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The future of e-commerce is personalisation

Any shopping experience is inexorably connected to the buyer’s experience, or their perception thereof. In the digital world of e-commerce it's a device-constrained experience that can induce or deter sales.

Against this backdrop, never has there been a greater need for intuitive personalisation than now. Something that can completely alter the dynamics of online shopping for retailers and customers.

Personalisation: definition and relevance

While there are varied contours to personalisation, it is essentially:

the process of engaging customers in a manner that mimics face-to-face interaction to gain a deeper insight into their individualistic preferences, requirements and past buying patterns.

Personalisation remains one of the most innocuous yet nuanced facets of e-commerce. In addition to driving sales conversions, it also empowers online merchants to serve their customers with cogency, create long-lasting goodwill and drive loyalty.

E-commerce personalisation is a powerful tool which lets retailers offer customised experiences to help customers make informed decisions. In practical terms, this translates into the delivery of relevant, 'socially intelligent' content. This could include the content within the communications a customer receives, search results or on-site recommendations.

Norms of acceptability

Since it can be daunting to know how to apply personalisation practically, it may be helpful to note that personalisation works best when:

  • Using a methodology that is intuitive but not intrusive.
  • Using the information that your potential customer knows is being shared with you and has willingly allowed you to use.
  • Adopting a proactive approach in engaging shoppers via real-time personalised interactions rather than waiting for things to happen.

Personalisation and its potential impact on sales

Let’s look at some compelling figures:

  • According to a recent research by Webloyalty, UK’s retailers may be losing out on additional revenues worth EUR 94 million owing to their inability to personalise the shopping experience.
  • About 60% customers concede that personalisation does play a positive role in influencing their decision. Only 8% pointed out that it has a negative impact.
  • Over 50% of Britain’s consumers would be more inclined towards a retailer if they were given a decent personalised experience.
  • Around 56% of consumers said that a good personalisation experience would encourage them to access a retailer’s website with greater regularity.
  • Personalisation could potentially catapult sales by 7.8% for an average-sized retailer, which assumes serious proportion in monetary sales numbers.
  • For smaller-sized retailers, the proposition is more compelling. Even if they have a turnover of GBP 400,000, a modest uptick of 4% in sales would result in GBP 16,000. Compare that figure against the investment in tools that cost as little as GBP 150 a month and we have a clear winner on our hands.

Clearly, the benefits of incorporating personalisation for e-commerce players, small business owners and online merchants are too overwhelming to ignore.

In this context, leveraging the multifaceted features of software, which enables personalisation only makes sense and offers great benefits.

Personalisation software stores key information pertaining to each customer, such as their location, demographics, preferences, purchasing and browsing history. When providing recommendations, such software can learn about the strength of those recommendations by the results of customer action. Machine learning techniques like this are becoming more common and automate the test and learn approach which a sales assistant might use within a bricks and mortar location.