Using data to tailor customer experiences

Sep 16 2019 | PayPal editorial staff | 5 min read

When it comes to getting up close and personal in eCommerce, big names like ASOS, THE ICONIC and Kogan have really raised the bar. Customers expect a personalised experience across all sales channels, but what does that really mean and how can SMBs deliver it?
In this Q&A, Ryan Murtagh, CEO of all-in-one eCommerce platform Neto, demystifies the process and explains why the power of personalisation is not just for big businesses. By collecting data and understanding the insights it can deliver, small and medium-sized businesses can also get closer to customers and boost sales.

Q: What does personalisation mean in an eCommerce context?

Customers expect a personalised experience, whether they’re visiting you in-store or on your website. In an eCommerce context, personalisation is all about delivering the right information or offer to the right customer at the right time.

For a merchant, personalisation is aided by having a single, aggregated and complete view of the data relating to an individual customer across all your sales channels and across all stages of a customer’s lifecycle. Without this information at your fingertips, it’s very difficult to provide a consistent and exceptional customer experience.

Q: What does a ‘single customer view’ actually mean?

Technology is making it easier for people to shop everywhere and now they expect speed, choice, transparency, convenience and consistency. To deliver on this, many businesses look to centralise all data and transactions across all sales channels and back-office operations into a single system that puts the customer at its heart. However, with such a wealth of data at hand, a single customer view is something even big businesses continue to strive for. Businesses that are doing this well – either by implementing an all-in-one solution (like Neto) or integrating various solutions in real time – are really winning.

Q: How does data drive personalisation?

Data can be used at any stage in the customer journey – for when people are just looking to buy online, for converting them into loyal customers and for keeping them for the long term so that, ultimately, they become brand advocates. With a complete view across all sales channels, you can pinpoint where they are in the customer journey and target them with relevant offers at the right time.

For example, with Neto Analytics Studio, we help retailers identify their ‘active’, ‘at risk’ and ‘lost’ customer segments by using a proprietary metric called Lapse Points to show the average number of days it’s taking for one-purchase customers to buy again. Anyone approaching the lapse point is at risk and you can use that data in your business to proactively trigger marketing to reactivate them with a personalised offer.

Browsing, behavioural data and personal history data can also be helpful in making product decisions. So it’s not just about personalising the customer experience at the point of sale, but also knowing what to buy to keep them happy.

Q: Who’s doing it well – and how?

A good Australian example is Supercheap Auto. They have a large network of physical stores and also sell on their own site and through online marketplaces (like Amazon and eBay). They’re really embracing the challenge of using data to personalise across all those channels by giving customers the option to return online purchases in-store, for example, and making the experience consistent.

Everyone talks about Amazon’s customer experience, but eBay Australia has made massive strides recently with a number of new initiatives. Their search algorithms were all redone in recent years to personalise the shopping experience. Every homepage of every customer is different, based on their purchase history.

Q: So how can small businesses use personalisation to encourage customers to spend more, more often?

There are numerous opportunities in the pre-purchase phase, starting with tailoring your website with dynamic content messages and targeted offers for each individual shopper, often based on a customer’s geolocation and their demographic.
  • Make recommendations: We’re all familiar with the use of past purchases to suggest other products to buy, but cross-selling and upselling once a customer has put a product in their cart is also popular, and there are plenty of apps and add-ons to do this for you.
  • Eliminate friction: Preventing cart abandonment can come down to simple things like using a customer’s IP address for auto-currency detection. Or having the shipping cost calculator deliver an automatic quote, rather than asking your customer to re-enter their address.
  • Pre- and post-purchase personalised emails: These can be used as reminders that your customers have left something in their cart or to inspire further purchases. A customer who has just bought a skateboard might be prompted to purchase a helmet, for example.

Q: What tools can help small businesses wrangle data more effectively?

As a first step, all businesses should implement website tracking systems like Google Analytics to track web user behaviour, and Google eCommerce Analytics for transactional data. It’s surprising how many businesses don’t have these properly configured or turned on, so data isn’t accurate or even captured at all.

More advanced tools, like Bizible (which integrates with platforms like Neto), can help you refine and define the customer journey on your website. It’s a fairly cost-effective solution that collects various data points to determine what to display. It personalises your website for each user that visits and tracks where that person is coming from, how they’re interacting with your site, and dynamically targets product offers based on geolocation and demographic.

Neto analytics are based on a product called Glue which provides a 360-degree view of the customer from first click to advocacy and includes apps such as SmartrMail for email recommendations and personalisation, as well as options for segmentation to identify your VIP customers.

Q: What are the 3 key things small businesses can do to get started with personalisation?

  1. Collect and track data: Set the foundations for capturing data from day one (even if you’re not planning on using it for a while). You’ll thank yourself later.
  2. Use customer insights: The data you capture will provide a wealth of insights so that, as a retailer, you no longer need to rely on just your ‘gut’ for business decisions.
  3. Provide a consistent experience: It’s critical that your customers have a consistent experience regardless of the channel they purchase from – in-store, online or via a marketplace.
Want to learn more? Find out how Neto facilitates personalisation for their customers.
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. The information in this article does not constitute legal, financial, I.T., business or investment advice of any kind and is not a substitute for any professional advice. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, IT and legal advice before making any business decision.
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. The information in this article does not constitute legal, financial, IT, business or investment advice of any kind and is not a substitute for any professional advice. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, IT and legal advice before making any business decision.