How to Use In-House Data to Personalize Customer Experiences

Hands holding mobile phone with ecommerce app and credit card

As we continue this series on in-house data, we’re now focusing on more ways to increase your ROI with these insights. But before diving into more ways to use your data, let’s start off with a brief pop-quiz. (Hint: You’ll probably ace this.)

If you guessed personalization, then you’re correct. 

In fact, around 50 percent of consumers say they’re willing to pay more for a product or service if the content is personalized to them.

So what in-house datasets can help you customize online experiences for your customers?

Talk with your customers

When talking about data, there are two different kinds of insights to consider. The first is quantitative, and the other is qualitative. 

In the era of big data, it can be easy to skip qualitative data and rush headlong into all things metrics. And while analytics are helpful (and in this era, necessary), the reality is that qualitative data still plays an important role in creating frictionless customer experiences.

For instance, recently our team at IPinfo conducted a series of interviews with customers. We learned some fascinating things about the value we offer and opportunities for growth that we didn’t anticipate. 

Here’s what we learned – we have personalization experts, and they’re our customers. More specifically, we discovered some features that our customers loved:

  1. We learned that customers valued our flexible pricing options.
  2. We found out that our users chose us because of accuracy.
  3. We learned how much our customers appreciate our customer support.

On the other side, we also found out some areas for strategic growth and personalization. For example, we found out that many customers wanted to use more of our features but weren’t sure what steps to take. 

For Ecommerce companies, there are some important reasons to intentionally gather customer feedback. First off, current customers can shed some light on friction points that caused frustration. This can help Ecommerce sites remove barriers to higher conversion rates. 

Additionally, it’s easy to assume that we know what customers’ pain points are, but sometimes we don’t fully understand. Personalization hinges on which company understands buyers’ needs the best. And who better to tell you those needs than your customers?

How to gather customer insights?

There are several ways to accumulate quantitative data. One way is to conduct surveys. First, decide the best channel to conduct your survey. 

For example, do you have a strong following on social media stories? Do your customers like to share feedback via email after making a purchase? Or are your customers more likely to share feedback on chatbots? 

In fact, there are many different kinds of chatbots to choose from, including survey chatbots, social media chatbots, and call center chatbots. 

As already mentioned, you can also gather insights from interviews. But don’t cancel out customer reviews such as on your product pages. These are valuable sources of customer insights to help you personalize online retail experiences.

In all of this, let’s not forget the people in your company who already talk to your buyers on a regular basis: customer support representatives and sales teams. By eliminating siloes and storing customer data in one location (for instance, a retail CRM), every team member can access valuable customer insights to personalize emails, marketing, and website content.

Use anonymous data from website traffic

Many browsers have discontinued (or will soon be discontinuing) the use of 3rd party cookies.  

At the same time, buyers are demanding more personalization, which is inherently tied to gathering user data. On the retailer side of things, it can feel like there’s no win-win situation. 

IP data reveals general geolocation insights such as the nearest latitude and longitude of the nearest city center to the IP address. How can Ecommerce sites use this information to personalize customer experiences? 

1. Customize content based on the website visitor

As was already mentioned, IP address data shows geolocation details that can improve personalization. Ecommerce sites can use these details to automatically select the right content for each visitor. For instance, one Ecommerce site uses IP address data to select graphics and messaging based on user demographics.

Customers in China are greeted by a homepage that reflects the style these customers prefer:

At the same time, buyers in North America see images and messaging that’s indicative of their customer profile:

Ecommerce sites can take this a step further and customize ads and discounts based on geolocation, too. 

For instance, say a global Ecommerce site wants to have an after-Christmas sale. In the United States and Australia, Christmas is celebrated on December 25. So an after-Christmas discount could start as early as December 26. 

Russians, however, celebrate Christmas on January 7 since they follow the Julian calendar. An after-Christmas sale, therefore, would need to start on January 8 in this location. 

Additionally, even though the US and Australia celebrate on the same day, Christmas happens in winter in the Northern Hemisphere while Australia is in the heat of summer. This may affect graphics, customized testimonials, and other content. 

2. Localized language, pricing, and currency

Few things will send a buyer away from your site faster than a currency, language, or price they don’t understand. For brands that want to expand beyond one country or region, IP address data also helps automatically select the correct currency and prices based on geolocation. 

Take Michael Kors, for example. They offer the same handbag for different prices and in different currencies based on the geolocation of the buyer.

If these items were priced the same, the US price should be $328 and the price in Austria should be €276.44. All this to say, based on demand, additional taxes, different shipping prices, etc. Ecommerce sites can use IP geolocation data to personalize currency and pricing to better serve their customers and protect their bottom line.

