Embracing the Future of E-commerce: The Personalized Shopping Experience
July 13, 2023

Embracing the Future of E-commerce: The Personalized Shopping Experience

Today, shoppers around the world are looking for personalized shopping experiences tailored to them…

Look at the meteoric rise (and sometimes fall) of the "curated commerce" industry. Successes like Stitch Fix, which curates personal wardrobe boxes for customers - Or companies like Trunk Club and Fabletics, which personalize clothing items for customers - using data to deliver a personalized experience to each customer that is tailored precisely to their needs and wants.

It's important for e-commerce businesses to understand the importance of personalization in today's market because shoppers expect it and will demand more in order to stay competitive

If you're part of the bustling world of e-commerce like Taylormade Golf, REN Skincare, or OLAPLEX Haircare, you'll know that creating a unique shopping experience for every customer is the new "king of the marketing jungle."

Today, let's dive into the world of personalized shopping experiences. We'll talk about creating unique customer connections, the technology to support personalization and creative marketing strategies that unite brands and customers around the world.

What is a Personalized Shopping Experience?

But to begin, what is a personalized shopping experience and why should it matter to you as an eCommerce marketer?

A personalized shopping experience is a tailored journey that meets the individual preferences and requirements of each customer.

Picture this: You're hosting a dinner party for 20 of your favorite friends. This is a created menu with both vegetarian and carnivore options... You wouldn't serve a steak to a vegetarian, right?

The same logic applies here. When you're creating a shopping experience for your customers, you want to be relevant - and by understanding each customer's tastes and preferences, businesses can create a shopping experience that feels uniquely tailored to them, just like a perfect dinner menu.

Personalized shopping experiences often rely on data and technology to predict and respond to customer behavior. For example, a customer who needs help choosing a Saucony running shoe will need to provide a product expert with data like:

  1. How many miles per week do you run?
  2. Have you ever purchased Saucony shoes before?
  3. What size foot do you have?
  4. What's your budget for this purchase?

Using this data, a product expert using Humankind's conversational commerce software can make tailored recommendations to the customer for a perfect pair of running shoes... whether they're preparing for a marathon or setting a New Year's resolution.

Another example would be AI-powered recommendation tools that can learn customer behavior, serving up products that align with their previous purchases or browsing history​. It's like having a personal shopper who knows your style inside out!

We've covered how AR/VR can help create personalized shopping experiences for customers in other articles which you can check out on our blog - but we didn't want to move on without giving a nod to new tech on the rise.

The Power of Personalization in Retail

Before we get into the power of personalization, let's talk about a potential downside.

Think back to the last time you were talking to a friend about a product or service that you were interested in - and minutes later began to see ads to purchase.

There's a tipping point where the "power of personalization" actually feels more like a stalker than someone who genuinely cares.

But when done well, personalization can help you create long-term engaging relationships with customers and keep them coming back again and again.

Retail giants like Sephora have been ahead of the curve in adopting these healthy personalization strategies. Sephora's Beauty Insider Rewards program is a great example of how personalization can transform not only the in-store experience but also the marketing and rewards a customer receives. By simply collecting customers' birth dates at sign-up, Sephora can offer a birthday treat, creating delightful and personalized touchpoints.

Now if you're rolling your eyes thinking, that's not personalization... at a basic level, personalization is really that simple.

Think back to your last birthday - was there anyone who wished you a "Happy Birthday" or gave you a gift that caught you completely off guard - It could be someone you did not expect to remember your birthday. It might make you feel extra special that they remembered it.

Your customers are the same way... they love to be celebrated!

But personalization isn't just about making customers feel special. It's also a powerful driver of business success.

One of our customers, OLAPLEX Haircare, began using our digital concierge software to create unique personal shopping experiences for their customers, and after a short time saw their CSAT scores increase to 4.94 (out of 5), a near-perfect score.

The reason for this is that customers were able to have meaningful conversations with a product expert over SMS. They received personalized shopping recommendations on beautifully designed landing pages with 1 click add-to-cart options and have their questions answered in real-time, creating fast, easy, and enjoyable shopping experiences.

It's no surprise that OLAPLEX Haircare also saw an increase in conversions and rich zero-party customer data collected to help them better serve their customers. Implementing personal shopping software like Humankind's Conversational Commerce platform, allowed OLAPLEX to get closer to their customers - you can read more in our case study with Pamella Hall, an Educator “expert” on the team.

Personalized Shopping in the Age of AI

Step into the future with me for just a minute. Apple's Vision Pro has just been released and brands are scrambling to provide AR/ VR personal shopping experiences powered by Ai and conversational commerce.

Instead of going to a retail store to buy something, you're sitting in your favorite chair while "walking" virtually through the finest shops in the world. You're messaging your favorite personal shopper via text, through the Vision Pro's integration with your iPhone.

Your avatar can literally try things on, interact with virtual sales associates and ask questions about the product, get recommendations based on your preferences - it's like you're in the store itself!

The options for personalizing shopping experiences are endless. Whether you're using AI-powered technology, conversational commerce software, or integrating AR/VR into your shopping journeys, now is the time to start thinking through how you can provide this to your customers.

