Marketers and eCommerce teams alike know that the strategies used to catch a customer at first glance are far different than those needed to create loyalty.
One is about enticement - The other is about trust.
Often these strategies result in competing approaches that require a sacrifice. Whether it's discounting that prizes short-term gains over longevity, or loyalty programs that seek customer lifetime value, at the risk of losing price sensitive shoppers up front, retailers struggle on how best to move the needle.
Especially during key revenue generating seasons, it is important for retailers to find a strategy that harmonizes these two philosophies.
More and more in the eCommerce industry, personalization is a thread that connects the two. With very little data, retailers can expertly craft a personalized first experience that will engage the researcher. As that researcher turns into an interested buyer, more and more data can be gleaned to further personalize the experience. Post-purchase, a true relationship can be established with the customer, creating long-lasting loyalty.
The following blog series highlights some strategies for personalizing the user experience from first click to conversion, and beyond.
In the Beginning...
Speak to your customer's interests and how they shop by showing them that you understand their needs. If they are interested in the latest products, show them products that have just been added to inventory and connect them with relatable content. In a similar fashion, shoppers who are interested in trending categories or products should be catered to with personalized product recommendations and insightful content that highlights what is popular with current audiences.
eRetailers seeking to take it one step further to the "next practice" may consider geo-targeting, refining the products shown to fit a unique shopper's location and likely interests (i.e. showing Colts sports apparel to customers in Indianapolis).
So where should you engage your customers with these techniques?
In short - everywhere.
A logical starting place for implementation is on the homepage. Customers who enter through this page are likely starting their research or at least face the most navigation challenges to reach the product they are seeking. Offering a sort of guideline of products they may like can help filter shoppers through to relevant product pages faster.
There is a caveat, however; the majority of shoppers won’t see your homepage on their first experience. People are searching for long-tail items that are bringing them deeper into a site for their first experience. Keeping the same principles in mind for optimizing the homepage, retailers should do the same for their category and product detail pages, while also incorporating the search terms that shoppers entered to further personalize results.
A final note when reaching out to first-time visitors or those in the research stage, avoid the temptation to innudate them with messaging. Focus on the products and allow the shopper to learn more about the merchandise they are interested in followed by a clear call to action that is compelling and easy to act on. Reducing the distractions of hyper-messaging will help soften the high abandonment rates during the discovery stage.
But, what works in the beginning isn't what necessarily what works throughout. How do you move from the initial enticement of shoppers to engaging them on a deeper level? Stay tuned for more relationship building strategies.....