Customer’s typical joys of personalized shopping include but are not limited to leisurely moving across the stores, strolling down the aisles, and discovering new items.
While this is not possible in lockdowns, retailers strive to continue to offer customers the best online shopping experience.
The seamless personalized shopping experience
As online shopping has become inevitable, it has raised consumer expectations across all online and in-store channels. When there is a disconnect between online and in-store shopping experiences, Consumer’ overall perception of a brand degrades.
Picture this scene:- A customer walks in and logs into their account online using face recognition. As they walk around the shopping area, they can scan their phone on products and signage. This gives more information about the product on their phone screen. They don’t need to chase salespeople to find out more details about the product.
Online and in-store shopping services need to be unified as one whole seamless experience from a customer perspective. Retailers can not only survive but thrive in a pandemic’s aftermath.
There are many ways that retailers can offer their customers a personalized and joyful experience online.
Technology and personalized shopping
In today’s post-covid19 world, there is an increased focus on hygiene. With all the social distancing measures in place, the shopping experience runs the risk of alienating customers. So, there is an even more increased need to connect with customers on an emotional level to pump in the joy and excitement of shopping
Biometrics and Face recognition
Technology can aid retailers to enable in-store customer journeys by providing a smooth shopping experience.
Face recognition trials have proved to be an efficient way to authenticate payments. With the ‘Internet of Things(IoT)‘, automation of the check-out process and monitoring customer movements for their preferences has become a reality now.
In-store customer journey remains largely hypothetical for now. But the technology that can enable it virtually, is real and readily available for retailers today. Biometrics is very popular to maintain a balance between security and convenience in the customer onboarding and payment process. It has been recently demonstrated in trials wherein customers have been using their faces to authenticate payments.
The Internet of Things (IoT), on the other hand, can create automated internet-connected checkout systems. IoT can also provide sensors for monitoring customer movements around the shop floor. These include adapting to the store’s environment, such as the colour of walls or signage, to their preferences. IoT systems, on top of providing these features, generate useful data insights.
Identity management in personalized shopping
One other technological advancement is the ‘modern identity management’ platform that helps to bring all your systems together with a centralized solution. Modern platforms are integrated with existing identity systems, applications, and any new IT solutions. An AI-driven identity analytics solution can also help retailers with the audit processes.
Retailers can offer greater personalization to customers and at the same time improve the security of data by using identity management systems. Once you have a comprehensive view of your data, you can make sure that you adequately comply with privacy and security laws.
Many retailers are now concentrating on improving minute details in the shopping experience that they provide to delight their customers.
Here are few ways online retailers have made tweaks to their shopping process for their customers
Shoppers making more choices
As shown above, in a screenshot of its demo, Markable’s technology can parse any image to figure out the items of clothing pictured. The demo currently cross-references against Macy’s inventory to find relevant products.
Most Online retailers provide personalized search results. In independent research, 77% of shoppers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for brands that offer a more personalized shopping experience.
Ikea’s “Goes well with feature” aids product discovery providing an impulse buying experience. This is done by showing products that are related to products that they add to the cart.
Optimizing search results pages for personalized shopping
Optimizing search results pages to identify even the poorly worded searches is one way online retailers can retain disappointed customers. This is done by standardizing meta tags so that the search results can identify erroneous search results and map them to meaningful product suggestions
Providing excellent customer service
Blue Shirt Chat in action. Check out the live chat window recommending a TV to buy.
There are multiple ways online retailers can provide excellent customer service. Live chat is a popular option to provide instant answers to any questions that their customers may have. It is no different than a salesperson helping customers in-store. Retailers should be excellent when it comes to maintaining all of their social media channels to be able to provide instantaneous customer support
Ultimately building customer loyalty is key to sustaining brand values. Retailers do this by offering ideal and joyful shopping experiences for their customers. Retailers must also keep an eye on continuous improvements in providing value-added services and the latest e-commerce technologies. This brings in the reality of creating convenient, magical, and engaging shopping experiences that delight your customers.
Meena Perumal is the Digital Marketing Analyst at International Institute of Digital Marketing™. She has held Senior business and data analyst positions and loves to travel