We’re in an age where the personalization of goods and services has become the key to business growth. Whether it’s online or on a face-to-face level, consumers are differentiating based on the kind of services they receive, the uniqueness of these services and how they as buyers benefit from them more than they would elsewhere. It’s become an apparent business trend and is becoming popular thanks to technology and new portals for marketing. Customer experience is no longer just about the products. If the product is available in Place A, it’s probably available in Place B as well. Differentiation based on product innovation isn’t sustainable because it has become easier to replicate or outdo these faster than ever. Now it’s about the value added services that come along with the product.
What is Customer Personalization?
Simply put, personalization is a way to see what the consumer has bought, analyze what they might need later and send suggestions based on the analyses. It’s a way to communicate to the buyer that they are special and are individually important to the retailer. It’s a way to promote two way communications between buyer and seller.
When someone views videos on Youtube.com, there will be a list at the side of the page titles recommended videos. The moderators of Youtube observe the videos a particular user has been viewing and gives recommendations based on the taste of the viewer. This set of recommended videos varies from user to user as every user has different viewing choice. This is customer personalization.
Most online stores have a history of their customers’ past purchases and even their visiting history. They’re able to decipher buying patterns and tastes through what past buying behavior tells them. If a buyer looks for a saw on Amazon.com, they’ll be inundated with offers for other saws with similar qualities. If a customer buys a wallet online, they’ll receive offers for related products such as a coin purse, suitcases etc. This can be very helpful for someone looking to buy these things but unsure of where to look. Google personalizes search experience based on past search history. That feature can be turned off in Google, but it’s there by default as a way to match the search results with the user’s interests.
Why Does it Work?
Youtube is able to assess and recommend others videos the viewer might like. This cuts down the amount of effort that would have been required to look for these videos otherwise. This, in turn, makes the viewer want to use the website more because of all the options that handed to her on a platter.
Customer personalization means making the relationship between retailer and customer more meaningful. It shows that the retailer is taking the time and energy to analyze the customers’ specific tastes and interests and tailor the services to their personality. Doing this makes them feel like they are more intimately involved with this particular retailer as the services are specifically fitting their needs.
Gaining a better understanding of customer needs and preferences can enable the delivery of personalized services that will help increase customer satisfaction, lower service costs and improve loyalty. Ultimately, personalization can result in the development of specialized services – delivered according to current preferences – for which customers will be willing to pay a premium.
The easiest way go about it is by making other events more personalized such as loyalty programs (like Air Miles), special packaging with printed promotions for related products for ordered shipments, etc. You don’t need to invest in an e-commerce platform in order to personalize your services though the easiest and most effective tools are via the web.
- Social Media– This has become the biggest trend in marketing communication today. It enables you to be interactive with your customer, to discuss your products with them and to keep them updated on new merchandise. Companies have built large social media campaigns, resulting in effective brand management. It helps in creating a buzz about a brand
- Opt in emails and transactional emails– Segment your lists based on the buying behaviour, viewing patterns and frequency. Offer a discounted rate on a complementary product after your purchase. You can pamper your customers with hot deals, handsome discounts and the free gifts
- Ad network– Remarketing can increase your visibility manifold
- Landing pages– You can create personalized landing pages for customers when they log in, which addresses them by name and thank them for their purchase.
- Utilizing the Smartphone Trend– Numerous websites have developed mobile apps for easy access and convenience. So what are you waiting for?
- On Call or Chat – If you talk or chat with a customer, you have the opportunity to listen to their desires and promote your other merchandise or services accordingly. It is a better way of reaching out to the customers and offer a personal or human touch to the face of your business on the virtual world
Don’t go overboard
This personalization isn’t always done the right way. Some e-commerce merchants have the habit of sending the customers exciting offers even if they have purchased a one-time buy item. Constant nagging or insistence can put off the customers, making them feel annoying and useless. This can lead to a backlash. Unhappy customers can damage a company’s standing through disgruntled blog comments, tweets, etc. and keep prospective customers at bay. If done well though, like Youtube’s approach, it can keep customers happy. So personalization needs to be done suitably and with some thought into it so as not to appear to be a gimmicky marketing ploy.
Another problem is that some view this collection and analysis of data an invasion of privacy. There’s a fine line between personalizing services and invading privacy which the intelligent marketer would be diligent enough not to cross. You shouldn’t harass your customer with numerous e-mails that they don’t want, that will irritate them and lead to your company’s reputation going for a toss in the social media sphere. If used appropriately, personalization can help customers gain more out of their experiences dealing with retailers. It can help them save a lot of time and effort. It will ensure your customers are long term clients and will help your business flourish.