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Ecommerce personalization is becoming commonplace. Whether for good or bad, buyers want experiences that reflect their personalities, beliefs, and aspirations.
You guessed it:
It’s the age of hyper personalization.
Deloitte says that 80 percent of customers prefer to buy from brands that provide personalized experiences. In the same study, 90 percent of customers said personalized adverts appealed to them.
Now you’re wondering, what distinguishes hyper personalization marketing from personalization marketing? Who's doing it right? How do I implement a strategy that works for my business??
This article provides you actionable answers and insights. Let’s get to it.
Hyper Personalization is maximizing real-time data collection to benefit the consumer by efficiently displaying the products, content material and services most relevant to them.
Here’s a fact: 81% of consumers express their desire for brands to understand them on a better level and know exactly when to approach them and when to stay away. And for this reason, more and more brands have invested money and large efforts into personalizing the experience that customers would have when visiting their website.
Eight in ten buyers prefer businesses that offer personalized experiences. Relevance influenced 69 percent of buyers’ brand perception. Via Deloitte.
Hyper personalization isn’t just a marketing theory. It’s the new normal for marketers who must engage their audience.
But personalization can take many different angles.
It could be top-down personalization, like Stitch Fix—which you’ll learn about soon—to niche personalization, like offering web hosting for freelancers. The goal isn’t to become who you’re not, but to offer more relatable solutions to your customers.
Deloitte’s study shows that well-executed hyper personalization can yield up to 800 percent ROI on your marketing spend. It can also boost sales by, at least, ten percent.
Hyper personalization can deliver up to 800% ROI. Importantly, one in five customers would share their data to receive more personalized experiences. Via Deloitte.
Creating personalized experiences is tough work. Consequently, companies must rely on AI, big data, and machine learning or run the risk of losing their customers to smarter competitors.
Some businesses have mastered and profited from personalization. Others have taken personalization even further, offering super-relevant personalization experiences to their customers.
These brands go far, above, and beyond.
For them, personalization isn’t about calling customers by name or sending birthday greetings. It’s more. They create complete customer-centric experiences for each customer.
55% of marketers surveyed answered “improved customer experience” as a main benefit of personalization for their organization.
As you provide content that gives value, engages, and delights your customers and couple it with personalization, you’ll find that you would have an easier time connecting the dots on how your customers experience your online store.
Your job primarily lies in providing that experience from the moment they type the first search query to the moment they decided to purchase; up until they become returning customers, and through continued nourishment, eventually become loyal customer advocates for your brand.
Hyper personalizing your e-commerce store won’t be possible without a clear cut understanding of how your customers behave and what kind of personas you’re catering to. For this reason, online store owners ought to think deeply about how they would tackle persona marketing.
A good place to start is audience segmentation — although that won’t be enough.
Your ultimate goal should be to create a language that your customers would understand and immediately recognize. And you do that by having an understanding of sub-personas, individual personas, and multi personas.
In creating a marketing persona, here are three places to try and dig through:
The bottom line of focusing on customers is to constantly formulate new digital marketing experiences, and then test and monitor the results of each campaign or strategy.
One of the biggest challenges marketers face in their quest for hyper personalization is finding insights, collecting big data, and acquiring accurate information in a swift manner.
That could pose as particularly challenging perhaps over two decades ago. But nowadays, thanks to the continuous growth of AI, machine learning, and deep learning technology, these concerns are easily addressed. With technology like this, you take hyperpersonalization to a different level with data as the voice of the customer.
Advanced technology for data tracking enables marketers to:
hyper personalization is not some come-and-go occurrence in the e-commerce landscape. Companies that have taken the step to focus on the measures have witnessed positive results. Another thing everyone considers is that online shoppers are varied individuals. Diverse backgrounds, different pain points, and one-of-a-kind preferences characterize each buyer.
Generic e-commerce stores are a no-no.
In fact, 31% of customers have expressed their wishes for a more personalized experience. And furthermore, 74% admit feeling frustrated with an e-commerce store that isn’t personalized and showcases irrelevant content.
So is it difficult to set up hyper personalization for any e-commerce store?
Well, not really. It just takes a lot of work.
Collecting the right kind of data is crucial. The very first attempts at personalization will only be as good as the quality of data that you bring in.
Take this, for instance, personalizing names and titles are great, but what if you’re looking to send out alerts to promote new bags in stock that retail for $200? You need to know which customers purchase $100 – $250 bags from that specific seller to have a hyper personalized message.
This kind of narrowed segmentation ensures that only the people interested in that particular seller who spend that amount of money will see the email and will likely buy the bag.
For a wider catch, you can try sending messages to people have looked up that specific seller but not necessarily purchased anything. This works for people who bought complementary products in the past, and who may be interested.
