Omnichannel Personalization for E-Commerce
Consumers today have become very dynamic in their approach. As opposed to the earlier linear approach where in consumers travelled in a predefined sales funnel which typically started from discovery to consideration and then from evaluation to purchase, before finally ending at retention; the new age consumers travel in a more non-linear way. The easy access to information has made consumers more knowledgeable, interactive and empowered. As a result, today’s consumers are seen as continuously cycling between the different stages of their journey without ever exiting the evaluation process.
This self-motivated and perpetual journey adopted by them has given rise to the need for omni-channel personalization.
What is Omnichannel Personalization?
Omnichannel Personalization is a synchronized effort to understand the complexity of consumers and try to act on that understanding by tailoring a unique experience for them at all touchpoints.
Such personalization gives customers an empirical value as they enjoy an experience based on their taste and preferences. Also, from a psychological perspective, customers feel good to know that brands recognize them as a unique individual rather than a seething mass of consumers. This makes omni-channel personalization a very powerful tool.
This term has been defined many times through the years and since has constantly evolved. However, it does give a good insight on what it actually brings to the table.
For example, a research paper from McGraw-Hill Education, New York, defined omnichannel personalization as:
“A coordinated multichannel offering that provides a seamless experience to customers by integrating all retail channels.”
Another article from Harvard Business Review defined it as-
“An integrated sales experience that melds the advantages of physical stores with the information rich experience of online shopping.”
Why do you need Omnichannel Personalization?
Nowadays many brands personalize on channel to channel basis. Consequently, they are obligated to integrate technology in a similar manner. This creates a certain degree of disintegration as they end up using a particular technology for web personalization and another technology to handle email personalization. But when you consider omnichannel personalization, you need to ensure that all systems work in harmony to deliver a consistent experience throughout.
One of the major challenges in personalization is the task of identifying and engaging customers across touchpoints. But before embarking on the journey of personalization, you need to know who the individual is. And since this data is spread across channels, it can prove to be a very tedious task. Hence, there is a need to store everything at a central location or on the customer data platform (CDP).
The following are the benefits of a good CDP:
- All the data from different channels gets stored in one single place which is easily accessible.
- This enables marketers to join the dots and make a unified consumer profile thus resolving identity issues.
- It permits an ability to effectively interpret and analyse data using affinity models to understand each customer’s likes and dislikes.
- Allows simulation of data, by making it ready for use by systems for personalization.
How to achieve Omnichannel Personalization?
Web & Email Personalization
According to Aberdeen Group, personalized email messages can shoot CTRs by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%. Both channels can be effectively used to tailor personalized messages aimed at a particular individual.
Targeted Content & Offers and Contextual Segments
Once the above strategy is in place, marketers can look for new avenues to personalize. For example, creating hero shots, blogs, videos and offers based on the affinity of consumers. They can also use contextual information to segment consumers based on their location, climate and active hours.
Building content on mobile can help leverage customers on-the-go by targeting them with geo-tagged offers. At this stage, it is important to use the same identifier that was used during web and email personalization for a seamless integration across channels.
Bringing in personalization to the physical store can be the next step. It can be achieved by providing sales personnel with tablets and introducing digital displays and kiosks at the store. At this stage, recording the POS data and syncing it with the online channels is of utmost importance in order to achieve a true omnichannel experience.
Push & SMS Personalization
Personalization in push notifications alone can shoot up the CTR by 9%. SMSes can use consumer behaviour in account before sending a message about what to buy next. These experiences are the only differentiator by which consumers remembers a brand.
Contact Centre Personalization
This is one of the last stages of personalization where data from online and phone-based customer service agents is integrated to provide customers with hyper personalized service wherein, their interests and preferences are responded to even before they ask.
Impact of Omnichannel Personalization?
- High order value: Strategies such as product recommendations, personalized offers and dynamic merchandising can help increase average order value by putting customers back on purchase journey.
- Conversions: Personalized experiences like dynamic merchandising and recommendation models based on customers’ location, click stream data, interest, demographic and in-store behaviour can help increase conversions.
- Higher Customer Lifetime Value (LTV): Offers based on loyalty and previous purchases can influence repeat purchase by existing customers.
- Stronger Customer Relationships: Dynamic personalization wherein user data is used to show customized content online can enhance customer relationship.
- Integrated Analytics: A detailed customer analytics can enable retailers to leverage consumer data and provide them with content based on their taste and preferences. This can only be achieved through comprehensive consumer analytics, insightful segmentation and prognostic recommendations.
- Increase in Brand Value: The hyper changing retail scenario can only be mastered by achieving true personalization. It is a way to be deliver that personal touch which was previously found only in physical stores. This imperative new approach will ensure client fidelity.
In a recent study, a buyer clicks 15 products before making any single purchase. If you think about it, those clicks are on your store or any other site. The buyer pattern has changed within the same session. There are tons of reason why a buyer chose item A over item B. In order to serve your consumers the best impactful shopping experience, omichannel personalization is the key. Your consumer once registered with you should be able to experience the individual customer service. Email, SMS, Push, Web – You name it and it can be added to omnichannel personalization. The key to customer retention is personalisation.
As buyers have become for digitalized, retailers need to constantly be on the move to update themselves with the evolving technological trends. Consumers are shifting between devices to channels almost all the time, especially when it comes to e-commerce and retail.
Only an omnichannel personalization approach can guarantee a relevant experience at all stages.