If you change your relationship status on Facebook from single to married, expect the ads to change along with it. Same thing if you hit a certain milestone, “like” different pages, or change your job.
You – and your customers – are more connected than ever before. You can communicate directly with a business through their Twitter page, receive email offers based on recent purchases, and fill out surveys to provide feedback and further customize your shopping experience. And that’s the key, isn’t it? When someone is highly engaged, you’re no longer trying to sell them on a product – you’re creating an experience that encourages them to buy.
Customers Want a Personalized Experience
Gone are the days of blasting out an advertisement to everyone and hoping some people are convinced to buy. Today’s customer demands a personalized experience, regardless of whether they’re shopping online or in-store.
In fact, 63% of Millenials have stated they’re willing to share their personal data if it means your business will provide a more personalized experience.
This is a dream come true for marketers – not only is it easier to collect data than ever before, but it’s easier to use that data to grow your business by showing your customers things they really want! Every customer only has so much time in a day – and they expect businesses not to waste their time by showing them ads for products they’d never be interested in.
As usual, Amazon is one of the best at personalizing the customer’s experience. When you click on a book page, you’ll see product listings for similar books. For example, if you click on a romance novel, you’ll see ads for other romance novels on the same page.
Obviously, it wouldn’t make sense to put horror novels on the same page – in the same way that you don’t try to sell meat to a vegetarian.
By creating a personalized experience, Amazon makes it easier for their customers to shop – which ultimately results in more sales.
So the question for your business is: how can you create a personalized experience without going overboard?
Making Offers Based on Historical Purchases
The easiest way to personalize your customer’s shopping experience is to send them exclusive offers based on their shopping history.
If you’ve been tracking what products or services your customer has been buying (and you should be!), you’ll know what other products and services they’re likely to be interested in.
You can then take this information and email them offers based on their purchase history. Even better – give them the opportunity to create a wish list, and send them emails when things go on sale.
Personalize Every Emails
If you have your customer’s name, you should use it. People respond favorably to hearing (or reading) their own name.
However, you want to take this one step further – not only should you be personalizing your customer’s part of the email, you should be personalizing your own part too.
No one wants to talk to firstname.lastname@example.org. They want to talk to Jason@yourbusiness.com or Ashley@yourbusiness.com. Your customer wants to feel like they’re connecting to a real person, that they’re not just a number. The best way to do that is to provide them with a real person to talk to.
When you’ve personalized your communication, you can also ask them for favors – micro commitments – in exchange for special discounts. For example, you can ask them to take a survey in exchange for a discount.
Then you can use the data collected in that survey to better personalize their shopping experience or conduct your own market research initiatives to improve products or services.
B2B brands also use this tactic to collect information about their potential customers, which they then use to tailor exactly what offer or combination of services will best fit the person’s needs.
A customized shopping experience, means a customer is more likely to convert on the right product(s), increasing sales efficiency and buyer happiness.
Provide a Consistent Experience
Customers expect and reward consistency. That’s why no matter the means of communication, there must be a consistency across all platforms.
Think of it this way. People go to chain restaurants because the quality doesn’t vary between locations – and it’s the same thing with your business. Whether you’re communicating over the phone, in person, through social media, or over email, the quality of your communication has to be the same.
Taken one step further – you should be able to offer the same deals and discounts in all channels that you do through email. This is one of the reasons personalized membership programs work so well –when they’re implemented correctly, you can use the data to set aside a few items for the customer and personalize the in-store experience.
Give an Immediate Response
Your business’s responsiveness is key to building brand loyalty. In fact, 80% of customers surveyed admitted that any business that provides an immediate response will be repaid with brand loyalty.
This is going to become more true as time goes on.
But your immediate response goes beyond troubleshooting issues or answering questions. Imagine walking into a store and signing into the associated mobile app. Now imagine being immediately offered an exclusive 10% discount just for signing onto the app while near the store.
How much more likely would you be to make a purchase?
Customers Want YOU to Use Data to Improve THEIR Lives
Customers are more than willing to share their personal data if they believe it will improve their experience. That should be the goal of every business – exchange an improved experience for customer data. By doing so, not only is the customer’s shopping experience improved, but you can use the data to build your business in the right direction. It becomes a positive feedback loop for both sides of the counter.
Typically, the best way to collect and store data is through surveys.
Whether you email a survey directly to a customer or have them click a link and answer a few questions, surveys will allow you to both gather data and update it over time.
Training your internal staff to update customer information through surveys is also benefitial – and much easier than training every single person to use your CRM. With survey software that is integrated directly with your existing CRM, B2B and B2C brands can both benefit from real-time updating even when customers are interacting with employees face to face.
Once your raw data is collected, you’ll be able to analyze this information and determine what your customers want – and what they don’t. Then, you can use this information to modify your business accordingly.
Personalizing the shopping experience is the future – and the easiest way to start is by creating surveys for your customers to answer.