Last updated - June 18, 2018
Personalization has become really an important component of shopping in the current day and age. The availability of options for customers is really huge, and as a result they are naturally looking for better experiences. This is especially true for eCommerce, where a lot of customers are specifically looking for personalized experiences. Though it might apparently look as a challenge for the store owner, you can personalize customer experience for your own good. Studies have shown favorable results when you personalize the customer experience on your store. You can read another article that deals with the topic of personalization here. In this article, we will look into some of the tips and tricks that you can use while personalizing customer experience on your WooCommerce store.
What store owners gain from personalizing?
As a store owner, you are probably already aware of the numerous challenges that await you when you get out to do this. That is because in the multi-channel connectedness of present day internet and IoT (internet of things), you can’t just focus on one aspect. However, it is still worth the money and effort, as it offers you some serious advantages. Let us quickly look at some of these aspects before delving deeper into the process itself.
This is one of the most favorable outcomes that you encounter when you personalize customer experience on your store. According to a study, over 40% of customers prefer to go back to an online store, if their first experience was pleasant. If your customers liked the time they spent on your site, and the experience of shopping with you, they are going to come back. As you know, repeat purchases are one of the definite markers of success for an eCommerce store. And a lot of store owners are trying hard with their marketing strategies to ensure repeat purchases. So, you can definitely set out to personalize customer experience as it has the potential for a crucial outcome.
As you might have guessed, following up on customers is a good strategy too to ensure they come back to your store. WooCommerce Follow Ups is a great extension that would help you do that professionally.
Another marked advantage that you would see with personalized customer experiences is that customers would be more willing to do impulse purchases. If you think about it, this is true even for traditional retail experience. If a sales person suggests some product based on a conversation with you, there are better chances you would buy that product. Even if you were not planning to buy that product on that day. With careful personalization strategies, an online store too can achieve the same result. Up selling based on past purchases would be a truly rewarding strategy.
For example, a customer who has purchased a product from you might be more willing to purchase a related product too, if suggested at the right time. Being able to view individual customer’s browsing habits and purchase history would help you with this. WooCommerce Customer History Extension will help you access purchase history and browsing patterns of customers.
According to researchers, customers are confident to purchase a higher priced item when there is personalized service. This is a valid point for personalization, and it does contribute to increased revenue in an online store. Generally speaking too, personalized customer experiences would contribute to better conversions. You can read more about conversion optimization strategies in another article.
The trick really is to convince customers that they need to purchase your products based on the data available to you like previous purchases and browsing patterns.
Reduction in returns and refunds
Another promising factor favoring personalized service is that impulse purchases have a really low return rate. Contrary to general thought, over 95% of impulse buyers decide to keep the items they bought without planning. This is a very promising figure that would encourage online store owners to personalize customer experience on their store. You can read more about managing WooCommerce refunds on our article on the same.
How to personalize customer experience on your store?
We have seen some of the obvious advantages that would inspire you to personalize customer experience on your store. Now, let’s see how can you really execute your strategies to personalize customer experiences. Fundamentally, personalization should ensure that your customer is not getting an average experience on your store, but a delightful experience. Let us see some of the expert suggestions for this in more detail.
Deep awareness of your customers
One of the most important aspects that would help you personalize customer experience on your site is deep knowledge on your customers interests. We have discussed in detail about identifying target audience in another article. In fact, personalized experience would be to narrow down even from customer personas to tailor a unique experience for each customer. The early stages of such efforts can be seen in user role based pricing, dynamic discounts based on purchase history, etc.
You can checkout the below plugins too to set up price adjustments to individual customers:
Encourage customers to engage with your brand more
These are some of the basic personalization strategies you can try out on your WooCommerce store. However, the more insights you have on each of your customer, the better you can create personalized offers from them. One of the best strategies for this would be increasing customer engagement on your store. You can find out tips on improving customer engagement here.
You need to consistently engage with your customer base, be it in the form of reviews or through periodic surveys. Also, you need to be in the know of customer expectations and then be able to surprise them with a delightful experience. The trick is to always deliver something better than expected. In the current technological landscape of eCommerce, this is not something that is very tough to achieve. However, while collecting data from your customers, be sure that it is all in accordance to privacy regulations. Read more about GDPR compliance here. Also find out the GDPR-ready settings of WordPress and WooCommerce here.
