Editor’s Note: Omni- and multi- channel is transforming transportation’s supply chain and logistics processes. And omni-channel isn’t just for retailers anymore. In fact, when we launched our end-to-end transportation management e-commerce solutions for less than truckload shipping with WebShopApps almost 2 years ago, we saw a plethora of industrial companies, distributors, and manufacturers turn to our LTL solution in order to open up more channels of revenue and to meet B2B consumer demands shaped by their personal experience in the B2C world. Gone are the days of having half a shopping cart only to have the user get to the shipping options and be told to call the company to “Arrange shipping.” Those who ship heavier items can also open up an e-commerce channel with the capability of a full shopping cart that allows merchant control and better user experience. We encourage you to read our other posts in our e-commerce category here.
Today’s post is a guest post from Nicholas Fincher of CS-Cart about how 5 areas of focus can bring back the focus on the customer by personalized their online shopping experience. These are but extensions of the idea to maximize omni- channel strategies by putting the customer at the heart of the supply chain.
I think you will agree with me that modern business is inseparably linked with Internet. Launching your own ecommerce project online is a key to spectacular revenue growth and a nice opportunity to find a large number of potential customers as you pivot to an omni-channel supply chain. Large and small companies provide customers with all possible products and services via their own virtual online stores or huge multi-department shopping malls. Most modern customers can’t imagine their lives without shopping online, as they are able to order any required product without overcoming long distances and wasting their precious time standing in long turns. However, plenty of website owners can’t boast of having a strong base of return clients and high revenues. Did you notice that some simply made web stores are always visited by a large amount of customers and other bright and shiny websites disappear from online business environment? The answer is simple – customers appreciate a sophisticated and hassle-free shopping experience and visit only websites with high performance and an excellent customer service. The main aim of any website owner is to make his customers feel like special guests and provide them with smart website services, which will be able to meet their personal and business needs and preferences.
Personalization is a technology that helps website owners create a unique customer experience, based on results of past search and sales history, utilizing personal customer information, taking into consideration their interests and improving customer services. A personalized website has got more chances to meet customer’s requirements and occupy leading positions in the ecommerce marketplace. In my article, I will try to reveal main personalization techniques that will increase customer loyalty dramatically and attract more clients to your website.
Very often by visiting a website, customers complain of lack of content or information overload. If you’re faced with these issues, it’s high time to personalize your website content. At first you must define what your content is about, find out and segment your audience, then personalize the content depending on demographic, industry, job functions, persona interests, and other rates. For example, tracking customers’ locations and researching their interests can tell you what type of articles and reviews they prefer to read, as some of your visitors may like short informative content forms and the other ones will require more details and explanations.
Displaying personalized content on a website is one of the best ways to increase the level of conversions significantly and retain more customers, satisfy their specific needs and force them to spend more time surfing your website and searching for more required products and services. Moreover, a website with personalized content is more Google (and other search engines) friendly, which makes it much more visible in search engines and drive more traffic in the sequel.
Some of the most important aspects of your personalization strategy are customer service and support. You should offer different navigation options that will keep all previous customers’ activities and allow them to continue shopping after making a purchase, without starting all the process from the beginning. Another indispensable element of a successful online store is a good personalized search engine. If your search box is equipped with product filters, then your customers will save their precious time and get relevant searching results. Also, vendors must pay attention to live customer support services, which were specially developed to research clients’ issues and provide them with quick and professional real-time responses.
Besides standard personalized services, you can build strong relationships with your customers with the help of third-party data services. Using collected information about geolocation, weather or other environment features, you will be able to offer visitors required products according to the situation.
In modern conditions, customers prefer to go shopping through mobile devices and desktops. One of the current challenges, plenty of website owners have to face, is providing customers with lag-free cross-channel experience (similar to an issue free omni-channel supply chain). As a rule, websites can be displayed incorrectly on the screens of various desktops, tablets, and smartphones, and lack of various useful customer services can complicate the shopping process. In this case, vendors should think over a professional personalized development approach and improve performance and accessibility of their web stores as fast as possible.
If you want to prevent shopping cart abandonment, you have to check and manage shopping cart services. It’s quite important to pay personalized attention to your customers via providing them with useful applications, easy check out process and recommendation surveys, which can improve customer experience and boost the level of your ecommerce sales drastically.
The best method to improve interaction between vendors and customers is email personalization. Possessing client contact information, any vendor is able to offer required products to his customers via sending them private letters. The main mistake merchants usually repeat when they communicate to customers, is a standard letter format and same products they offer to clients year to year. I can assure you that customers are tired of getting thousand of similar letters, so they will probably mark your letter as spam and forget about your online store forever.
First of all, personalize greetings in your letters, as I think that any customer will be glad to see his own name in a letter, dropped into an email box. Make your customers feel like top priority, by sending them letters with little discounts, free samples or birthday congratulation notes. Of course, don’t forget to offer your visitors an email subscription form to inform them about new products and services that are available in your web store.
In addition, I want to mention that the most essential part of a personalization strategy is social media interaction. Customers always want to get in touch with a real person, but would not like to communicate with an automated software machine. It will be better if you share your social media ID with your customers and establish a company’s page on Twitter and Facebook. Allow your clients to comment and complete surveys and reviews you place at your website.
Furthermore, personalized feedback is a nice opportunity to inform your customers about policy of an online store brand, find fresh ideas that can bring your business to a new level, track and react to all customers’ questions, complaints, preferences and gain customers’ trust for many years to come.
Do you know some other ways how to personalize a website? Are you ready to discuss your omni-channel supply chain strategy? Feel free to share your ideas with me in comments below.
Nicolas Fincher is a marketing and PR manager working for the CS-Cart ecommerce software company, which offers the comprehensive range of multifunctional shopping cart tools, including a multi-vendor management tool that enables you to create an online marketplace where multiple vendors can manage sales of their own products through one common web store.
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