This is where the future is headed... which we'll talk about in a minute, but let's come back to the present and create a personalized experience for your customers.

How to Create a Personalized Customer Experience

Creating a personalized customer experience is like crafting a bespoke suit—it needs to fit just right.

To begin with, it's all about understanding your customer's unique and individual requirements. From greeting your customers by their first name to designing offers that meet their likes and interests, personalization has become the new brand differentiator.

For eCommerce brands, this starts with data.

Collecting and analyzing customer data can provide valuable insights into their preferences and behavior. This can be achieved by analyzing their browsing history, purchase patterns, and even how they interact with your emails.

But remember, personalization isn't just about bombarding customers with products they might like... this is actually a good way to alienate them.

Personal shopping experiences are about creating a holistic, seamless experience that makes them feel valued and understood. This could involve personalized emails, targeted promotions, or even custom landing pages with product recommendations that reflect the customer's past interactions with your brand.

More Ways to Create a Personalized Customer Experience

Personalization in online shopping isn't just a trend, it's a necessity. In a world where customers are inundated with choices, it's those personalized touches that make your brand stand out from the crowd:

  1. Use Data Wisely: Use customer data to understand their habits, preferences, and behaviors. This can be achieved through website analytics, customer surveys, and even social media activity.
  2. Personalized Communication: Emails, push notifications, or SMS messages can all be personalized. From addressing customers by their first name to tailoring content based on their interests, personalized communication can significantly enhance the customer experience.
  3. Create Custom Landing Pages: Based on your customer's browsing history, you could create custom landing pages that highlight products they might be interested in.
  4. Offer Personalized Promotions: Everyone loves a good deal, but a deal tailored to your interests? That's even better. Offering personalized promotions based on a customer's purchase history can increase conversion rates and customer loyalty.

The Role of Conversational Commerce in Personalization

We've seen how technology can enhance personalization, but let's not forget the human touch.

Conversational commerce, or the practice of engaging customers through messaging, chat, and other conversational channels, can create a deep, one-to-one connection with customers.

Humankind Conversational Commerce Software, for instance, is a solution that allows brands to forge the 1:1 human connection customers crave. Our digital concierge software integrates directly with major eCommerce platforms and brings a touch of "concierge commerce" to the digital world, creating a personalized shopping experience that feels genuinely human because it is!

While we're still exploring the use of AI to supercharge these human interactions, our focus remains firmly on connection and keeping the human element in personal shopping.

Personalization in E-commerce: Real-world Examples

Outside of our own systems, by now, you're probably wondering what other real-world examples of personalization look like. Well, there's plenty to choose from! Here are a few that stand-out:

  1. Amazon's "Customers who bought this also bought..." feature is a classic example of using customer data to provide personalized product recommendations.
  2. Starbucks' Personalized Rewards: Starbucks offers personalized deals and rewards to its app users based on their purchasing history. This encourages loyalty and repeats purchases.
  3. Thread's Personal Stylists: Online fashion retailer Thread offers customers a personal stylist who suggests outfits based on the customer's style profile. It's like having a personal shopper, but online!

As you can see, these examples demonstrate the power of personalization in boosting customer engagement, interest, and satisfaction…

But they also increase sales and decrease bottom-line metrics like new customer acquisition costs (CAC).

The Future of Personalized Shopping

It's safe to say the future of personal shopping is bright and mobile! As we look to the future, several trends in personalized shopping are emerging.

The first one to consider is AI's role in creating personalized shopping experiences- From smarter product recommendations to AI-powered chatbots that can provide personalized customer service, the possibilities are endless.

As we look to the future, it's clear that personalized shopping will continue to evolve - but here are a few trends to look out for...

The Future of Personalized Shopping and Technologies That Support It:

  1. AI and Machine Learning: The potential of AI in personalized shopping is huge. Not only can AI analyze vast amounts of data quickly and accurately, but machine learning algorithms can also learn and adapt to customer behavior over time.
  2. Voice Shopping: With the increasing popularity of smart speakers like Amazon's Echo and Google's Home devices, voice shopping is set to become a significant trend in online retail. This offers a whole new level of convenience and personalization—imagine your shopping assistant, who knows your preferences intimately, and responds to your voice!
  3. Augmented Reality (AR) Shopping: AR technology is already being used by some retailers to enhance the online shopping experience. For example, furniture retailers like IKEA allow customers to virtually place furniture in their homes before making a purchase. As AR technology improves, we could see more personalized AR shopping experiences.

By now, we hope you're as excited about the future of personalized shopping as we are. The possibilities are endless, and the rewards are significant. So, what's your next step?

Conclusion: Taking Your Next Steps in Personalized Shopping

By now, we hope that you're buzzing with ideas on how to create a more personalized shopping experience for your customers - and hopefully, we've also shown you that the possibilities are endless, and the rewards are significant.

If you're interested in exploring conversational commerce as a way of personalizing your customer's shopping experience, Book a demo and give Humankind a shot. Our focus is on creating a truly human connection, between brands and customers, throughout the customer journey.

We've seen how technology can enhance personalization- With a few simple steps and the help of innovative technologies like ours, you can create an unforgettable customer experience that boosts loyalty, increases conversions - and leads to sustainable success.

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