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How Do Online Retailers Harness the Power of Personalization?

Giving consumers a personalized online shopping experience requires an ecommerce platform’s AI, security and flexible billing features.

The stunning and rapid pace of technological change keeps transforming shopping, and the early days of ecommerce feel like eons ago. Consumers no longer expect online shopping to feel like a lifeless exchange lacking the warmth of face to face encounters with real people.

As the technology grows, consumer expectations develop too. As a result, today’s ecommerce consumer expects the websites they use to give them custom experiences which reflect their shopping habits, interests, browsing behavior, and more.

Ecommerce businesses need to give online shoppers the familiarity and comfort they expect when visiting neighborhood shops, because that’s become the standard.

This presents a wonderful opportunity for ecommerce companies to capitalize on this demand. By leveraging their knowledge about consumers, they can provide a more enjoyable shopping experience that also boosts sales and increases loyalty for the company.

Businesses must be able to see from the perspective of their own consumers, to get rewarded by implementing the technology that efficiently and effortlessly meets their needs. The key is to focus on three key areas: Behavioral Targeting, Contextual Targeting, and Optimization.

Digitally native vertical businesses need a platform that automatically drives business while making consumers feel like they’re receiving personalized customer service. Whereas sales associates use their training and interpersonal skills to make sales and give customers unique shopping experiences, in today’s world enterprise-grade ecommerce platforms fulfill both functions.

Behavioral Targeting

Before you meet the needs of your consumers, you must correctly identify what they are. Ecommerce platforms perform this function quickly and accurately for maximum efficacy.

The sticky.io platform can identify and segment ecommerce customers by grouping them into buckets based on similar shared characteristics. The platform’s advanced Artificial Intelligence lets companies really understand who their customers are, so they can tailor products and services to their needs.

When people use the internet, they leave a trail behind them which businesses need to track and analyze to learn more about their customers. The Smart Tags and Predictive Analytics features offered by the best ecommerce platforms automatically segment prospects and customers based on their lifetime value.

Right away, companies can know a customer’s long-term value, as well as more basic traits about each customer. This makes it possible to target them effectively with messaging, pricing, and advertising campaigns that are especially appropriate and relevant for them.

Using technology to learn precise details about customers is simply the more effective way to reach them. It’s no longer necessary to rely on assumptions when companies have access to several kinds of online insights about each customer, such as:

  • User interests
  • Engagement-levels
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer journey stage
  • Purchasing behavior
  • Frequently searched items

Ecommerce companies will increase customer conversions and retention with need-based segmentation. Responsively addressing the different needs and priorities consumers have reduces churn rate. It will also alleviate the pain-points of the cohorts which generate the most repeat purchases, a company’s most loyal customers.

Understanding how their consumers really behave is essential for contemporary ecommerce companies, because it’s what lets them offer consumers the personalized service and attention they expect in 2020.

Smarter, More Efficient Marketing

Knowing your audience also allows companies to spend their ad dollars more effectively. Savvy online retailers can increase profits with optimized marketing spends.

Identify the campaigns, marketing channels and product categories that generate the highest customer lifetime value, and invest money and energy into the strategies that really deliver results.

Marketing is the vital link between a company and its consumers. Undertaking a marketing campaign without an ecommerce platform’s guidance and insights amounts to doing it blindly.

Contextual Targeting

Online retailers need to leverage the intelligence ecommerce platforms gather automatically, so that flexible customer service runs on autopilot. These insights help a company push a consumer over the edge to complete a sale. These insights let online businesses treat customers with the level of personalized treatment they expect in an offline store, but in a way that’s scalable.

Online retailers can set their own thresholds for what constitutes a “frequent” customer based on the number of monthly or annual orders, and give automated perks or discounts based on metrics within their control. Digitally native vertical businesses can give customers whatever carrot they feel is necessary to complete the sale, from offering up the right promotion or even just showing consumers the right product at the right time.

Merely prompting customers with a message like, “people who bought this product also purchased” is not enough. sticky.io has particularly advanced Artificial Intelligence collected across the platform, so companies can show consumers products they are truly interested in purchasing.

It’s crucial that the platform selects products customers actually want to buy. Cross-selling and upselling are vital for the lifeblood of any commercial effort. Sales associates used to perform this function in brick-and-mortar stores by using their training and expertise to assess customers, gauge their interests, and connect them with a suitable product.

With technology that can identify ideal pricing based on customer segments, it’s now possible to understand who is motivated more by price and value versus other drivers, and create custom pricing for each segment based on optimal profit margins.

Commerce has always relied on a salesperson’s intangible ability to complete a sale by probing and nudging customers the right way. The best ecommerce platforms empower online retailers to get offline-levels of connectivity between them and their consumers.  

Reducing Cart Abandonment

Too often a customer flirts with buying something online, but closes the window before the sale is complete for many possible reasons. Cart abandonment is a major problem in ecommerce.

Indeed, as much as $4.6 billion is lost in annual sales due to cart abandonment. The sticky.io platform can reduce cart abandonment by 60%, a huge coup! All the automated nudging on a pain-point-free platform translates into higher sales made without expending much effort.

