Updated: Jan 11
Imagine a buyer visiting your online nursery store. He is looking for accessories like seeding trays or saplings like tomato to build his kitchen garden. He has visited you previously for his flowerbed requirements, and has already displayed certain kind of preferences – like easy-maintenance, small plants for urban gardens and so on. He has also visited your social media pages and has sent enquiries about such preferred products. When he lands on your website the second time, he goes on to browse certain other details such as “small kitchen garden” or “ideal terrace kitchen plant” which enables you to put the browsing history together, and lets you to show up the perfect items of his liking.
With the data analytics you obtain, you can improve his user experience on your site and make a personalized offering. Through eCommerce personalization, you can dynamically show content around tomato plants, for example, or connected product recommendations, such as chili plants. Not only do you recommend the best possible tomato and chili plant combo options, you can display advertisements based on his past flowerbed search history, and can suggest relevant products that can go well with the products he has added to the cart – say organic compost. You make an offer based on his previous buys for flowers, browsing behavior, purchase history, demographics, and other personal data. It matches his needs and finally, your customer makes a purchase not only for his kitchen garden but his flower bed as well.
In 2020, digital transformation gave online sellers and buyers a taste of this kind of hyper-personalization. It was crucial for brands that not only wanted to engage shoppers, but to increase repeat purchases, drive sales and boost conversion. This consistent, cross-channel experience helps you adapt to customer needs and goals in real-time. You could cherry pick what you want to tell him, and show him. Since big data is a key enabler of eCommerce personalization, it is a must-have in your toolkit for brand growth.
But as 2021 kick-starts, data has already received a fair share of privacy threats through many controversies. Therefore, as a business, while personalized marketing is here to stay, it adds an important layer to your offering – understanding data trends and data analytics for taking informed business decisions.
Decoding the world of data
Before deep-diving into customer trends, it is important to ensure that you really understand data and what it includes. Simply defined, personal data is any detail that relates to an identified or identifiable individual. A person’s full name, home address, email ID, any ID card number, location details, IP address, any medical data if needed, all comprise personal data. Additionally, upon visiting a website, the entire digital footprint left behind by him is also collected as consumer data.
Data mining for business intelligence is the process of extracting information, that determines the patterns, trends, and ideas for accelerating business intelligence. Analyzing this consumer data, gives you a peek into what your buyers wants based on customer behavior. You understand the unique preferences of each customer, helping you to conduct targeted (and likely better performing) marketing campaigns.
TREND #1 - Having data is one thing, using it is going to be quite another
Many online brands think big data is meant for big retail brands that can afford an in-house team or can buy data from data brokers. In contrast, the smallest businesses have the means to access and conduct data analytics for business. eCommerce platforms like Shoptimize track and give you access to consumer behavior data, which you can use for informed decision-making. Using personal online data such as search queries, page visits, purchase history. Additionally, personalized recommendations encourage the customer to return your eCommerce site. It helps define how long your visitors are engaged on your site, which in turn translates into greater sales and reduced customer acquisition costs. Store browsing habits can generate valuable data for running various campaigns, through smart recommendations. You can also automatically create the most suitable campaigns for your marketing objective. The data-backed approach combines the appropriate ad types, objectives and audience to launch campaigns in line with the budget.
Yet, did you know that less than 0.5%3 of available data is used for these purposes?
Understandable perhaps, since putting a data-driven digital personalization strategy into practice can be challenging. Often, this requires having resources that have the expertise to analyze and, more importantly, synthesize various types of customer data. This is where Shoptimize fits in by following well-rounded data analytics and drives predictable growth. This helps you to uncover insights to maximize eCommerce personalization.
With the power of great data, comes great responsibility.
TREND #2 - Balancing personalization with increased data privacy will be a strategic imperative.
A sound digital personalization strategy will need to be hyper-focused on the customer, delivering to the customer’s actual needs and desires. Clearly, data security and privacy will need to go hand in hand with this enhanced experience. According to Havoc Shield, 22% of small businesses2 suffered a security breach in 2020. With the recent power shifts that have happened across the globe, data privacy will likely be a high priority, with an interest in putting control back in users’ hands.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states. India follows the same in allowing global digital companies to conduct business under certain conditions. These regulations are designed to make it easier for consumers to manage their data. Interestingly though, there’s growing evidence that consumers actually prefer the very same personalized service that is made possible through data collection. Consider this Accenture survey which says that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide targeted communications.
2021 will see major changes in the data privacy landscape. For example, you may need to go from an opt-out to a more direct opt-in approach – say the consumer opts-in for your newsletter, rather than being spammed and then opting-out. It will be essential to delight users with a relevant experience while maintaining trust – by knowing about changing data privacy regulations and react and adapt your personalization process.
TREND #3 - Managing your data will become the centre of your business in many ways
Will you use it to tweak your site UX to take them to more earrings since those are quicker buys? Do you want to provide relevant recommendations, such as a vintage choker with an antique silver jewellery set?
Keep the data you need and discard what you don’t. It also helps you mitigate risk.
TREND #4 – Getting into the skin of the data will help you personalize further
In 2021, many brands will uncover the potential of data storytelling for business and will start focusing on the microcosm even more. It will go beyond interacting with your eCommerce business. You will know who your price-sensitive customers are, who abandon their cart and who would rather buy full-price. Together, this data will help you create a fabric of insights. It will help you personalize campaigns to a new level. You will know what's trending, what's not, what's refunded or returned the most, and so on – ultimately giving you more mileage and resources for marketing and growing your online business.
Thus, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will need to be increasingly interwoven into the digital customer experience. But even as businesses are finding fresh ways to leverage AI and optimize the digital customer experience and eCommerce personalization, they will need to find how this can give customers even greater control of how they engage.
The line to toe will be to make it easy for consumers to understand what type of data they're sharing and what benefit they can expect.
eCommerce personalization in companies will no longer be a privilege but crucial to survive and compete. It will offer numerous tempting benefits, allowing them to do merchandise planning. It will also help them analyze customers’ purchasing behaviors and forecast their sales and ultimately generating greater revenue.
On the other hand, there will be the challenges of data mining in the field of eCommerce such as data management, scalability, and keeping it simple and user-friendly.
The data collected about customers and their transactions, assets of your online store, will need to be used consciously and ethically, while increasing customer satisfaction. So in 2021, more than ever before, brand owners and marketers will need to have a deeper understanding and respect for protecting data. Because users will be much more likely to make you their go-to supplier if they know that you’ve got their best interests in mind.