You need highly specified data, but not too much that your brand will come off as annoying or stalkerish to your customers. A start to doing that can be through information collection that’s not invasive. From running competitions to utilizing a simple signup form to pop-up surveys; the more data you gather, the better your personalized messages and customer services would be.
In everything you do, it’s conducive to start small and simple. You can start small, like segmenting your audience and sending segmented messages according to gender, age range, geographic location, etc.
Long story short, there’s going to be a lot of testing that has to be done. For instance, you can try changing up banner images in your messages to cater to your segmented audiences. Track and monitor what happens when you send age-relevant content to a particular age group, or when you have men’s only products in segments that are all-male. Closely monitoring this will provide data, and will let you move on to a deeper level of personalization afterward.
The surface layer of basic personalization should be bolstered with an even deeper personalized campaign founded on the results of the initial test.
Manually keeping track of and setting up hyper personalization is massively difficult — not with your busy schedule and your other tasks to think about.
There are oodles and oodles of data to sort through; emails to screening, schedule, and segment; messages to craft and design and tailor to your customers’ interests and preferences.
As much as human help is valued, it’s not enough. You need good marketing automaton to aid you and make the job easier.
Some of the personalization marketing tools we provide examples of later in this article :
Besides, advanced technologies for marketing today come with advanced reporting mechanics, analyzes gathered data and measure them, and presents them in a comprehensive format. The best part is that the data marketing automaton can provide is real-time.
Stitch Fix caters to the styling needs of individual customers, for each shopping event that happens with them. Via Stitch Fix.
Stitch Fix uses data to improve its consumer’s buying experience. The company has a unique business model:
Use AI to select clothing items for their customers and mail them the selection.
Stitch Fix would send you well-packaged clothing and accessories they think you’ll like. And then you can buy the items you love and send the others back.
With your style, price range, and size, you can get a fix anytime you want. Stitch Fix offers free shipping, returns, and exchanges.
But how has Stitch Fix gained some much traction with this model?
Stitch Fix in 3 steps: customers feed in their data, Stitch Fix sends them clothes based on the data, they choose and return the rest. Via Stitch Fix.
Stitch Fix uses data from multiple sources. During signup, the company collects customer data including
Stitch Fix also gathers data about shoppers’ lifestyles using:
With data, they can align their offerings to each buyer’s fashion needs.
Another strategy that has helped Stitch Fix achieve success is customer feedback. Stitch Fix gathers data from customer purchases and returns.
The company then uses the data they gather to achieve two things:
After every purchase or return, the company requests feedback from shoppers using surveys. With survey data, the company can identify opportunities for improved personalization experiences. Stitch Fix’s customers provide feedback because they see results and enjoy their shopping experiences.
The company employs a team of talented stylists and experienced data experts. And the team works together to analyze customer preferences and make recommendations.
Relying on accurate customer data, Stitch Fix has enjoyed massive success with hyper personalization. The fashion brand grew its customer base to 2.2 million in July 2017 and was already enjoying a 103 percent CAGR in 2014.
The company has automated its critical processes, from inventory to customer feedback. By combining AI-powered data with human experience and judgment, Stitch Fix
Look at the brand’s performance against its competitors:
Stitch Fix has better customer retention than competitors, Trunk Club and Gilt Groupe. Via Goodwater Thesis.
The company had a high customer retention rate of 30 percent within the first six months. The graph above shows a higher customer lifetime value as compared to competitors in that space.
Collect as much data as possible from multiple sources. Stitch Fix’s customers provide more than 85 data points on their profile.
Get expert hands to help you utilize the data. Let your team make decisions from their place of expertise using the data you collect. Stitch Fix’s stylists make design and stylistic decisions, and their data scientists make other high-level decisions from their data.
WES shows the benefits of its digital badge to both individual users and employers. Via WES.
World Education Service (WES) offers credential evaluation and verification badges for users. The WES badge confirms that WES has evaluated and verified your educational credentials. It also affirms that the credentials were awarded by a recognized institution.
WES encourages its clients to use their digital badges in their email signatures, digital resumes, and social profiles.
If your business provides authentication, awards, recognition, or verification services, then you can offer digital badges. Think of
Any business or organization that awards some recognition can use this hyper personalization idea.
WES evaluates professional credentials. It authenticates academic and professional records for use in North American institutions. Via WES.
Organizations can use digital badges to drive sales and customer engagement. A study by IBM revealed that digital badges increased sales and downloads in an online training site by 64 percent.
WES digital badges drive value for both individuals and businesses. According to one user, Kunle Ifesanya, WES credential evaluations helped him achieve his professional goals.
Digital badge motivates employees and customers to develop vital skills. Also, users can build expertise to meet dynamic market demands.
The benefits of using digital badges:
Staff and associates can also use digital badges. This can help brands:
An attractive email signature can give you the perfect first impression you need to connect to your customers. To ensure consistency across your company, you can use a free tool like WiseStamp’s signature editor to get a professional email signature.
