3 Smart Ways Retailers Can Personalize the Ecommerce Experience

Mar 09, 2014 11:07 AM  By

eTail West attendees usually get their share of a-ha moments, and the conference last week in San Antonio was no exception.

Personalization was one of the underlying themes of eTail West – and it seemed whatever track of sessions you attended, there was talk about how retailers are personalizing the ecommerce experience for their customers.

While dozens of merchants and vendors shared samples of how they personalize the ecommerce experience for the end user, there were three examples that stood out. And here they are, in no particular order.

Quiz Your Customers

smartfurniture-386x200
SmartFurniture president and CEO T.J. Gentle said his company wanted to emulate the store experience online. So in a “moment of genius,” they decided to ask customers questions when they enter SmartFurniture.com.

Should a customer decide to take the quiz, Gentle said the site “functions like a real intuitive salesperson.” The site will match fabrics, styles and price points based on how the customer answers the quiz questions.

“Our job is to match products with people,” Gentle said. “And if you do that well, you win the sale.”

How Does It Look?

overstockart-view-in-a-room-200x300
Overstockart.com has had “View in a Room” functionality as a part of its site for a few years now. The idea was for the customer to take a photo of their room, upload it to Overstockart.com, and then choose a paining to get a virtual idea of how it’s going to look in their house.

Great idea, but CEO David Sasson soon discovered the process of uploading photos was easier said than done.

Sasson showed me Overstockart.com’s View in a Room smartphone app. With it, there is the seamless integration between taking a photo of the room and adding the virtual piece of art. The app also includes elements that allow the customer to share a snapshot of the room view in social media channels or via email. This way the users’ family and friends can be a part of the purchase decision.

If the Shoe Fits…

shoefitr-274x200
This past holiday season, there was an anecdote of how Macy’s commissioned shoe salespeople were losing sales to people who come into the store, try on a shoe, and then buy it online. And we know retailers such as Zappos can have their inventories out of whack because customers will buy multiple pairs of the same shoes, in different sizes, then return the ones that don’t fit (for free).

Shoemakers do not use unified shoe sizes. Though a customer’s shoe size may be a 9.5, the customer may wear a size 10 Nike, a size 9 Reebok and a size 9.5 New Balance. Shoefitr co-founder and customer experience officer exhibited his company’s plug-in for shoe sellers, which helps customers find the perfect-sized shoe.

Shoefitr’s shoe database helps customers make smarter decisions when buying shoes online, and gives them a similar experience to what they would receive if they were buying shoes in-store.