Having the ability to approach each customer, cart size, and total cart value product and type with an optimal strategy helps to align each customer segment. Why should an ecommerce website treat a first-time abandoner the same as a customer who does this frequently?

The platform can recognize when a customer is having such a problem, then find a suitable solution that satisfies everybody. For example, if a repeat customer abandons a cart for an order set above a decided upon threshold, perhaps eliminating the cost of shipping will be enough to convert the sale.

Having an ecommerce platform that can identify customers accurately helps businesses get the vital information they need to manage their resources wisely and effectively.

Optimization Through Billing Features

Personalization is all about making the consumer feel like the website understands their needs and looks after their interests. One understandably sensitive area of shopping concerns their wallet.

Ecommerce platforms can make consumers feel like they are being heard and valued by facilitating payments in a way that’s responsive and flexible.

Advanced Rebilling

For subscription-model online businesses, an increasingly popular model, Advanced Rebilling is a major feature. It ensures companies keep accurate and up to date consumer credit card data on file before a rebill cycle.

This has multiple benefits, including strengthening customer relationships and reducing hard declines. From the customer’s perspective, they won’t necessarily notice the continued business — the only thing they’d notice is when their subscription was interrupted. This prevents that from happening.

Anytime customers are asked to manually re-enter payment information, they may second-guess their purchase and decide to cancel it. The act of re-entering this info itself may frustrate them, reducing brand loyalty, even if the purchase isn’t cancelled.

sticky.io is capable of automatically updating 4% of all credit cards on file, and manages to successfully rebill 80% of these cards. This keeps business running along smoothly for the long-term, in a way that consumers genuinely appreciate in the moment.

Address Confirmation

One common ecommerce hazard is delivery-related mix-ups. There’s potential for many things to go wrong when it comes to shipping. Packages sent to the wrong location waste time and money from the business.

This is especially important now, when consumers expect same-day shipping or close to that.

The sticky.io platform has a built-in address confirmation tool that ensures packages get sent to their correct address. This is an important way to increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, while reducing business costs and consumer frustration.

Online retailers are smart to utilize technology which keeps customers happy while also improving sales, but it takes an enterprise-level ecommerce platform to make it happen effectively and effortlessly.

Offer Any Sales Model

Customers expect businesses to meet all their needs and wants, so having the capability of accommodating them is essential. For online businesses, this means accepting the customer’s preferred method of payment.

Online retailers need to be able to offer subscription sales, one-time purchases, discounts, and more to attract new customers and engage existing ones. Business leaders should be empowered by the technology, not hampered by it in any way.

It should be easy to configure trial periods, shipping costs, setup fees, and anything else required to get products to market quickly. Ecommerce platforms need to be able to deliver and fulfill the demands that the customer segmentation identified.

Companies that can fulfill orders in a way that feels natural and comfortable to consumers are on the right path to success.

Advanced Security

Customers may not think of security if asked what they look for in a personalized online shopping experience. But if they’ve suffered a security breach in the past, they know security is of vital importance!

The sticky.io platform offers PCI DSS Level 1 security, the highest standard that the major credit card companies expect from businesses. High-level authentication and tokenization ensures total business security.

Whether you’re protecting the transaction and financial information itself, your own proprietary data, or sensitive customer information related to their contact info or credit card, any kind of security breach can be a nightmare.

Undoing the damage after a breach can be expensive, and fully restoring a company’s reputation may be impossible. Online shoppers aren’t likely to think twice about trusting a business that has never had a security breach, but once a company is linked to a security failure, the association is usually permanent and devastating.

Make sure that your company doesn’t get this kind of attention by settling for nothing less than PCI DSS Level 1 security.

Strong Security, But Not Cumbersome

One hazard that can alienate consumers is security that feels intrusive or frustrating. Sometimes the reCaptcha questions are difficult and people actually struggle to prove that they are not a bot.

It’s important to keep consumers safe and make them feel protected, but they’ll resent having to jump through hoops every time they want to make a purchase. Consumers that resent security protocols are likely to either feel less brand loyalty or make fewer purchases — two terrible outcomes!

The best ecommerce platforms authenticate users in milliseconds, so consumers won’t even notice the process let alone become frustrated by it. Given the limited attention span of internet users, making security seamless and quick is a vital to grow sales.

If the buying process itself is annoying, consumers will buy from a rival website instead. They are unlikely to feel like the website offers a personalized experience if they feel aggravation whenever they try to make a purchase.

Retailers have always been willing to go the extra mile to make a sale by giving the right perk at the right time, showing a customer a product they know they’ll love, or leveraging what they know about each customer to meet them in the middle to close a sale. This practice continues in the digital era, but to do it effectively and on a large enough scale requires the power of an enterprise-grade all-in-one ecommerce platform specifically designed to boost online businesses.

To borrow a poker metaphor, today’s online businesses can approach each sale by hoping fate blindly hands them a good set of cards. Or, like a card player who wins by learning the tendencies of each opponent, they can engage each individual consumer by utilizing advanced technology that supplies actionable intelligence.

Having flexible billing features, advanced artificial technology and smart security are essential ways to give today’s demanding consumer the personalized attention and responsiveness they expect.