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Ecommerce personalization: How to deliver personalized customer experiences

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Ecommerce personalization: How to deliver personalized customer experiences

How personalization maximizes the success of your ecommerce efforts

Satisfied customers that’ll stick with you over the long term. That’s the dream for any business, right? But to turn it into reality, companies need to close the gap between customer service expectations and the actual customer experience. Customer expectations have always been on the rise, and during the pandemic, the bar has only gone up. Today’s customers want tailored experiences — and they are even willing to spend 140% more to get them. Yet, only 53% of retailers consider personalization a top priority.

The push for personalization has blurred the lines between the B2B and B2C buyer’s journey. B2B customers are now looking for more seamless experiences when buying on the job. Therefore, personalization goes much further than just slapping the customer’s name on the email subject line and calling it quits. However, many brands overlook the importance that product data plays in providing a successful personalized experience when it can drive conversion in B2C retail or enrich the experience of B2B manufacturing products.

The importance of personalization

According to research from McKinsey & Company, customers now view personalization as the default standard of engagement. When B2B customer experience professionals were asked which actions or investments will have the greatest impact on customers, nearly two-thirds (62%) selected investments focused on understanding individual customer characteristics, such as individual needs, challenges, and future direction. The pressure is clearly on for companies that have not yet adopted a personalized customer experience, but there's an opportunity for the ones that get it right.

As Gartner observes, organizations that focus on helping their customers with personalized messaging can expect a 16% more impact on commercial outcomes than those that don’t. However, many teams struggle to keep up with the demands of completing products with rich descriptions, full attribution and digital assets. At the low end of the spectrum, ecommerce brands only convert 0.10% of the traffic that hits their product pages. Therefore, companies need every element of their product page – the featured product, UX, product description, digital assets, social proof and CTA - to give visitors a great shopping experience and encourage them to make a purchase.

What do buyers expect from product pages?

When it comes to product pages, personalization is key. In a typical marketing funnel, consumers who visit your product page are usually in the final part of their decision-making stage. This makes the product page your most valuable conversion tool. With 81% of consumers conducting online research before making a purchase, you need to ensure that they get what they’re looking for once they land on your product page.

Unlike a traditional retail store where customers can try and test the product in person, ecommerce doesn't have that option. That’s why buyers strongly rely on the product description to make their buying decision. They are looking for accurate product content and they usually distrust a website if they find incorrect product information. Therefore, online shoppers need as much information as they can get before making a purchase. They pay close attention to price, product description, ratings, available support options and reviews. 

Once a visitor has reached a product page, you must provide the right level of information, from descriptions to reviews and photos, to maximize their chance of a conversion. For instance, you can leverage real-time user data to auto-generate category pages, shopping cart incentives and smart product recommendations, specifically targeted toward each unique buyer. Each product page becomes a one-to-one proposal taking into account each customer’s interests and motivations. 

The do's and don'ts of product pages

To better understand the significance of a well-built product page, consider this scenario. Let’s say you’re looking for a new coat. During your online search for the perfect winter coat, you navigate between two ecommerce stores. 

The first website has only one image of the coat and it’s blurry. There’s no description and no product variations listed. So, you’re unsure if they have the color and size you were hoping for. Plus, you don’t see any reviews.

The second website you visit displays the coat with various high-resolution product images. It even has a video of the product being demoed. It outlines all the variations in detail (including color and size). There are also many customer reviews on the page who are all happy with their purchase.

Who are you more likely to buy your winter coat from? High product page conversion rates aren’t an accident - they’re the result of fine-tuning each element of your product pages, from content to design.

To help give you a nudge in the right direction, we’ve created a quick list of product page best practices:

  • Provide all product information details: Quality product descriptions can potentially increase conversion rates by 78%. By providing the necessary details, you can go further with the product features and build an emotional connection. 
  • Include social proof: Make sure to include customer reviews on your product page and be completely transparent when doing so. According to Gartner, more than half of U.S. consumers consult reviews when they know which type of product or service they want to buy but haven’t settled on a specific provider yet.
  • Use high-quality images: 90% of Etsy buyers, for instance, said the quality of photo images was the most crucial factor in their online purchases. Without a compelling, high-resolution photo, the ability to make an online sale falls dramatically.
  • Add product videos: More than half of people in all age groups use video to make a purchasing decision, according to 2019 data from Google.
  • Build trust: The elements you can easily add to your product page to build trust include shipping information, warranty information, return policy and a money-back guarantee.

