The Road to Personalization for Retailers

With more consumers favoring personalized emails and shopping experiences from their favorite brands, it can be detrimental to the B2C relationship if retailers are not at least attempting to understand exactly how to communicate with their customers using personalized campaigns.

Digital Trends found that 73 percent of customers favor retailers that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant, while an Infosys survey reported that 78 percent of consumers are more likely to repeat business with a retailer that provides them with targeted, personalized offers.

Consumers across the board are now expecting brands to keep up with their personal shopping preferences both in-store and online. Without personalization, brands often fail to leverage important contextual data, resulting in up to $5 million in lost revenue over just a few years.

While only 10 percent of brands believe they are currently personalizing effectively, Gartner reports that nearly 89 percent plan to compete on providing personalized experiences within the next year. The demand for personalization is growing, but due to limited resources, it can be difficult for retailers to scale these campaigns. Contextual marketing, which turns complex data into actionable insights, helps power personalized email and website experiences that consumers are now demanding, allowing retailers to relax and reap the benefits. Contextual marketing tools are able to use automated email triggers based on real-time shopping behaviors and can utilize a consumer’s browsing and purchasing behaviors to effectively target interested parties.

The bottom line? It is time to personalize. Retailers using contextual marketing technology to target customers based on shopping behavior can improve overall business performance and create more meaningful, lasting relationships with consumers.

After retailers begin to realize the benefits of personalization to their bottom lines, they can begin using context to address challenges specific to their brand or customer base, such as marketing based on behavior rather than demographics. This allows retailers to continue moving up the ladder, resulting in higher revenue.

By implementing these three quick steps with these key targeted audiences, retailers can begin the path to personalization:

Engage “new” customers in real time

The majority of customers that submit their email address do so for one of two reasons. Most are hoping to receive a discount for their pending purchase, but a select few are interested in receiving various updates about your brand or product.

This introduction email campaign can make or break the future relationship with new customers by either pushing them to unsubscribe or creating a potential lifelong customer. Real-time personalized email campaigns are statistically shown to heavily outperform emails sent the next day, leading to additional revenue generated by each successful campaign.

A successful launch campaign should feature a call-to-action focused on driving the first sale and maintaining a relationship with the customer. Retaining email registrants will allow for more in-depth targeted campaigns in the future, including product alerts, price-reductions and new products based on prior interactions with the brand.

Reengage “browsing and shopping” customers with relevant content

The next step is to focus on customers who are familiar with your brand or those who spend time on the site and engage with your products, but leave without purchasing or adding items to their cart. Targeting these consumers can be just as effective as those who abandon items in their cart in terms of generating additional revenue.

Nearly 70 percent of the time, shoppers visit a site and leave prior to purchasing. A prosperous browse or purchase abandonment campaign can yield an open rate of up to 55 percent by demonstrating value of the brand and offering various check out options.

Engaging these customers on a personal level and providing assistance in real time means conversion rates are more likely to improve.  In addition to higher conversion rates, retailers have a better chance of converting these shoppers into return customers.  This helps many cart and checkout abandoners transition to the repeat customer category, opening the door for additional targeted campaigns and leading to an increase of revenue by up to 15 percent.

Reengage “repeat” customers by promoting sales and promotions

Finally, target the customers who regularly interact with your brand by creating a ‘mop-up’ campaign similar to abandonment programs. This technique, rather than blasting the same promotions to everyone on your email list, will demonstrate to consumers the importance of brand loyalty and keep them involved and up-to-date on what the company is doing as it pertains to the customer. Retailers using collected behavioral data can craft personalized emails that shares sale information with repeat customers that often visit the site’s ‘Sale’ landing page.

Keeping existing customers, not only interested, but actively involved in the campaign is key. Engage with customers who have abandoned their digital shopping cart by creating a campaign that features new pieces of content geared towards educating these potential customers on their pending purchase.

This campaign should include alternative means for check out or similar products from other brands sold by the retailer. For example, a successful cart abandonment program can generate up to $7 of revenue per email. Running effective mop-up campaigns as part of retailer’s monthly marketing calendar can lead to an 85 percent increase in monthly triggered email revenue, and will keep consumers checking back in for more relevant deals.

Jason Fordham is Vice President of Products at SmarterHQ.

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