Guest contribution • 04.08.2020

3 steps to personalisation in e-commerce

How retailers can build trust and foster customer loyalty

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a visible mark on the retail sector, and companies have had to find new ways to reach consumers effectively in a very short time. Many companies that had previously focused on stationary retail have expanded their business into the online sector. But setting up a web shop is often not enough to retain customers. Especially in these turbulent times, it is more important than ever to analyse customer wishes and needs in detail to ensure long-term loyalty.

A woman with red hair looks into the camera
Paige O’Neill, CMO of Sitecore
Source: Sitecore

Leveraging the momentum of online commerce

83 percent of those surveyed in the "Corona Consumer Check" study by Sitecore, IFH Cologne and exc.io were satisfied with their online purchases and 80 percent said they would continue to shop on the internet. However, only 36 percent stated that their trust in online retailers had increased as a result of shopping online. While online shopping excels in convenience, there is still room for improvement when it comes to the shopping experience. Therefore, it is questionable whether customers will remain loyal to the same merchant for their next purchase.

This is where personalisation comes into play: personal contact and individual advice are what Germans miss most when shopping online. And it is precisely these aspects that facilitate customer loyalty. They expect to be met with online offers and experiences that are tailored to them on every channel.

A critical factor is how companies approach the issue of personalisation. But even before the pandemic, it was difficult for many marketing experts to personalise effectively. A SoDA study commissioned by Sitecore found that less than 40 percent of marketing directors and C-level executives have implemented basic personalisation objectives.

Identifying and overcoming obstacles

Most companies have access to a plethora of customer data. So a lack of information about customer preferences or purchase history is not what is stopping marketing teams from tailoring the user experience to the customer. In these cases, incorrect self-assessment, lack of budget and the rapid change in customer preferences are considered the biggest obstacles for CMOs. Around two thirds (67%) of marketing managers see themselves as "experts" or "masters" of personalisation. In reality, however, most of them are stuck at broad segmentation or are addressing different target groups instead of tailoring content individually to customers.

A young woman jumps over obstacles on a racetrack
Source: PantherMedia/olly18

In order to implement your own personalisation effectively, there are several things to consider:

  • Convince with added value

Over 40 percent of marketers say they do not have the financial resources to offer more personalised content. Often, this is due to the fact that IT teams and C-level executives still do not recognise the importance of marketing technology for differentiated personalisation.

Marketing executives should demonstrate a clear ROI and outline an overall vision. It is also critical to explain how the personalisation strategy can benefit other departments and support the overall goals of the organisation.

  • Identify trends early on

Customer needs are changing faster than ever and events such as the current COVID-19 pandemic are having a strong impact on customer interaction with products and services. While at the beginning of the pandemic, customers mainly bought essential goods such as food and medication, this shifted to homeware products, digital subscriptions and fashion items during the course of the pandemic. Retailers and brands need to quickly identify these trends and address customers early on with personalised offers that exceed their expectations.

  • What they want, when they want it

The appropriate content must be displayed in the ideal context. The main difference between basic personalisation and advanced, effective large-scale personalisation is the ability to provide customers with a personalised recommendation, image or offer at the exact moment they are looking for it. Regardless of the platform – web, app or in-store.

  • Start small

Marketing managers should first focus on a few small success stories. Choosing a specific area of personalisation to focus on – such as targeting specific platforms or increasing repeat purchases – can improve the user experience in an area that is important to the business. It also allows marketing teams to work towards an overall personalisation goal step by step.

A dart is stuck in a blurred target
Source: Ricardo Arce/Unsplash

Three steps to establish a clear path to personalisation

Once organisational obstacles have been overcome, it is time to create a plan for the path to personalisation:

  1. Create a roadmap. While the personalisation strategy shows how an organisation can personalise customer experience, a roadmap details the steps and procedures required to do so. Developing a longer-term roadmap that includes goals and desired outcomes allows you to track, review and improve your progress.  
  2. Prioritise personalisation. Personalisation should be integrated into marketing efforts from the very beginning. It should be the core focus of the marketing programme and be included in all marketing and sales funnels.
  3. Use the right systems. Last but not least, it is essential that the technology used for personalisation is fast enough to respond to and process requests in real time. This requires marketers to develop more data strategies that enable them to collect and analyse data. According to the SoDA study, data and analytics applications and technology platforms will be the two most important investments (38% / 33%) over the next two years.

