In the modern maze of countless ecommerce sites and constant increase in competition, providing shoppers with a personalized experience has become a crucial aspect of any positive shopping experience – and customers are noticing. The future of personalization is now turning to one of individualization, where shoppers are offered a one-on-one, intuitive and customized experience. And there is a major difference between the two strategies.
Personalization interprets the behaviors and preferences of a wide demographic of shoppers, while individualization stretches this idea one step further by tailoring completely unique experiences to each individual shopper’s habits and preferences. In order to execute functional, individualized shopper experiences, retailers must ensure that cutting edge machine learning technologies are working in harmony with each other. As such, here are a few top factors to focus on in order to offer a true individualized experience:
Improve search capabilities to predict future habits
If retailers are not continuously improving the ease and convenience of the shopper experience, even the most satisfied customers will move on to sites that have more to offer. To better serve shopper’s needs, retailers must harness their individual, unique data to anticipate their future habits. For example, building longstanding shopper profiles for each individual can ensure that every click leads to the best possible online shopping experience.
Additionally, retailers should remember that an engaging cornerstone of individualization is navigational adaptation, or reactive navigation. As shoppers browse online, search results and product recommendations could be adjusted to the individual’s preferences. For example, if a shopper is looking for eye cream, search results could be those most popular in their area, or most similar to their previous purchases. If the shopper types in a specific brand of eye cream, those search results could then be applied when the shopper moves to browsing other types of skin care. Through the tracking of long-tail shopper habits like these, retailers can be continually informed on matters of popular items, attractive price ranges and product findability, which in turn allows them to better anticipate their stock needs.
In addition to achieving improved individualization by increased search capabilities, purchase memory can help improve loyalty, even when consumers are not shopping. Individualized ecommerce sites can alert past customers and remind them to stock up on a product they are running low on. By catering to an individual’s shopping history, business will be driven back to retailers and the shopper’s buying process will be simplified.
Leverage consumer input to improve messaging
User Generated Content (UGC) can be essential for retailers trying to attract shoppers and drive business. This includes any form of content created and posted by customers that detail information about a product or experience to others, including reviews or hashtags on social media. As consumers post content online, this opens a direct chain of communication with retailers in which they can listen, learn from and react to consumer feedback. In turn, this will prove that retailers listen to each and every shopper and value what they have to say on an individual level.
Retailers that know their individual shoppers and understand how to express this knowledge will be next to unbeatable. With specific, on-brand contextualized messaging unique to each shopper, each message becomes more personal, captivating and relevant based upon a shopper’s click, search and purchase history. Just as any individual wants to know what to expect when walking into their favorite store, online shoppers crave the same experience, which can be achieved through individualization.
With these tools in their personalization arsenal, retailers have the ability to do much more than sell their products on an eCommerce site. Individualization ensures stronger, more personal retailer-shopper relationships at the convenience of retailers. Even as shopper interests and preferences change over time, individualization allows for retailers to create unique and unbeatable eCommerce experiences for every customer.
Roland Gossage is CEO of GroupBy