In the world of ecommerce great customer service will always help you stand out from your competitors. Whilst price continues to be a major point of differentiation, there are plenty of alternative ways for retailers to set themselves apart online. A great user experience will always encourage repeat custom, and a recent report by IDC and RichRelevance says that personalisation modules on ecommerce sites are now boosting online sales across Europe, with over 45% of European consumers shopping online each month.
The study of 1000 consumers found that 53% of UK shoppers openly enjoy being provided with tailored and relevant product suggestions based on their previous buying behaviour, and 18% of those surveyed confirmed that they review personal recommendations from retailers before making their final purchase. The value of personalisation is its ability to open the customer up to complimentary or alternative products that they may never have looked at otherwise.
Now, personalisation modules are by no means a new ecommerce feature and you may already have this function within your own site. But it can only ever influence purchases if you utilise your customer data to provide timely and relevant products that are genuinely appropriate to what the customer is browsing at that exact moment. I’ve been on the receiving end of poorly optimised personalisation modules countless times, and from a customer’s perspective, being given recommendations for a selection of hairdryers when you are searching for fishing equipment does not suggest that your custom is valued. In fact, randomised product recommendations can be slightly insulting to a prospective buyer and quickly damage any reputation you may have built for customer excellence.
But take the time to get it right and you will reap the rewards. I’ll be the first to admit to adding a few last minute products to my basket off the back of a personal recommendation that has been extremely well tailored to my own interests. And it would seem I’m not alone - 45% of UK shoppers admit to checking out with recommended products purely because they were on-screen at the right time. That’s a huge amount of potential sales that retailers can capitalise on just by displaying suitable products at the right time in the buying cycle!
With such positive statistics, personalisation modules look set to be the next feature to move from optional extra to ecommerce best-practice, along with guest-checkouts and customer reviews. So make sure yours are driven by up-to-date customer data to deliver the best results, or consider investing in this feature soon if you want to improve your customer service and increase conversions.