How to make your ecommerce store stand out from your competitors with an incredibly personalised experience
What makes your ecommerce site stand out from the competition?
In an increasingly crowded market, there’s one differentiator that converts above all others: customer experience. Lockdowns, travel bans and restrictions on the high street have brought more consumers online than ever before; ecommerce in Western Europe saw growth of 16.9% in 2020. With more customers, though, has come record competition. Facebook ad costs, for example, rose sharply in 2020, and now remain higher than they were before the pandemic.
At the same time, consumers are expecting more – loyalty is harder to win and customers now take great customer experience, both online and offline (like free delivery), as a given. 56% of consumers say they only now stay loyal to brands which ‘get them’.
So it’s tougher than ever to make your ecommerce site stand out. When PureClarity asked 250 SMEs about the challenges they’re facing right now, differentiating themselves was the one they cited most. If you don’t differentiate yourself from the crowd, you risk either losing customers or spending more than you need to on customer acquisition.
Providing an incredible customer experience – knowing who they are and, more importantly, what they want – is the key. That’s why the most successful ecommerce businesses are the ones which use technology to understand their customers.
Amazon knows their customers like childhood friends
So they can predict exactly what you’re most likely to buy next.
Your business can do it better than Amazon
You don’t need a whole warehouse of servers, however, to know your customers like Amazon does. In fact, you don’t need expensive technology at all; intelligent ecommerce personalisation can be quick, simple and cost effective when you’ve got the right tools.
First, you need to know what makes your customers tick – each and every one of them.
1. Find out what different customers like to do on your site
There’s a whole range of analytics tools out there which show you exactly what people are doing on your site, in real time. You can learn:
- Where they came from: a search engine, a social network, a direct referral (typing your URL directly into their browser), a link from another website, or somewhere else
- What they were searching for: if they came from Google or another search engine
- How they behave on your site: the products they look at first, the products they look at next, how long they’re on your site for, whether they ‘bounce’ (leaving your site after looking at the first page), whether they abandon their basket
- Their purchase history: What they’ve bought today, what they bought on previous occasions
- What device they’re on: mobile, tablet or PC/Mac
- Their location: where they are in the world, the time of day right now
Google Analytics, Social analytics or an AI-powered ecommerce tool, like PureClarity’s analytics, can all give you the customer data you need.
2. Ask them directly
If your site uses a live chat like PureClarity’s, finding out what someone wants is easy: you can just ask them! They might also have some questions of their own, like which items you have in stock from a particular range.
3. Group similar customers together
You can then segment them into specific groups using the insights you’ve gathered in step 1, and give each group a different customer experience based on their own wants and needs.
Stand out from the competition with a personalised customer experience
So, now you’ve got the insights you need to stand out from your competitors. Here’s how to use those insights.
1. Personalise their homepage experience
First impressions count. You can make sure yours is one that sells by creating personalised messaging from the moment a customer lands on your site.
- If they’re a first time visitor, you could use a personalised popup, or banner, to greet them with a welcome message.
- If they’ve bought something before, you’ll know their name and how often they visit – so you could greet them personally, or reward their loyalty with a discount code.
- For those customers who have given you their date of birth when they made their last purchase, you could celebrate their birthday with a discount code, freebie or other incentive.
2. Show them products they want to see
Intelligent ecommerce software like PureClarity’s can create powerful, personalised product recommenders unique to each visitor, based on what they’re browsing right now and what they’ve purchased before.
- One tried and tested cross-sell is to recommend new products for a customer based on what they’ve bought before; somebody who bought, say, a pram, might also be interested in nappies. These kinds of campaigns work best on your homepage, on your product pages, or at checkout.
- Or if you’re in a sector like homeware, lifestyle or fashion, you can also cross-sell by nudging them to ‘complete the look’, recommending additional products that work well with one they’re already looking at. If, perhaps, they’re browsing winter coats, they might be tempted by a quality pair of gloves as well. Or maybe they’re about to buy a TV – so this is just the right time to show them a soundbar that could go with it.
3. Recommend products at the right time for them
- When you know somebody is likely to buy something at a certain time of year, you can show them the right products at the right time for them. Let’s say they were browsing gift hampers last year, just before Diwali. That suggests they’re probably interested in another one this year, so you can place it, and similar products too, front and centre when they visit again. Carousels are a great way to do this.
- Or, if you already collect age or gender data, you can recommend specific products for each person’s demographic; again, this one works well for fashion retailers.
4. Give them an offer that’s unique to them
You could also give each customer a unique offer based on the specific items they search for on your site. If they’ve searched for suitcases, for example, you could add a banner giving them 15% off luggage. Combined with a personalised greeting – “15% off luggage just for you, Daniela!” – you’re appealing directly to them as an individual, and that’s a powerful motivator to buy.
And since analytics tools like PureClarity’s can see where they’re browsing from, you could even personalise their recommendations on today’s weather wherever they are!
5. Nudge them into action with a personalised popup
Popups are one of the most effective places to give somebody a personalised incentive, like a discount or freebie, to take the action you want them to. It might be making a purchase, or signing up to a mailing list, or whatever else you’d like them to do. It’s best to only use popups on one page, though, to avoid interrupting their shopping experience too often.
6. Stay in touch
The most effective personalised ecommerce doesn’t end when a customer leaves your site. You could follow up with a personalised email campaign, giving them some relevant, useful content based on what they’ve bought.
- If they ordered some smart shoes yesterday, for example, you could send them an ‘explainer’ type article, showing them how to make leather products last a lifetime.
- Or if they bought a kitchen appliance, like a slow cooker, you could send them a creative recipe idea, or a few tips on how to rustle up the tastiest slow cooked lamb.
Personalised email software like PureClarity’s can integrate straight into the email tools you already use, like Mailchimp, CampaignMonitor and dotdigital, so it’s quick and easy to reach your customers with personalised content.
And this is another opportunity to recommend new products, too; just like on your homepage, product pages and at checkout, personalisation tools can show them the items you know they’re interested in within your email campaigns.
Case study: How PureClarity works
P.L.A.Y. have seen an increase in average order value of 13.7% over 6.5% of their total online income is now generated from PureClarity recommenders.
Discover how, through the use of PureClarity, Cablecraft increased their average order value by 11.5%
See how Green-tech Increased their average order value by 46% and increased their online conversion rate by 7.4%
Ready to create an incredible customer experience?
PureClarity can help. Our intelligent ecommerce personalisation tool helps independent businesses like yours to be better than Amazon – growing your online sales, basket values and conversion rates – by providing an unbeatable experience for your customers.
Get in touch to find out more.