Wednesday 21 August, 2013
Everybody wants a more human, personal experience online. This is especially true when they’re shopping. We miss the experience of someone being on the other side of our purchase. It also helps to engender trust among your customers when they know who you are and like you. When you make it personal, you build strong, long-term relationships.
There are many ways to personalize your ecommerce site and here are a few of them.
* Customize. If you’re planning to set up your ecommerce site using a template, choose a service that lets you customize. Make it your own so that it doesn’t look like someone else’s and it doesn’t look generic.
* Personalize Your Emails. One of the very basics of ecommerce is to personalize your emails. At the very least, make sure your emails address your customers by their first names. This is a small detail but it goes a long way in personalizing your ecommerce business. People feel good when they see their names.
* Your Smiling Face. Wherever possible online, include pictures of yourself. There’s nothing more human than a smiling face. When there’s a picture, your customers feel that they know who they’re dealing with and they’re more comfortable buying and interacting with you.
* Get a Little Personal. It’s good to share some of your personal details. Just don’t go overboard and make your entire business about you. But things like including your dog in your picture, mentioning your family on your ‘about’ page, or occasionally blogging about a hobby of yours make it more personal.
* Respond. As much as possible, respond to your customers personally. If you have a high sales volume, it might be impossible to personally thank each person who buys from you, but try. Definitely respond to all comments on your blog or social media sites.
* Connect with Your Customers. Find out where your customers hang out online and connect with them. Use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter if you aren’t already. Join online forums where your customers hang out. Read customers’ blogs and comment on them (make sure it’s not promotional).
* Narrow Your Niche. The more narrowly focused your niche is, the easier it is to build personal connections with your audience. Narrow niche markets are populated by ‘nerds’ – not the thick-glasses and pocket-protector kind, but people who are extremely passionate about what they do. Strong connections are built around these passions. This is why narrowing your focus creates stronger connections.
* Get to Know Your Customers. Collect as much data about your customers as possible so that you know how to better connect with them. You can automate this to some extent by putting widgets on your site that personalize the shopping experience (think Amazon’s recommendations).
Finally, don’t be phony. If you have genuine enthusiasm for your products, genuine concern for your customers, and a real commitment to providing value, it’s much easier to connect personally to your online customers.