I received a marketing email from Nike the other day highlighting one of their new running shoes and advertising the option to customize the shoe on their website. This “Nike ID” product customization has been around for a while now and has actually been successful. However, product customization is not enough to relate to customers anymore. Today, it is more important than ever that you personalize the entire shopping experience to connect with your customers and earn their trust (and ultimately their business).
It starts with the customer’s profile. How are you tracking your customers today? Do you have a basic history of all their online purchases? What about in-store purchases? What about returns? You get the point. You need to have a single view of the customer’s history with your company to truly understand their buying patterns and to relate to them. If a customer calls into a call center for support, the CSR agent should quickly be able to pull up information on the customer to understand their purchasing history. Retaining the correct information will allow for quick and easy problem resolution and a great customer service experience for your customer.
Retaining information for quick reference is nice, but it is what you do with that information that creates a competitive advantage for your business. The way that I see it, there are two different ways you can use this information to increase business from specific customers. One of these is active product association and the other is a more passive marketing approach. Let’s take a look at active product association first.
Have you ever gone to check out on Amazon and seen the “Frequently Bought Together” section? It’s hard to miss. Amazon is trying to get you to purchase other items that you didn’t necessarily visit their site to buy. It is an effective sales tactic and can be even more effective if those items are personalized to the customer’s purchase or item viewing history. This is a perfect way to get those items back in front of the customer to increase their chance of purchasing them. Retaining the customer’s purchase history information allows you to transform this data into product recommendations when the customer is on your website and is already making a buying decision.
The other way to use this information is for marketing and customer communication. One company I recently consulted for sends a “You might also like these items” section on their shipping confirmation email (and it works!). Customers who just bought an item from their website get a shipping confirmation email and see an item they like and make another purchase immediately. If you know the customer’s purchase history and buying patterns, it will allow you to use that data to get the right message in front of your customer at the right time. Marketing emails don’t have to be randomly sent out on blast anymore. The data needed to personalize customer communications is there, you just need to capture it, organize it, and use it effectively.
Customizing the customer experience is crucial to strengthening your relationship with your customer today and ultimately influencing their buying patterns of tomorrow. Drop us a line, we’d love to help you curate the ultimate buying experience for your customers!
Contributor: Kevin Quigley