Contextualize product information to create personalized experiences

Now that you know the elements of an effective product page, the next step is streamlining the process of consistently distributing updated, accurate and personalized product content. How? Through contextualization: Deliver tailored, adaptive and engaging digital experiences by considering not just what customers read, see or do, but where, when and why.

Have you ever bought clothes or furniture while browsing social media? Used a click-and-collect function, where you place an order online and pick up in-store? Paid for products through your Alexa app? Many brands are already employing contextual commerce, leveraging the consumer’s context to make product sales.

The context of the customer engagement, lifecycle phase, services and interactions with other channels should form the basis of the overall customer experience. By focusing not just on personalization but on contextualization as well, you can create the right environment for meaningful customer engagements. The process often starts with gathering real-time contextual data, enriching the profiles with new customer insights, creating engaging journeys, assessing customers’ responses, optimizing the process accordingly so that the right messages reach the right customers.

To make this process easier, companies need to leverage the right technological ecosystem. This is where an effective Product Experience Management (PXM) system can help – it provides product information in a way that is both contextualized and personalized across the customer journey.

Contentserv’s leading PXM streamlines the creation of compelling customer experiences with the concept of product experience at the core. It brings together product information and rich media, combined with contextualization, to personalize experiences with relevant product content at every touchpoint along the customer journey. It transforms traditional PIM systems into a personalized product experience engine that improves content marketing ROI, increases the value of upselling and cross-sell opportunities on product pages and elicits emotional connections.

Deliver personalized experiences on a global scale

It's no surprise that online sales continue to grow at an exponential rate. In 2021, retail ecommerce sales amounted to approximately 4.9 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. Added to that, a study by Gartner predicts that 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025. While a lot of companies are reaping the benefits of this ecommerce growth, it also presents a new challenge: how do you create and manage a personalized costumer experience at every stage of the buyer’s shopping journey?

Scaling your business can be challenging, but it’s a challenge every ecommerce company needs to tackle. One thing to be aware of as you scale is the potential for product information to become incorrect, out of date or stored in multiple places. Over time things like catalogs, SKUS, item numbers, references, digital assets, translations, localizations, custom attributes, documentation and more can become a nightmare to manage. Without the right data governance approach, workflows begin to slow, discrepancies arise and trying to manage multiple price lists, geographic locations, languages, currencies and promotions, becomes almost impossible.

That’s why it’s key to explore what tools can simplify these processes. For instance, to successfully manage your product information and reach a global audience, you need a strong product data management platform that provides relevant data in real-time. Contentserv can help you simplify the entire process of delivering personalized experiences to all your customers. Our all-in-one Product Experience Cloud ensures that you manage your product information at scale, get your products to market faster and deliver personalized product experiences across all touchpoints. It leverages Product Information Management (PIM) and Master Data Management (MDM) to enable manufacturers, brands and specialized retailers to manage product content easily — through one easy-to-use cloud platform. 

With the right solutions, companies can expand their reach while delivering contextualized and personalized customer experiences. Mizuno’s success story is an example of how Contentserv Product Experience Cloud can help businesses manage product specifications, data and marketing content centrally. The leading Japanese brand manufacturer and distributor of sports equipment and apparel has significantly streamlined the delivery of tailored content to consumers across channels. Contentserv also helped Intersport - the world-leading sporting goods retailer - to leverage a “single source-of-truth” to address the ecommerce and distribution needs of its affiliates, while providing accurate, consistent and personalized content at scale. 

Ready to reap the rewards of personalization?

Customers today have made it quite clear that they value a personalized customer experience. Not only are they willing to pay more for such an experience, but they are also more likely to remain loyal customers as a result. By tailoring your product pages to your customer’s needs, delivering contextualized and personalized customer experiences and doing it effectively at scale, you can establish stronger bonds with your customers that will bring your business more value over time.

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