Why is it Important to Personalize the Shopping Experience
Why is it Important to Personalize the Shopping Experience

E-commerce has drastically changed over the last 2 years and has become the predominant way we shop. The shopping experience has been brought to our fingertips and is getting easier by the day. As most Indians have started shopping online rather than stepping outside their homes, the Indian e-commerce sector is witnessing a never-before boom. Covid-19 has caused inflation in e-commerce penetration globally, hugely driven by consumers’ need for safety and convenience. 

According to IBEF, the Indian e-commerce industry has been on an upward growth trajectory and is expected to surpass the US to become the second-largest e-commerce market in the world by 2034. The sector will reach US$ 99 billion by 2024 from US$ 30 billion in 2019, expanding at a 27 percent CAGR, with grocery and fashion/ apparel likely to be the key drivers of incremental growth. 

With these stats and umpteen number of players in each category and sub-category, how will one survive if we do not move towards a personalized experience? 

Where the first wave saw so many young businesses shut shops, or pivot, by the second wave, we had a lot many homegrown brands and small businesses which sprung up with personalization as the key to their working models. 75 percent of business buyers expect companies they buy from to provide them with a personalized experience. Stats also show that customers do not mind sharing personal data in return for personalized offers and discounts. However, it is all technology-enabled and working to the brand’s benefit well enough. 

Personalization, customization, and after-sales service – all the 3 factors are contributing a lot to the repeat purchase that occurs. The joy of a personalized handwritten note which comes with the order, or a surprise little something that accompanies it - are just small examples of what gets it ticking for the brand and promotes brand loyalty. When shopping on Myntra and it says, ‘based on your previous purchase, you should go for size M’, you feel like a personal stylist is assisting you! 

One great example of personalization is product recommendation. Something which Amazon does so well when they recommend products. Snapchat’s Bitmoji has been quite popular for the same reason. 

Word of mouth carries a lot of power. When 5 customers talk positively about the brand and it spreads, a great level of credibility travels with it. So, in today’s time and age, where your social media page has become your web address, personalization is of supreme importance. Also, with Covid-19, more and more brands have started to invest larger chunks into digital marketing to explore new ways of reaching out to more customers. Digital has become an end-to-end conversion source for brands in today’s time. If the brand can extend a one-on-one personalized experience, there is a huge chance of increasing and promoting brand loyalty.

To build lasting bonds of trust with their customers, brands need to be there at all times. Throughout their journey, as soon as they feel the need, customers must be able to find a quick answer to their questions. Thus, if the shopping experience must be fluid to trigger sales, it must also make it possible to guide the customer to the product most suited to his context and his situation and help him in the event of a problem with his order for long-term loyalty.

At the start of the journey, that is to say during the research phase, brands should not hesitate to offer conversational channels such as chat to offer interactions as fast as they are effective. In this way, customers know that brands are listening to them and are committed to supporting them in choosing the product that best suits them.

Then, in a second step, the implementation of privileges via a loyalty program as well as the addition of gamification elements will transform the purchase into an experience as fun as it is addictive. As a result, customers will come back to the brand’s products more often. They will be more loyal in the long run.

That said, there could be a very thin line between personalization and snooping. It is important to gain customer’s confidence about how the brand gathered information on them, giving them control of the personal data and offering fair value in return. So finally, the data the brand possesses, the accuracy of it, and how the brand decides to use it – will change the way brands add personalized experience while communicating with a prospective or existing customer.
 

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