By Karima-Catherine Goundiam
The key to success for online shopping comes down to the interplay of three crucial concepts: customization, personalization, and customer service. Those overarching themes are largely the focus of most brands, regardless of industry.
Customization is the idea of developing a product which is just right for that individual customer, and perhaps this is where online retailers might actually have an edge. In the brick–and–mortar world, the customer might ask if the product is available in a different size or color. If the answer is no, the sale could be lost unless the sales clerk is able to put in a superhuman effort to fulfill that need through other means.
The second concept for e-commerce success is personalization. An attentive sales clerk can have almost magical powers to increase the total sale, but how can that translate into the online interaction? Retailers cannot simply be satisfied with the “one and done” sales. They need to develop similar online capabilities that allow them to recognize the customer and their buying patterns, have a memory of previous purchases, and be able to suggest coordinating outfits and accessories. An online store is much harder to browse than a brick–and–mortar store where the offerings are laid out for public inspection. The customer needs to be welcomed, flattered, engaged, and offered options that fit their unique tastes.
Customer service is the final piece of the online marketing puzzle. A survey by inContact found that 70 percent of the U.S. adults they questioned would actually be willing to pay extra for customer service, and more than half of the respondents would switch brands if they could have access to more customer–service channels. Etailers may need to find more ways to integrate an online personal shopper through live chats or other means – someone who is able to say, “That will look great on you,” or “Let’s try it in another color.”
In the July 29th #SMchat we will address the 3 distinctions identified in the article and the opportunities for retailers. The questions for the chat are listed here:
- Q1. Why is the topic of personalized communications so relevant right now?
- Q2. What are the benefits of personalized communications?
- Q3. What’s the downside to personalization?
- Q4. How do you mitigate collecting customers’ data while earning their trust?
- Q5. Why aren’t more companies creating personal experiences?
- Q6. What’s the future of personalized communications in retail?
Join us at 1PM on your preferred twitter chat platform to join the conversation!
In case you missed it – here’s a link to the chat transcript: Transcript of #smchat 2015.07.29