E-commerce marketing has traditionally been very detached for a couple of reasons:
- The technology to create personalised content is only a few years old.
- Brands have a hard time viewing their customers as individuals, since they have little to no direct contact with most of them.
Their approach has changed drastically over the last couple of years, as AMP and other dynamic tools have enabled marketers to tailor their site content to every visitor.
However, as with many new web technologies, marketers were quick to embrace personalisation without knowing whether it really provided any tangible benefits. Does personalisation actually work?
Personalisation can be a very effective tool to improve the CX. This includes developing personalised content and recommendations.
A 2015 report by Accenture found that 75% of customers were more likely to make repeat purchases with companies that recognised them by past experiences
. They were also more likely to buy from companies that made recommendations based on previous purchases. Another study from Forrester
found that 77% of customers paid more, purchased in larger quantities or went out of their way to work with a brand that provided personalised content.
These findings are corroborated by a similar study from Infosys, which found that 75% of customers were discouraged when brands couldn’t recognise them online
. Personalisation is vital for smaller e-commerce sites
Miranda Marquit points out that it is already difficult for small e-commerce companies to compete
"Technology offers opportunities not seen a generation ago. You really can make money at home. However, it's not a cakewalk. Anyone who tells you that it's easy to get rich quick with a home business is selling a myth. Anyone who tells you it takes a lot of elbow grease to make it happen is giving you a taste of reality."
It will only become more difficult. Small e-commerce companies need to be on top of their game and offer the absolute best customer experience possible. Fortunately, new personalisation tools help them stay ahead of the curve. Most e-commerce brands fail with personalisation
Since personalisation is so vital to the customer experience, it is surprising that most brands are ignoring it. According to a 2015 study from Certona, only 39% of brands provide personalised product recommendations over email
. The study also found that only 10% of top retailers feel they have a successful personalisation strategy.
Since e-commerce companies tend to be more tech savvy than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, you would expect that they would have a better handle on personalisation. However, they tend to be almost as negligent about it.
Daniel Clutterbuck of Foundr Magazine
states that brands can no longer ignore the power of personalisation. Providing predictive recommendations helps differentiate themselves by creating a superior customer experience to their competitors. Clutterbuck points out that Amazon has done an exceptional job with personalisation
“Based on the buying behaviour of other users, recommendation engines can predict products that a person might buy in the future. These can then be presented to them through email campaigns, one-commerce sites, or transactional apps. You’ve definitely experienced this through Amazon, which lands 30% of its sales via recommendations.”
This is probably one of the reasons that customers consistently rank Amazon number one in customer satisfaction. E-commerce companies shouldn’t be shy about asking for customer information
There are a couple of reasons e-commerce companies haven’t invested enough in personalisation:
- They aren’t motivated enough.
- They are nervous about asking for customer data, since customers seem very protective of their privacy.
Worrying about skittish customers is understandable. People have complained about brands misusing their data or selling it to third parties. However, this doesn’t mean that customers will refuse to provide data.
“Consumers are asking for personalised experiences. They are increasingly recognising that they will shop or engage more with sites that offer personalisation, and are becoming frustrated when they encounter anything irrelevant. Marketers that have incorporated personalisation into their strategies are better positioned to surprise and delight their customers.”
However, you have to make a genuine promise to your customers and work hard to deliver on it. Customers may feel betrayed if you take their data and fail to create a personalised experience for them.