What Your Customers Actually Want from Personalization – 6 Things
Personalization is an expected part of the customer experience now. When you offer a personalized experience, customers are more likely to become repeat buyers. When you don’t use personalization to offer a personalized experience or offer one falling short of expectations, customers will bounce. But, no one is defining what those two scenarios look like. Today, we’re covering what your customers actually want from personalization.
Use Personalization to Know Who I Am
Customers want to be known, no matter where they are interacting with you. Whether they are on their work computer, at home on their laptop, on their mobile phone, or in-store, they want you to know who they are.
There are two reasons for this.
- It feels good to be known and makes us think of being a regular at a local shop.
- It saves us a lot of time when logging into a website and going through the check-out process.
Customers want to be known at a deeper level than just recognition, though. They want you to know what they like and what categories they frequently shop from. Your communications should reflect this.
Use Personalization to Keep Track of Things for Me
Your customers are busy (we all are). They are often juggling work, family, and other personal things. Use personalization to make their life easier by keeping track of things they care about.
Personalized reminders customers like to receive.
- When they might be running low on a product and should reorder.
- They have an anniversary or family member’s birthday approaching.
- An item they wanted is back in stock.
- New items are released in a category they purchase from.
- Their subscription is about to renew, so they can edit the order if necessary.
We all appreciate when things save us time or make our life easier. We’re usually willing to pay more for time savers and easy buttons, too.
Use Personalization to Show Me Relevant Recommendations
Retargeting allows us to remind people of a product they looked at but didn’t purchase. While this does work, it can enter creepy territory if done wrong or be flat out annoying. What people really want from personalization are relevant recommendations. What if they looked at a pair of shoes, but it wasn’t quite what they wanted. A better retargeting strategy might be to retarget them with shoes in the same category. There are so many products in online stores these days. It can be exhausting to dig through. Send them recommendations for similar items they may have missed.
Email communications should also be personalized to reflect frequently shopped categories. I recently bought a few shirts from an online retailer, and then received emails for towels and children’s clothing — things I didn’t have a desire or need to purchase. However, if they had sent me clothing recommendations from brands similar to the one I bought, I likely would have purchased more.
Relevancy wins every time.
Use Personalization to Talk to Me at the Right Time
Personalization is timely. But what does that mean? It means sending a message when the person is more likely in the mood to receive it. When they’re likely ready to shop. You can mine your first-party data and shopping history for clues on when to send emails.
If a person always makes purchases at your store in the evening, it’s likely one of the best times to send an email. The same goes for upcoming anniversaries and birthdays — if you send an email a few weeks before these events, you’re likely to get a good reception.
Purchase history can give you a lot of clues about the best time to reach out. Does a customer always stock up on certain items in April, send a reminder email.
The right time can mean time of day, but it can also mean time of year, or be dependent on circumstances.
Use Personalization to Provide Meaningful Value
We often talk about how Loyalty programs can help you collect first-party data and turn people into loyal customers, but a loyalty program will only do this if what you provide them with is valuable. Does it meet their needs? Do they see value in it, or do they feel like they are giving up privacy for nothing?
Does your loyalty program require a massive amount of purchases to get a reward, making it seem futile? No one will see value in this.
Are the rewards difficult to use? Example: while checking out at a store, a team member told me I had a reward to use, and told I needed to get the coupon of the website. I had to search for the email, try to remember my login, etc. I took forever, and I left feeling like it wasn’t worth the $5.
Are the rewards relevant? If you send out a coupon for an irrelevant item when customers reach a certain level, they’re probably not going to see value.
The purpose of a loyalty program is to turn people into loyal customers, but if it doesn’t provide value, it will do the opposite.
Don’t Use Personalization to Be Creepy
Customers are aware they are giving up data and privacy for a personalized experience. They are ok with giving up a bit of privacy if it makes the experience more valuable.
The experience costs them something. But how do you determine if you are actually providing value or if they think it costs too much?
- Are people actually turning into loyal customers, or are they churning out pretty quickly? Is the program increasing Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) or having no impact or decreasing it?
- Customer feedback. You should be keeping a pulse on what customers think of your program. You can gather feedback by talking to customers or through social listening.
Learn more about keeping personalization out of the creepiness ditch here.
Wrapping It up
Customers want you to make their lives easier and their online shopping a more enjoyable experience — which is the point of personalization. It takes set up, but the dividends are worth it.
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