Personalization Should Bring Context to the Customer to Drive Lifetime Value
Customer experiences both online and in-person can, and should, be highly personalized to maximize return and boost loyalty, but only when done in a thoughtful and relevant way. If you’re not providing the correct context for personalized experiences, one mistake can risk losing a customer forever, and hence the relationship you’ve worked so hard to create. Let’s explore Personalization done right.
Make it individualized and consider your messaging carefully
When it comes to tailoring your customer experiences the key is to make it feel “natural” and, above all, not creepy. Where personalized product suggestions and messaging often goes wrong is when we don’t place enough emphasis on thoughtful copywriting. Treat every channel communication, whether it’s on the homepage, on the PDP, in email, on mobile, etc., as if you would say it to someone face-to-face – technology now enables brands to go way beyond the “Dear XXXX” at the top of the email.
Personalization has the ability to give the visitor context at every point of the journey, sometimes it’s nuanced, sometimes it’s upfront, but the consumer is expectant of relevant experiences. This expectation is only set to increase as new and returning customers recognize that they are handing over data every time they engage that can, and should, inform in-session and future engagements.
Whether it’s nuanced or upfront, examples can include the pre-selected size of a garment based on previous purchase behavior, a more nuanced example might be recommendations based on the weather outside. Both give an individual the relevant context as to why they are receiving that communication. Perhaps where it can get a little weird is when you fire a notification to the individual’s phone when they are within a certain distance of a store.
Technology can give you an unrivaled scale, but it’s up to you, the human, to ensure you’re not setting and forgetting your Personalization program. If you lose the human element to the technology-enabled customer experience you risk talking to some of your most important customers in a way that’s completely irrelevant. Successful Personalization brings the team and the technology together to create a world-class experience for the many millions of visitors you serve.
How to make Personalization meaningful
When Personalization is done right it is seamless, and the bottom line has to be about making customers feel noticed and special. Some ways to make the experience more meaningful include:
- Helpful reminders: Remind them of recently viewed items and related promotions–think coupons for insider deals or communication subscriptions. Give online or mobile visitors the ability to favorite or love items they have their eye on. By driving visitors to log in, you can capture valuable information to build relationships and loyalty by saving their interests.
- Provide relevant discovery options: Surface what’s popular with similar visitor segments or what might be trending in totally different regions of the world. For example, for visitors to the U.S. site during Paris Fashion Week – show them a trending carousel of what’s popular in France.
- Deliver the unexpected: To drive repeat purchases, suggest related items or future items that complement their initial purchase. If they don’t buy anything during a session but have shown intent, or even added products to their basket, send them an email with personalized recommendations based on that data.
- Pre-select products based on availability: Keep their time in mind and keep the purchase process seamless by preselecting product size or type with low or out of stock messaging to make sure they don’t miss out on the products they love.
- Promote specific product to increase LTV: Another tack brands can take is to carefully promote products to visitors on their return visits, especially if they showed intent for particular product lines and didn’t purchase in the previous session. For example, a handbag retailer might have a particular bag design in multiple different materials at different price points (i.e. leather, fabric or vinyl) – if the individual shows interest in a specific fabric in the first visit without purchasing, the next time they hit the site, recommend the leather, a more expensive version to potentially increasing AOV.
- Personalize the perishables – Brands can also serve up “time to stock up” messaging, such as with beauty products. A skincare company might show the shopper products they are running on low based on average usage or how frequently the customer buys those items – both at login/visit to the site and in follow-up email messaging.
Taking the time to personalize customer experiences and communications is worth the investment in resources. Experiences with context will encourage repeat visits and strengthen customer loyalty. Personalization is now a must-have in a competitive marketplace where customers have choices at every turn. In order to win the fight to retain customers and increase loyalty, brands simply must find a way to personalize in a way that captures hearts and stays true to their brand.
Read more: Using Personalization to Grow Sales