Overall, knowing your customers will go beyond segmenting customer personas. It will be more of creating new experiences that consistently evolve. Thorough testing of each individual aspect of the customer experience too would help you improve.
Build products and experiences around customers
When you commit deeply into customer experience, everything around your store should be revolving around the customers. The customer centrist approach should actually begin with product development to the organizational structure of your business. This approach should actually reflect in your brand communication as well. Basically your content, style and tone should converge to form an identity, which has the customer in the center.
Selling products that can be customized
This is one of the popular strategies that you will see a lot in eCommerce businesses. The customer will have a major role in choosing the varied aspects of a product. Naturally, such an option for customization would radically improve the customer engagement and experience. As they are more involved with your brand and products, there are better chances for conversion too. You can find several instances when customers invest considerable time with a product that they naturally get attached to it. Overall, that helps beyond the shopping experience. That personal angle would play a role in the customer’s continued experience with the product too.
You can read more about product personalization options for WooCommerce here. Options like allowing customers to choose a price can be quite a successful strategy in certain markets. If you are looking for a plugin that would help you set up complex pricing calculations, you can read our review on Uni CPO plugin. It also provides the unique capability to design your product customization forms with a visual form builder.
Setting up a points and rewards system
Another good ploy to keep your customers close to you would be to create a points and rewards system. So, every time a customer purchases a product, they are entitled to certain reward points which they can redeem with a later purchase. This would ensure that customers keep coming back and you get better access to their needs and purchase behavior. WooCommerce Points and Rewards plugin would be a great tool that you can try to manage this on your store.
Offering memberships on your store is another sure shot way to improved customer loyalty. With memberships, you can offer exclusive discounts to certain customers. Similarly, you can restrict content too to ensure that only members get access to certain content or products.
Invest in emerging technologies
As mentioned earlier the eCommerce landscape is one that is continually evolving. New technologies are regularly coming to improve customer experience. Adequately investing in new technologies would be a definite way to capture the full potential that eCommerce has to offer. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning are some of the technologies that can really make a difference in customer experience.
While artificial intelligence is mostly pre-programmed, machine learning takes into account user behavior as well. So customizing an experience for an individual customer becomes a practical scenario even when you have thousands of customers on your store. Moreover, you will be able to streamline data coming from different channels as well. Testing new experiences on your site too becomes easier with machine learning. This is because it is easier to detect patterns from customer responses.
A familiar example for machine learning would be the Akismet plugin that comes installed on your WordPress site. It uses machine learning concepts to identify and block spam on your site. Recomendo is an artificial intelligence based plugin that would help to show smart product recommendations to your customers.
When you set out to personalize customer experience on your store, you will come across several challenges. Let’s take a quick look at some of them.
Though data driven technologies are on the rise, there is still gaps in understanding customer expectations. You need to combine people, process and technology in the right balance to have a clear understanding of customer experience. As Steve Jobs suggested, it is important to start innovations from the customer’s perspective rather than from the technology.
The ability to decode data
One of the inevitable aspects of personalization efforts is the generation of large volumes of data. However, it is important that you derive at actionable insights with these data more often than not. If the large volumes of data is not converted to useful insights and executable strategies, you are probably wasting a lot of your resources.
With the GDPR, collection of personal data has become a bigger challenge for companies. Any personally identifiable data that you collect from a customer needs to be after informed consent. Maintaining an atmosphere of trust is exceptionally important in such a scenario. The downside of data privacy regulations however is that, it becomes much more tough for small business to gain trust compared to bigger, established players. You can read about the specific challenges faced by cloud-based, SaaS providers here.
Personalized Customer Experience is a definite destination that eCommerce is evolving into. Businesses, small and big, are really eager to capitalize on this aspect as earlier as possible. Advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are actively employed in finding the best outcomes. This article has taken an overview on the varied efforts to personalize customer experience in the WooCommerce ecosystem. Share with us if you wish to share an insight that help you improve customer experience on your store.