We have talked about the importance of ‘knowing your customer,’ so much so that some companies are claiming that they know their customers so well that they know what they want before even the customer. The question is, if the customer doesn’t already know what he or she desires, how can companies prove that they possess the correct product and on top of that, they are the best company to buy it from?
In a bid to get the customer on board, on side, on the same team, basically convincing them that they need you, companies need to up their personalised marketing game. For example, a taste of some well-known company tricks is the creation of scarcity. Scarcity is a classic example of how companies entice their customers by creating the phenomenon that their ‘favourite product’ is running low or the use of advertising such as ‘last chance to buy.’ Of course, its clear that these persuasive techniques work better in the physical retail world than online.
Statistically speaking, just 5% of web-shop visitors are convinced to buy products using these techniques compared to 25% in physical stores. Research suggests that the reason for this is that web-shops find it almost impossible to pinpoint the best sales techniques for their online customers. Each person will of course be different and what may convince one customer may not convince another or even so, both customers will buy the product for completely different reasons. The dietician who buys quinoa because they believe it’s a better alternative to rice and the average Jo who also buys quinoa because they think it’s cool and want to keep up with current trends.
Kaptein tested this theory by immediately screening their online customers on a clothing website. With the help of data analysis gathered from the customers’ browsing history, Kaptein was able to see how persuadable these customers were. Did they buy the recommended books from Amazon? Did they always opt for the cheapest or last-minute deals when booking hotels online? Using this data, the web-shop was able to automatically adjust their customer’s profile and as a result, their sales ultimately increased by 25%.
Advocates of personalised marketing praise the advantages of made-to-measure shopping environments where customers automatically skip the products that they’re not interested in but instead head straight to their personalised relevant experience. On the contrary, those who are not so on board with this selling technique state that they are concerned with potential privacy invasions. They warn that these techniques run the risk of stereotyping people into boxes and say that the customers vision will indeed narrow because they will only get to see what they already know and like and of course, preventing the, seeing things outside of their preferences.
The remedy of these techniques is what trend-watchers call ‘serendipity.’ This is defined as the feeling of being surprised and fascinated by something new and unexpected. In the past, it was the physical stores that shone through in respect of personalised experiences whereas as we move forward into the future of retail, it seems the element of surprise is our new strength.