Online shopping is still experiencing growing pains as more consumers shift away from the limitations and challenges of in-store shopping, which has been exacerbated by recent supply chain issues, toward the convenience and on-demand nature of digital marketplaces.
In the wake of this continuing process, online vendors keep hearing from consumers about what improvements are needed. More personalization tops online shoppers’ wish lists. However, many newcomer merchants to e-commerce have not yet learned how to meet those demands.
At best, e-commerce success depends on two things. One is the merchant’s ability to balance an in-store look and feel of looking at products and talking with an associate. The other is an interactive shopping experience driven by customer personalization.
In a tougher economy, as a business, as a brand, and as a marketer, online vendors must make their dollars and efforts work harder, according to Warren Jolly, CEO of e-commerce brand builders firm adQuadrant. Therefore, vendors must provide a more personalized, catered customer experience by spending their media dollars better.
“I think it’s definitely an evolution, and personalization has come a long way from the days of just being able to personalize email,” he told the E-Commerce Times.
Following is a list of strategies for providing the personalized experience online shoppers crave offered by several e-commerce experts.
1. Use the Power of Generative AI
Gen AI serves as a cornerstone for revolutionizing e-commerce personalization, offered Christena Garduno, CEO of brand response media agency Media Culture. Its multifaceted contributions span from tailoring recommendations based on intricate customer data to dynamically generating personalized content across various touchpoints.
“By analyzing a customer’s past purchases, browsing patterns, and preferences, generative AI enables the generation of highly targeted product recommendations, optimizing the chances of conversion,” she told the E-Commerce Times.
This technology extends beyond mere suggestion, employing dynamic content generation for personalized marketing materials, such as unique product descriptions and tailored emails, she added.
According to Garduno, numerous user-friendly AI tools lower the adoption barrier. She named these AI tools as good options for vendors:
- Copy.ai offers a range of templates and suggestions to assist users who are not confident in writing marketing copy. This tool helps streamline the process by providing guidance and inspiration.
- Jasper, similar to Copy.ai, has many features, such as the capacity to produce long-form material and Boss Mode, which lets users fine-tune the AI’s creative process.
- Canva is a visual design tool that leverages artificial intelligence to simplify the process of creating professional-looking graphics for presentations, infographics, and social media postings. In addition, it provides a large selection of templates and design components.
- Lumen5 is an AI-powered video production tool that converts text into captivating video content using natural language processing for product descriptions and advertising materials.
- SnatchBot is a platform for building chatbots that prioritize customer service. It offers a visual interface for creating bots, enabling SMBs to give individualized customer care.
2. Add Voice Assistant and Visual Search Features
These two technologies are useful because they improve the customer experience and expedite purchasing, among other reasons, Garduno said.
“Voice assistants provide users with an easy-to-use, hands-free way of interacting with e-commerce sites. Speaking orders or questions aloud simplifies the process for users, especially when manual entry can be problematic, such as while driving or multitasking,” she explained.
Additionally, voice assistants support a more conversational and natural engagement style that aligns with how people communicate.
3. Ensure a Cohesive CX Across All Devices and Platforms
The first and probably most basic approach is to make sure the user experience is consistent regardless of device or platform.
Marketers without a mobile app should design a responsive version of their desktop browsing experience based on the same e-commerce solution, or at least have the same look and feel, recommended Michael Murdza, vice president of product at customer engagement platform firm MessageGears.
“A common data collection strategy across devices and platforms is key to providing consistent data-driven personalization,” he told the E-Commerce Times.
Another strategy is to provide offers, recommendations, and remarketing strategies like abandoned cart alerts sourced and orchestrated from a single source of truth.
“This goes back to having a good, 360-view of your customers so you can successfully leverage browse, click, and purchase behavior regardless of channel,” he said.
4. Employ the Latest Best Practices in Marketing
Retailers need to provide a compelling experience at every customer touchpoint. This means product information in ads and listings should be high-quality, accurate, consistent, and tailored to each channel, observed Vincent Peters, CEO of product-to-consumer (P2C) platform firm Productsup.
“Keep in mind [that] implementing multiple AI tools that don’t work well together can inadvertently add to the chaos. AI should condense operations by centralizing workflows within a single platform, enabling retailers to manage the product content journey to all their touchpoints easily,” he told the E-Commerce Times.
Some of the most popular dynamic marketing tactics Peters sees today are flash sales, geo-targeted campaigns, and regularly updated product recommendations based on predictive analytics.
Data analytics and AI can be used to analyze user behavior in real-time and dynamically adjust website content, product recommendations, and promotions based on individual preferences.
“This creates a more personalized experience for users, increasing the likelihood of engagement and overall conversion,” he explained.
5. Use Advanced Post-Purchase Personalization
AdQuadrant’s Jolly sees continuing to engage the customer after a sale as an effective way to reinforce customer personalization. He suggested offering a personalized deal or recommendations based on recent purchases.
“That’s an example of how brands are doing better and investing more to increase that lifetime value and customer retention by hyper-personalizing that experience post-purchase,” he said.
People have always done post-purchase upsells and cross-sells. Now, technology allows merchants to get much more enriched in that experience.
Why Personalization Is Worth the Effort
In today’s competitive market, adding a human touch to e-commerce buying is a trend and a strategic need. It shows a deeper awareness of changing consumer expectations beyond the obvious benefits of improving customer pleasure and loyalty, observed Media Culture’s Garduno.
“Customers want personalized experiences that fit their interests, habits, and lifestyles as technology develops,” she said.
Customization is more than just making tailored product suggestions. Retailers prioritizing customization show that they are dedicated to getting to know and appreciate their consumers, building trust, and eventually achieving long-term success in the ever-changing world of e-commerce.
“This becomes a differentiator in a competitive market, impacting customer choices and brand advocacy as they look for meaningful relationships with businesses,” she concluded.