By Andy Wilkins, co-founder and CEO of Futr
Being able to offer tailored experiences to customers is, to me, the epitome of ecommerce success. When a brand can deliver a truly personalised shopping experience, we see a shift in customer response: indeed, one in five consumers who expressed an interest in personalised products or services were willing to pay a 20% premium.
Personalisation makes customers feel valued and special. It helps cement the longevity of customer/brand relationships and create long-lasting ambassadors from existing loyal customers.
The future of ecommerce must include a path to hyper-personalisation in order for online retailers to thrive.
More than just an idea
Personalisation is expected; one recent study found that 80% of consumers want personalisation from retailers. In the face of such overwhelming customer demand, ecommerce retailers would be foolish to overlook the benefits of offering an increasingly personalised approach.
Of course, wanting to deliver something and being able to do it are two different matters. For many years, being able to offer truly personalised services was a pipe dream, or at least extremely expensive for both retailer and customer (and is why terms like bespoke and made to measure still retain a certain cachet). Now, however, personalisation is more accessible than ever, hence the increased expectation from consumers.
Technology developments have made this possible – specifically artificial intelligence. As customer expectations increasingly demand a tailored service, businesses must understand their language and channels of choice, connect experiences across channels, and apply user-specific data in a way that is non-intrusive.
Artificial intelligence holds the key to doing this in a simple way.
Using intelligence, intelligently!
When used properly, AI makes it easy to segment customers based on almost any metric or behaviour. This is a really important step for retailers: the least complex, least emotional interactions migrate to self-service, while higher emotional interactions can be supported across a spectrum of channels, like live chat. Excellent customer value will be created by understanding what interactions have the most emotional value, allowing organisations to provide the right touch at the right time. This allows greater focus to be placed on more loyal customers or those with greater propensity to spend, thereby increasing customer retention and satisfaction.
Personalising every touch point
It’s important to remember that personalisation is about more than simply serving up new offers or more targeted promotions. Its true value comes when retailers can tailor the entire journey, including after sales care and support. Effective deployment of AI can help ensure this throughout the customer experience – not just when they click ‘buy’. From providing interactions in multiple languages at the touch of a button, video consultations via a native platform, or call-back services where the agent is fully up to speed with the issue being discussed at a time set by the customer, AI gives brands the ability to offer personalised interactions.
This helps reduce the effort required to deliver consistency. A single communications hub is at the core of this; one place to control delivery on web, social, messaging and voice. This in turn drives unified brand messaging with a consistent tone across all channels.
Flexibility and personalisation: a match made in heaven
Providing flexible solutions that enhance the customer experience and engage their stakeholders will change how retail professionals do their jobs, as well as how customer communications are handled. The ability to connect real-time and scheduled conversations via video, through the same platform, adds an additional ‘bridge’ to improve customer relations. Sentiment and other text analysis can determine how a customer is feeling, while also serving up the right information to aid a successful resolution.
Retailers that can offer personalisation in a way that isn’t intrusive and is relevant will be better equipped to deal with rising customer expectations, increase customer loyalty and capture a greater share of their wallet. To do that at scale requires technology, specifically AI.