Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Customer Experience, a daily news portal devoted to helping retailers differentiate the shopping experience.
If the retail industry wants to keep up with customer expectations, they need to open up the conversation to their shoppers for more transparency and collaboration.
We've pegged the five most effective steps for creating an online shopper-centric discovery process that is a missing piece in most retailers' personalization strategies.
Step 1: Create a shared vocabulary: A recent study found that sites with semantic-based search options have a 2 percent shopping cart abandonment rate as compared to 40 percent on sites that only offer plain text search, so speaking the same language and providing a relevant response is clearly an effective way to understand what customers want and to drive purchases.
Step 2: Let your customers drive: Your shoppers could be coming to you as browsers with very little specificity, or with a certain product in mind for a particular occasion. Providing multiple ways to navigate products and offering a flexible interface to self-select the most suitable discovery options puts the shopper in the driver's seat of the personalization process.
Step 3: Extend the relationship: When shoppers explicitly build a query or customize their navigation on your site, retailers must realize they are pinpointing their preferences and expressing themselves in the process. Retailers need to go through the effort to remember what shoppers have said. This creates opportunities to connect at a deeper level with each customer far beyond just the website.
Step 4: Analyze, optimize and repeat: When shoppers tweak their discovery criteria and ultimately find and purchase a product, retailers are provided with a rich set of information about what that individual user, as well as other users, may be interested in and why. Tracking these interactions at an individual and segment level can identify important new merchandising keywords, spot trends, and optimizations needed.
Step 5: Amplify: By allowing shoppers to customize their journey and inform retailers about their unique preferences, the retail community collects massive amounts of highly personalized data. Retailers can use this data to fuel and improve the effectiveness of other merchandising, marketing, search and personalization efforts, as it's an opportunity to make "big data" work across an entire retail organization.
How effective are most website's personalization efforts?