3. Adjust shipping policies based on region

How much do shipping policies affect conversions? Ninety percent of buyers say their purchases are directly influenced by these policies. Needless to say, accurate communication about shipping is a major selling point for Ecommerce companies.

Sure, we’d all like to be able to sustain the free shipping model. However, that’s not always the best choice for all Ecommerce brands. IP address data allows companies to offer free shipping to certain regions while charging a small fee for deliveries in other areas. 

In short, this data allows your site to display the correct shipping policies based on the geographical location of each visitor. 

4. Offer easier checkout processes

IP address data also helps speed up the checkout process by pre-populating forms with information tied to geolocation. This speeds up the purchase process without infringing on the privacy of individuals. 

Additionally, companies can offer more secure purchasing by using IP data to detect malicious traffic, masked users, or fraudulent visitors such as web scrapers, bots, spammers, and others. Here’s how it works: IP address data can expose users hiding behind VPNs, tor usage, proxies, and other forms of hidden identities. 

These are only a few of the ways you can use your IP address data to improve website personalization for your customers. But there are many more ways to use this in-house data source to fuel customizations for buyers, including these:

  • Faster load time based on Internet Service Provider
  • Notifications when customers are near a physical store
  • Serving content based on mobile data
  • Preserve the integrity of your site for users

All this to say, when it comes to automating personalization, IP address data is an important option to consider.

Gather inventory management data

Another important data source for Ecommerce companies is data from inventory management. Tracking seasonal buying trends, for instance, can reveal a lot about the type of personalization customers want during different times of the year. Here are some examples of answers you can gather simply from your inventory management data:

  • When customers tend to buy certain products
  • When and how should you promote products to visitors
  • How to improve order fulfillment
  • How much inventory to purchase for different seasons

That’s why reporting and business intelligence are such an important investment for Ecommerce sites. For example, Brightpearl helps retail and wholesale businesses use the following datasets for better-customized solutions: product and customer insights, detailed financial reporting and demand planning, and informative management reports. 

To read more about how Ecommerce companies use inventory management systems like Brightpearl, check out this article for tips on better demand forecasting, automation, and performance standards. Additionally, inventory management data can show you typical buying trends among your customers. 

Say that a customer purchases a pair of Women’s Brooks Revel 5 road-running shoes from an online retailer. Looking back through similar purchases, the sales team notices that most people who purchase this shoe also visit the product pages for running shorts. And within two months, the Ecommerce brand is shipping at least one more item to the same address.

Wouldn’t you want your marketing and sales teams to know these trends? They could set up a series of offers, emails, or other content to reach the customer at the right time to increase conversions. This is just one example of how your inventory management system can help your sales and marketing teams promote the right products at the right time.

In short, you can personalize customer experiences using the in-house data you already own. 

Break down data siloes for better personalization

To facilitate communication and easy transfer of important customer trends, it’s important for Ecommerce companies to break down siloes between groups within the organization. 

For instance, in the above example, one of the ways to make the information about the Brooks shoes available to marketing teams is to have a CRM that keeps customers’ details, order history, and interactions with the company in one spot.

Here’s how this can work: In Brightpearl’s case, the retail CRM integrates with major marketing tools and platforms. Marketing teams can then use this first-party customer information to segment customers, customize offers and advertisements, and cater to buyers’ preferences.

Additionally, sales and marketing teams can pinpoint high-value accounts such as wholesale clients to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Use behavioral data for pinpointed offers and discounts

Pop-up offers and chatbots help with customer retention because they connect with customers on a personal level. 

Take this scenario: a buyer placed two items in the cart, went to the purchase page, and then suddenly starts navigating away from your site. Wouldn’t you want to know why they’re leaving their cart, especially if this is a common trend among your buyers? Are you willing to passively give another retailer a chance to convert your customer?

According to a study conducted in March of 2020, over 88 percent of carts are abandoned. That’s why some online retailers use these types of behavioral data to trigger a modal pop-up. 

For instance, in the above scenario, the company could ask if the buyer has found a better price elsewhere. Then they could offer a price-match option to increase the odds of conversion. Other options include offering a new customer a one-time offer for free shipping or some other discount.

All this to say, in-house behavioral data can help online retailers give customers better experiences while increasing conversions at the same time.

The reality is that data is already fueling better customer experiences online. For Ecommerce businesses, the challenge is to use this information to boost brand awareness, customer loyalty and retention, and better conversions. 

However, with so many other facets of online retail – shipping, inventory management, demand planning, warehouse management, retail accounting, and much more – Ecommerce brands often need a partner who understands their operations and workflow. 

Luckily, retail-tailored digital operations platforms, like Brightpearl, specialize in helping omnichannel merchants create personalized and seamless customer experiences.

Discover more ways inventory management can help your Ecommerce site! Connect with us for more information.