Personalization - A digital salesperson


Personalization has been a buzzword over the past few years. Everyday, companies around the world are adopting new technologies under the personalization umbrella to better convert their customers.

So there must be positive results to justify these changes, right?

In studying the consumer that I know the best, myself, I have found distinct patterns in the way that I find myself shopping. I either know exactly what I want - a 20-volt cordless ½ inch drill - and I will gladly accept the offer of assistance to find that exact item in a brick and mortar store. Or I have a vague idea of what I am looking for, but I will not know it until I find it.

I could spend hours wasting time wandering through store after store, waving off salesperson after salesperson’s offer for help and often walk away without finding that ‘thing.’ The first example was buying, the latter was browsing. Sometimes I want to enjoy the browsing experience, but only when my expectation is to truly browse with no expectation of purchasing.

How personalization can help you sell

When a skilled salesperson can get a person to open up, share a few ideas, and articulate what he doesn’t quite know he is looking for - there is a sales opportunity.

For example, perhaps I know I could use a pair of shoes. Something casual, but not a sneaker, but also not too formal. It should be an every day style with light or dark jeans, but not flashy. It should be subtle and classic, but not too stuffy. I assume I will know it when I see it.

With the right information, a knowledgeable salesperson leads the consumer to a personalized, curated selection of relevant items. They provide focus and affirmation that what the consumer had in mind is or is not available.

The salesperson reduces friction in the decision-making experience and aids in a more likely sale.

Without the proper details, the consumer is left to sift through seemingly endless possibilities, tangents and possible deterrents that decrease the likelihood of a successful shopping experience.

Replicating the in-store shopping experience 

The digital experience has the opportunity to closely mirror the best of what brick and mortar has to offer - the personal shopping experience with someone who ‘gets’ the customer.

Through research data of our 10 highest volume eCommerce merchants, we have found that between 6-15% of consumers will use the search function. Those who use the search function convert at 300 times the rate of others who do not!

This is the consumer looking for the 20-volt cordless ½ inch drill.

The remaining 85% of traffic consists of different customer segments with different needs that are ultimately browsing. Converting even a fraction of the browsing segments could lead to significant increases in sales, customer retention, loyalty and satisfaction.

The challenge is to apply the knowledge that we have gained from our consumer, about the customer segments that they resemble, and to replicate the personalized in-store experience to assist the consumer in finding what he does not know he is looking for right now.

Custom product recomendations

With the help of machine learning and the review of the data we have available, we can provide product recommendations based on previous browsing, search history, past purchases, similar customers’ behavior, similar customers’ successful purchases, and present complementary categories when relevant, based on where a customer is in their purchase funnel.

We can present products based on demographic or geographical data, and find creative ways to interact with a prompt or two to better inform the algorithms.

Essentially, with data we can create a search-function-like success rate for consumers nudging them into the customer group with the 300% increased likelihood of conversion.

In the end, customers recognize when a store’s selection feels relevant to their style preferences or needs, when they can easily ‘find’ what they are ‘looking for,’ and when they feel positive about a purchase experience.

The positive CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) drives loyalty, repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations. Ultimately, this drives conversion and sales. It truly is a win-win for both the merchant and the consumer.

Automate the selling process

We have developed the Brain to support our Bold Commerce apps to provide intelligent insights into your consumer’s’ journey.

Leveraging Brain with our Upsell or Bundle apps, merchants can utilize Brain to serve personalized upsell recommendations or product bundles directly to your customers without your intervention, all while increasing conversions.

The time and money it can save is a conversation for another day.

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Scott Riddell

Written by Scott Riddell

Scott is a chin-scratching gentleman who has a wealth of eCommerce experience. He works as a product manager at Bold, envisioning and shaping new apps that empower entrepreneurs to sell more.

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