To advance holiday sales this year, eCommerce retailers have to optimize their personalization strategy quickly. Sophisticated personalization solutions are making the 2015 holiday shopping experience even more engaging than last year, and consumers aren’t giving any room to recommendation slackers. Retailers that are ready to implement the latest recommendation solutions are poised to stand out this holiday season.
Even though it’s already November, you still have time to supercharge your product recommendations for the holidays. Think you’re all set? Check your list twice for all the ways you can make or break your personalization strategy.
Make: Insuring the “always addressable” customer is satisfied.
As busy as consumers’ lives have become, they not only know technology exists that can lighten their load, they demand it. And, retailers need to reach them at every touchpoint. Companies doing product recommendations right this year will meet consumers at every place they are with highly-relevant recommendations, reviews, research and any other content that will foster an easier, more engaging discovery to decision-making process in real time.
Break: Ignoring the consumer call for an omni-channel experience.
Consumers used to be impressed simply because they could shop your site from different devices—not anymore. The omni-channel age means that consumers are becoming more and more aware that technology exists that allows willing retailers to seamlessly connect their customers’ cross-platform shopping experience.
Make: Approaching personalization as an ongoing conversation rather than a linear if/then recommendation.
Recommendations don’t have to be predictable to be “right.” In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Personalizing your recommendations in a way that says I know you expected this one thing, but you might be surprised by the relevance of these other options as well, earns consumer notice and confidence while keeping them engaged. Consumers this season want more than for you to simply recommend what works, they expect recommendations to make sense no matter how many layers deep you dive. And they want you to offer up supporting content and guidance when they come to a fork in the road.
Break: Failing to connect the dots between discovery and conversion.
What used to be a beeline from discovery to purchase now goes off in many different directions. Some shoppers will come to your site knowing what they want while others hold firmly to their “just looking” status. The role of your personalization practices is to keep each of these customers engaged along the way, deepening relationships and driving conversions. Predictable, uninspiring search returns will fail to engage someone intent on discovering the perfect gift, quickly and at a the most reasonable cost.
Make: Capturing and leveraging every micro-moment.
Personalized recommendations based on deep consumer data gained from what one says on social media, to how they behave online cross-platform, to what their response was to your latest campaign, are highly informed, therefore more effective than recommendations that source considerably less data. Your personalized recommendation strategy this year has to include a plan for gathering up every wisp of data and turning them into recommendation gold.
Break: Leaving data lying around.
Providing personalization based on a limited consumer profile will get you equally limited results this year. The amount of data available to enrich a single consumer profile is astounding. Even more incredible is how much data is left uncultivated. According to a recent Forrester report, 83% of respondents said they had trouble taking it all in when it came to consumer data, not to mention managing, analyzing and distributing it effectively.
An increasingly personalized relationship between brands and consumers is still very much in vogue this holiday season. Retailers doing it right in 2015 are the ones who leveraged cross-platform best practices, optimized recommendations using all available data, and earned conversation-driven conversions based on truly engaging experiences.