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: Buy now, pay later options drive increase in e-commerce...
19.05.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

Buy now, pay later options drive increase in e-commerce

New data from Klarna about sales of travel services and event tickets

Klarna released new data from its app in the US, indicating that travel services and event ticket sales are beginning to recover. While still significantly lower compared to an average pre-COVID week, the Airlines category saw a 26 percent ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Job maker 4.0: e-commerce
27.05.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

Job maker 4.0: e-commerce

Retail training and continuing education programs are booming

Digitization in retail and e-commerce growth present fresh challenges for retail employees and the retail world. That’s why interest in the new "E-Commerce Merchant" dual vocational training course offered by Germany’s HDE ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Pandemic fuels wine sales at grocery & convenience stores...
18.05.2020   #coronavirus #food retail

Pandemic fuels wine sales at grocery & convenience stores

Latest shopping data shared by Catalina and Koupon

Having closely tracked the impact of COVID-19 on buying behavior in grocery and drug stores since mid-February, shopper intelligence leader Catalina has compared sales data with its partner Koupon, the leading promotion solution provider for small ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Virtual pop-up stores
29.06.2020   #virtual reality #pop-up store

Virtual pop-up stores

Here today, change Up tomorrow

They spring up like mushrooms, only to vanish again shortly thereafter – pop-up stores are trendy and now they also increasingly “pop up” online. We spoke with Mohamed Haouache, CEO and Founder of Storefront, about the magical ...

Thumbnail-Photo: The Virtual Africa Big Retail Expo 2020 (ABRE 2020)...
06.07.2020   #digital marketing #marketing research

The Virtual Africa Big Retail Expo 2020 (ABRE 2020)

The spotlight is on the emerging trends in the retail industry at The Virtual Africa Big Retail Expo 2020, set to take place on 6th August 2020

The event is scheduled to begin from 0900 EAT till 1400 EAT. This exhibition is the first annual event which is dedicated to discussing the following:How do retailers keep up as the world tries to deal with the enormous pressure to adapt to ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Coronavirus: digital commerce spend to fall by 14 percent in 2020...
28.04.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

Coronavirus: digital commerce spend to fall by 14 percent in 2020

Spend set to recover in 2021 as offline spend moves online

A new study from Juniper Research found that global spending on digital commerce will fall by 14 percent in 2020 as lockdowns and reductions in consumer spend are felt. Spending will fall from $11.2 trillion in 2019 to $9.7 trillion.The new ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Merchants can build their own businesses by choosing the right daily...
10.08.2020   #e-commerce #online platform

Merchants can build their own businesses by choosing the right daily deal platforms

Bargaining and the three-way transaction that defines the daily deal market

Researchers from the University of Maryland and Harvard University analyzed the bargaining process between the daily deal platforms Groupon as well as LivingSocial and merchants to identify the trade-offs made by both parties during the transaction ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Retailers say credit insurance plan could increase liquidity during...
15.07.2020   #retail #coronavirus

Retailers say credit insurance plan could increase liquidity during pandemic downturn

Backstop for trade credit insurance

The National Retail Federation welcomed a report released this week calling for a federal backstop for trade credit insurance, saying the proposal could help provide liquidity badly needed by retailers as they recover from the recession brought on ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Walmart brings the big screen to its parking lots...
14.08.2020   #POS marketing #marketing

Walmart brings the big screen to its parking lots

Retailer’s first-ever drive-in movie theater

Walmart is lifting the curtain on plans for the Walmart Drive-in, a drive-in movie theater experience, which is rolling into 160 Walmart stores across the country beginning this month, created in partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival.Available ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Video marketing in times of Corona
09.07.2020   #digital marketing #online marketing

Video marketing in times of Corona

The potential of video content for retailers

The spread of the coronavirus has had a particularly severe impact on the stationary retail industry. Many companies are now increasingly focusing on their online presence to cushion declining in-store sales and to virtually stay in touch with their ...

Supplier

POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
Am Zubringer 8
32107 Bad Salzuflen