Today’s customers have many choices and will choose retailers that make them feel known and valued. For retailers who want to remain relevant, delivering personalized, seamless customer experiences is a must.
Gone are the days of single-focused advertisements, one-size-fits-all promotions, and plain brown boxes that arrive when they happen to arrive. Fortunately, the opportunities to personalize online are many.
Before detailing 10 strategies to enhance customer experience through personalization, let’s define retail personalization.
What is Retail Personalization?
Retail personalization is a business strategy that seeks to build brand loyalty by presenting compelling experiences to customers based on their likes and wants. Personalization requires retailers to have a deep understanding of individual customers, which demands a strong data strategy. Retailers who get personalization right drive deeper customer loyalty while increasing sales.
“Ninety percent of organizations that invest in personalized consumer experiences agree it significantly contributes to increasing business profitability.”
-Econsultancy and Google, Marketing and Measurement Survey, n=514 marketing and
measurement executives at North American companies with over $250M in revenue,
10 Online Retail Personalization Tactics
Personalization ideas are only limited by your imagination. From our consulting experience, here are 10 ways retailers can quickly improve customer engagement.
Tactic 1: Personalized shipping labels and packing slips
Branded boxes, envelopes and shipping labels extend the in-store and online experience. Customers are usually excitedly awaiting their package, so take that opportunity and extend a personalized experience with a promotion – you know they are going to look at the package!
Example of branded and personalized packing labels:
Explore how Minisoft helps create personalized shipping labels.
Tactic 2: Favorites and wish lists
Favorites and wish lists provide convenience that permit customers to buy when they are ready to buy and make reordering easy. They allow for remarketing, either onscreen or through email, with reminders or incentives to reengage with the customer to complete the sales process.
Both are available in most e-commerce platforms or through additional third-party plugins.
Tactic 3: Set up customized microsites based on customer preferences
Microsites enable retailers to easily spin up customized websites based on customer preferences, order history, or upselling. These sites can be set to expire after a certain number of hours/days. Microsites have shown to increase conversion to over 50% as compared to a typical website bounce-back link.
Tactic 4: Include handwritten notes in shipment
Sometimes “old-school” does it best, and nothing feels more personal than a handwritten note. These can be as short as “Packed by Steve” or “Thank you for your order.” The impact on your customer largely outweighs the effort of executing this tactic.
Tactic 5: Deliver dynamic, customized email campaigns
Leverage your CRM and marketing platform to deliver relevant, personalized messages and offers. Most marketing platforms will allow a way to scale personalization based on customer data to offer the most relevant items, images, copy, and promotions to your customers.
Tactic 6: Enable ship from anywhere and best ship method
Does your system allow the customer to choose date ranges, cost or both?
Providing choice allows your customer to decide which is more important between convenience and cost. This also means that you can balance service and cost without missing out on sales simply because you didn't enable your customers to choose their own delivery time frame.
Tactic 7: Allow for multiple orders in a single transaction
Ship one to your home and ship one as a gift – all in one transaction. With the right e-commerce site and the right OMS solution it can be done.
Tactic 8: Prominently offer gift receipts on online orders
Send a gift receipt along with the gift, not the invoice or original receipt, allowing the recipient to return or exchange with ease. Better yet, include the return shipping label to make potential returns seamless.
Tactic 9: Invest in a comprehensive loyalty/VIP program
82% of US adults say they’re loyal to brands.1 Loyalty programs pay off as it's 5-25x more expensive to gain a new customer than it is to keep a current customer coming back2.
Through profile information, loyalty programs can provide customers information about sales on items they like or the type of items they buy. You can provide targeted sales event information. You can even geofence and push emails, ads, and notifications to customers when they are near your store.
Don’t forget to include social buttons in loyalty program emails, posts and more, allowing your customers to help you market. Word of mouth is free advertising! For a great guide on customer loyalty, check out HubSpot’s guide to customer loyalty.
Tactic 10: Utilize personal recommendations
“If you like that, then you’ll like this” recommendations work. 92% of consumers look to discover new products.3 With personal recommendations, customers are easily served up new items that will probably lead to additional sales.
Customer Journey Extended
Personalization extends the shopping journey with customized offers that arrive via email, packing slip or shipping label. Just as your offerings need to be omni-channel, your personalization needs to be in the channels that are part of your omni-channel strategy.
To be where the customer is, when they are there, your processes, data, and enabling technology have to be on point.
Are You Ready to Unify Commerce?
Keeping up in today’s retail world is no easy task. Brands need trusted partners who can help enable their vision and make it happen.
enVista can help you with customer journey mapping, store operations, associate training, change management and more. enVista has over 15 years of consulting experience, and we’ve worked with leading retailers to get their store front and back office operations in order.
We’ve also leveraged our extensive consulting experience and expertise into advanced software solutions. Our unified commerce platform, Enspire Commerce, is a next-generation solution uniquely built through an iPaaS framework that helps rapidly deliver a seamless omni-channel brand experience for retailers, distributors, and manufacturers.
Where are your personalization pain points? We can help you solve them.
Let's have a conversation!