5 Steps to Capturing Fickle Consumers
How to catch comparison shoppers ... and keep themDecember 2011 By Mark Simpson
With expendable income being scarce in today’s economy, consumers have become highly skilled at comparison shopping. While shopping for the best deal once required serious effort — driving from store to store and/or comparing catalogs — it’s an easy process now. With just a few clicks, consumers can typically (and quickly) find the best price or sale available. It’s not as though consumers even need to be at home in front of a computer. Smartphones, now almost ubiquitous, allow consumers to have access to this information in their pocket. As a result, consumers are more fickle than ever and cultivating loyalty is a real challenge for retailers.
To meet this challenge, retailers need to deliver value and personalization as consumers go through each stage of the buying cycle — e.g., price comparison, coupon search, checkout, etc. But there’s never a one-size-fits-all approach for consumers. They come with different budgets, purchasing habits, locations and shopping lists. Where do retailers begin?
Step 1: Find Out How Your Customers Behave
As online shopping has evolved, consumers have come to rely on certain features to assist in their decision making. Things like 360-degree product views, product comparison tools and customer reviews give consumers confidence that they’re selecting the right product. For retailers, making sure these features are easy to use and linked to their checkout is the key. Changing, adding or removing these features, even something as simple as a button change, should never be done before being tested.
Many e-commerce shops now employ multivariate and A/B testing to gain statistically valid results about the elements that yield the highest conversion rates. These tests also discover segmentation insights that can be leveraged for targeting practices. Testing elements, all the way from a button color to multiple intertwining elements in the browsing and checkout phases, will reveal your customers’ hidden wants, needs and behaviors.
In addition to this, testing and analytics let you in on deeper data about your customer, such as unique vs. returning visitor, traffic sources, keyword search, geographical location, prior purchases or research, abandonments, the list goes on. Don’t ignore this information. It can be used to drive compelling and tailored offers for each visitor.
Step 2: Personalize Your Offers for Individuals with CRM Integration
If you want to get personal at the individual level, it’s time to ditch the old school “insert name here” manual process of rules-based targeting and employ an automated solution. With automated behavioral targeting you’re empowered to present highly personalized offers to each individual shopper. Instead of presenting a set of five offers on your homepage in a tab or rotating manner, automated behavioral targeting dynamically presents offers that will yield the highest conversion rates based upon all the unique data you have for each visitor.