No two customers are the same: Why online retailers need to offer personalised customer journeys

Shop-You-founder-Kelly-Slessor

Shop You founder and CEO Kelly Slessor.

As an unprecedented number of retailers scramble to be seen online, the consumer is hit with a lot of noise that is fast becoming unbearable. 

We jump from LinkedIn to Facebook, Instagram to TikTok, from our mobiles to desktops.

We have an average of eight tabs open on our computers, and yet we still can’t seem to find what we are looking for.

Products are thrown at us in every channel. 

Out of the 30 images I scrolled through on my Instagram feed this morning, seven were ads for things I have no interest in ever buying.

But yesterday, when I wanted to buy a pair of pyjamas for my 10-year-old son, and do you think I could find any? No.

I jumped online, went in store, jumped online again and then I went back in store. That’s three hours of my life jumping through hoops and three hours of my life that I will never get back.

And we wonder why retail is so broken.

COVID-19 has fast-tracked the move to online.

More than 200,000 new households shopped online in April 2020, but according to Segment, 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal and Instapage says that 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalised.

In this terribly busy ecosystem, the retailers that personalise the journey will be the ones that truly stand out and connect.

Personalisation isn’t just about sending out an email with peoples names. It’s about providing services, journeys and experiences that are unique to the customer. It’s about taking the human experience into a digital world. 

If one of your regular customers walked into your store would you greet them with: ‘Hello no name, welcome to my store. Please have a look at all 10,000 products and decide what you want. If you would like to see more products just walk all the way to the end of the store’?

No!

You would greet them by name, you would ask if you could help them so you could show them the best product or service for them.

Somewhere along the line in the digital evolution, we forgot the importance of connection and personalisation.

Now everyone is a faceless customer who looks and sounds the same as the next customer and the one before.

There are some easy steps you can use to create a personalised journey for your customers.

1. Impact

What’s going to have the biggest impact?

Which part of the journey can you personalise first that is really going to save them time and improve their overall experience? 

Brands, retailers and property groups need to be clear on this.

Will taking sizing information upfront create the best experience?

Will knowing their location enable you to serve them products closer to them?

Start with a data map.

What data do you want to collect?

What’s the improved experience that you will give your customer in return, in which channels, and then prioritise on the biggest impact.

2. Embed data gathering in the journey

When they hit your website, ask your customers relevant questions, and present data based on their answers.

3. Show a personalised view

 There are so many plugins for most major platforms, including Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce, that allow you to optimise the journey based on the user’s preferences.

Google Optimise allows you to deliver personalised experiences showing customers a specific view. 

If you know a customer is female, why present them with an option to shop women or men? Just take them straight to the shop women and let them navigate away if they want to.

4. Personalise your communications

This is not just including a name in an email. This is about implementing a set of rules to treat people as unique individuals. 

One of my favourite email platforms for this is Klayviyo, as it allows you to set personalised rules for your customer and capture information in an email to help target them more effectively.

5. Personalised concierge

With the sophistication of live chatbots, there really is no excuse for not allowing your customer to contact you in real-time or at least near real-time.

Build up a database of commonly asked questions from customer service records, or just your knowledge of customer questions, and use AI to respond to these automatically, but program your chatbot to switch to a human when the AI becomes redundant. 

We are seeing some great example of personalised concierge services, including Cues’ new personal stylist initiative, allowing customers to book time with a stylist.

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