the online retail market.

This goes for the standard aspects of browsing and purchasing items, as well as offering customer service technology for support needs down the line. Merchants must set themselves apart by delivering consistency across interactions and tracking the histories of individual shoppers to efficiently answer questions and address concerns if they arise.

So, how are customers doing their online shopping today?

In a recent survey of 1,004 U.S. adults, MyBuys revealed that every respondent owned a smartphone, while 61 reported to have a tablet in addition. Although 83 percent of survey participants reportedly saw value in personalization across these devices, only 23 believed that online retailers were doing a good job in this respect.

Merchants must take note that improving their cross-channel personalization efforts can have an impact on their bottom lines, with 52 percent of customers revealing that they bought more when they their shopping experiences were tailored to their preferences, regardless of the platform or channel they used.

Pushing for personalization

Business leaders may acknowledge the importance of cross-channel personalization, but often lack the resources and expertise to capture the momentum of this trend and apply it to their own online retail efforts.

According to IT Web, creating a customized shopping experience that spans across channels begins with having the data necessary to discover how customers best respond to marketing, sales and e-commerce support initiatives. To this end, merchants must embrace analytics tools that make accessing these insights a regular part of their business strategy. MyBuys spoke with Gerald Naidoo, CEO of Logikal Consulting, about the importance of big data in locking down effective approaches to the each component of online retail.

“Today’s consumers are a lot more discerning, and spend some time investigating before they buy,” explained Naidoo in the article. “They look to social media for advice; they want to be treated well and appreciated. Big data lets you better profile your customers, allowing you to engage with them in a far more personal manner. If customers feel hard done by, they will leave you for your competitors in a heartbeat. An example of this would be an airline knowing which customers are frequent fliers, where they travel to, and be able to target them with special offers that seem tailor-made for that customer.”

Merchants in every sector of e-commerce will need to keep a close eye on consumer expectations in order to adjust their strategies accordingly and continue delivering satisfactory online shopping experiences.
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This article originally appeared on the LiveLOOK blog, and is reprinted with permission.