These steps make it easier to get started. However, it is important to understand that effective personalisation is constantly evolving. You have to learn to walk before you run – always making sure your customers’ individual needs are at the centre of your actions.

Author: Paige O’Neill, Sitecore

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: Leaving a good impression on the customer
28.02.2024   #retail #Tech in Retail

Leaving a good impression on the customer

Interview with Extenda Retail

For retailers, the checkout is the most important part of the customer journey. Because this is where customers decide whether they come back or go to the competition next time. Mohit Paul, CCO of Extenda Retail, explains what a seamless and ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Trends for Mothers Day and Fathers Day: How retailers can score...
10.04.2024   #sustainability #marketing

Trends for Mother's Day and Father's Day: How retailers can score

How to make the holidays a success for your business with creative gift ideas for mom and dad

Mother's Day and Father's Day are just around the corner – two special occasions to shower our parents with thanks and appreciation. Traditionally, we use these days ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Valentines Day marketing: creative campaigns to make your heart sing...
18.01.2024   #brick and mortar retail #sustainability

Valentine's Day marketing: creative campaigns to make your heart sing

Examples of how you can score points on Valentine's Day

Zalando killed two birds with one stone in 2021: with the invitation to "campaign exchange the clothes after your ex", customers were shown ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Extenda Retail expands into the German market...
17.04.2024   #customer experience #POS software

Extenda Retail expands into the German market

New leadership and innovative POS solutions

Leading Nordic POS provider Extenda Retail is expanding into the German market, focusing on acquiring new customers ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Precise pricing and well-stocked shelves
29.02.2024   #retail #digitization

Precise pricing and well-stocked shelves

Interview with Hanshow Technology

Have you heard of green digitalization and how important it has become? Hanshow gives you an insight into the possibilities of modern ESL innovations – colorful and sustainable. At EuroCIS, the company explains the benefits for retailers. ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Chinese New Year 2024: Successful marketing strategies...
31.01.2024   #e-commerce #marketing

Chinese New Year 2024: Successful marketing strategies

How online retailers can benefit from the celebrations

Chinese New Year 2024 begins on February 10 and lasts for 16 days. During the important festival, which is celebrated not only in China ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Simple integration of POS-systems
28.02.2024   #retail #Tech in Retail

Simple integration of POS-systems

Interview with Star Micronics

Receipt, label and kiosk printing, POS systems for tablets and cloud-based – Star Micronics Europe Ltd. offers flexible and innovative POS solutions for the retail and hospitality sectors. ...

Thumbnail-Photo: For you: Retail marketing calendar 2024
08.01.2024   #marketing #sales promotion

For you: Retail marketing calendar 2024

You can use these phases and days for yourself and your business in the upcoming year

Birthdays, holidays, holidays ... We record all these days in calendars every year to plan our personal daily lives. But the financial year can also be planned. This can be particularly important for retailers. You can plan ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Turning customers into friends - heres how it works...
24.01.2024   #marketing #online marketing

Turning customers into friends - here's how it works

WhatsApp channels as a secret weapon in the marketing mix

In fall 2023, Meta launched WhatsApp channels, a completely new feature in 150 countries ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Rethinking advertising communication?
27.02.2024   #retail #Tech in Retail

Rethinking advertising communication?

Interview with Online Software

With its PRESTIGE AI Copilot software, the company is bringing artificial intelligence directly into brick-and-mortar retail. But how does the smart assistant help to make optimum use of in-store screens and electronic shelf labels? ...

Supplier

Extenda Retail Ab
Extenda Retail Ab
Gustav III:s Boulevard 50A
169 73 Solna