Highly Personalised eCommerce snapping at the heels of traditional online stores

June 25th, 2015 by Heather Maloney

personalised ecommerce
The June Business Essentials audio program features an interview of one of the Australian entrepreneurs responsible for the recently launched personalised online shoe store Shoes of Prey. After choosing a base style (flats, mid-heel, high-heel, sandal, ankle boot etc) the Shoes of Prey online shoe designer tool allows you to customise your shoe to the nth degree. You can choose from a wide range of colours and materials, add straps, bows and other add-ons, even customising the colour of the insole, and toe sole (yes they are different). You can interact with the look of your unique shoe as you customise it. The end result can be a truly unique pair of shoes, made exactly to your size requirements, or if you are spoiled for choices and can’t decide, the website shows you the designs other customers have created allowing you to select one of those instead (and then add your own personalisation).

This blog: Personalised Shopping Services: How a bunch of menswear retailers found the future of ecommerce describes seven different online mens clothing stores which address the problem of men not liking shopping, but still wanting to look good and have new clothes. The retailers solve the problem in a variety of different ways, but personalisation is key – understanding the man’s size, shape, style preferences, budget, and then delivering to those preferences on a regular basis.

All of these examples make it clear that the next phase of ecommerce is here, and snapping at the heels of the “traditional” online stores. This phase of ecommerce takes personalisation to the next level. It’s not about personalising the person’s name in the emails you send and sending a birthday card & discount a few weeks before your customer’s birthday, it’s about combining the power of technology with personal service in order to provide exactly what each customer wants and needs.

I know where I will be ordering my next pair of shoes … it might even be worth a trip to Sydney to try on the various sizes and base shoe styles in the Shoes of Prey range.

The following points are clear from the stories of the abovementioned online stores:

  • The existing marketplace vendors believed that personlisation of their products was too hard
  • There certainly were lots of difficulties to overcome and significant effort required in order to support a personalised service – this lead some retailers taking on the manufacturing themselves
  • The more highly personalised model has delivered rapid growth of market share for the entrepreneurs who took on and solved the challenges
  • Customers receiving a highly personal service are likely to spend more, spend more often, and have greater loyalty to the store

I’ve been banging on about richer personalisation, particularly as it relates to email marketing, since the launch of eNudge in 2006. Marketers have been talking about marketing to an audience of one for about the same length of time.

Now that the greater personalisation is being experienced by consumers via solutions like those described above, all businesses need to think about how they can provide a more personalised service, creating customers who don’t want to go anywhere else. If you are already providing a personalised product through your online store, you still need to think about how you can take that up a notch … for example, think about the monthly service provided by one of the male clothing store vendors, sending a regular package to their customers to rent, buy or send back. It’s proactive, not reactive, but isn’t just sending the same things to everyone – the service is personalised based on in depth knowledge of each customer.

Perhaps you would like help to take your ecommerce store to a higher level of personalisation, or perhaps take your offline solution onto the internet providing a highly customised experience? I believe there are similar opportunities for B2B solutions and professional services. We need to stop thinking “it’s too hard” and start working out ways it can be done utilising a combination of technology and customer service.

We’re here to help you grow using technology, so feel free to get in touch.

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One Response to “Highly Personalised eCommerce snapping at the heels of traditional online stores”

  1. Nick Schildberger Says:

    Personalisation is all part of the “disruption revolution” and I completely agree that all businesses should be taking a good look at how they can use technology to continually add value through a more personalised offering. Don’t underestimate how much people will pay for this added value too.

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