Naked Wine uses hyper personalization to bring winemakers and buyers together. They aim to create unique experiences for each buyer. Via Naked Wine.
Naked Wines is an online wine community and e-commerce store for selling wine. The platform supports and provides funds for winemakers. The company uses a unique hyper personalization strategy to drive sales and customer retention.
Naked Wine shows customers wines they’ve bought and encourages them to leave their reviews. Via Naked Wine. Via Naked Wine.
They have partners called Angels who crowdfund to support independent winemakers. In exchange, they get,
Naked Wines relies on customer reviews to personalize wine tasting and buying experience.
Naked Wine uses each customers’ reviews to inform their recommendation engine. Customers see wine suggestions that they’ll want to buy. Via Naked Wine.
When customers buy wines, the company asks them to rate the wine. Shoppers can give a thumbs up or thumbs down. Also, they can leave detailed reviews about the wine.
When you rate wines you drink, Naked Wine uses that data to recommend other wines they think you will love to drink. You will find other recommended wines under your profile. The review and recommendation help the winemakers improve their products.
Naked Wine also uses customer feedback and transaction data to personalize emails. You will receive product offers and messages tailored to your preferences and budget.
Adestra used data from Naked Wine’s customer purchase history to build a hyper personalized email campaign for Natked Wine. Via Naked Wine.
Naked Wines’ hyper personalization revolves around using data effectively to achieve results. The review-based hyper personalization approach helped Naked Wines
The numbers speak for itself. Naked Wines works with more than 197 independent winemakers in 17 countries. The company has a loyal and growing customer base across its three markets- US, UK, and Australia.
Naked Wines has enjoyed 14 percent sales growth in 2020, so far. Also, the company amassed a 14.7 percent consumer contribution growth.
Adestra, Naked Wine’s campaign coordinators, said after Naked Wine plugged in their customer data to their email to create custom wine recommendations these happened:
You’ll agree that’s a lot of conversions there.
Naked Wines teaches us to connect our data. You can use your review and customer purchase data to offer personalized experiences that your customers will vote for with their money. Bring everything together through your strongest customer or client communication channels; Naked Wine’s strongest channel was email.
Vi uses hyper personalization to help its users commit to their fitness goals. Via Vi.
Vi is a digital fitness training app and virtual running coach. The app motivates users to run more often. Also, it offers a personalized training plan to help you achieve your fitness goals.
Their hyper personalization strategy encourages customers to engage in daily exercise and fitness programs. Vi combines AI and real-time tracking to personalize their users’ fitness activities.
Users can choose from a variety of running workouts. They’ll have access to a level by level training plan. Via Vi.
When you register on Vi, the tool collects personal data and your fitness goals. With this data, the app provides virtual coaching as you run.
Additionally, users can get
The app tracks the user’s speed, distance, heart-rate to personalize their exercise recommendations. Users can join a running community, race virtually, and compete with other members.
hyper personalization worked for Vi as users describe their experience as fun and enjoy committing long term to using the service. Via Vi.
Vi’s hyper personalization strategy has yielded positive results. And here’s why it works.
Customers want to enjoy that personalized experience with your brand. With real-time data, Vi targets runners with messages about their activities and performance.
Delivering the right messages at the right place and time has helped Vi
The company has a large community of runners. Plus, the app has garnered positive reviews among users and helped users run over a million miles.
Vi users start with setting a goal. This helps them align their hyper personalization efforts to what the user already seeks to accomplish. Via Vi.
Drawing insight from performance and giving your users feedback can help boost their engagement. Real-time feedback can be effective for instantaneous customer engagement.
Moreover, you can rely on data to draw insights from how to offer better experiences. Specifically, Vi showed how you could use personalization to achieve these goals:
In setting up hyper personalization, it’s ideal to start at the homepage, because the moment a visitor lands on your homepage, they immediately come up with a first impression. The idea here is to adjust the visible content that your visitors see so that it mirrors where they currently are at the sales funnel.
Shoeline is an online store that personalizes its homepage banners to show products that returning visitors found interesting the first time they visited. I tried it out myself, and navigated to the women’s section the first time. Returning the second time, I was greeted with a banner image of the types of footwear I previously looked at.
[NB: Sephora’s Beauty Insider customer loyalty program, Beauty Insiders, also makes use of personalisation o
Search bars appearing at the very top of the search engines have become commonplace nowadays. It lets your customers enter search terms to conveniently locate what they’re looking for. It’s very hassle-free, and it’s highly appreciated.
But you can’t just stop here. You can take it up a notch by including personalized site search, and these results will reflect previous search history and their unique buying behavior.
So, let’s say for instance that you run an online store that sells footwear for both men and women — both have made purchased something at some point. The next time they enter the term ‘sneakers’ into your search bar, the male would be directed to the section of men’s footwear the same way the women would be directed to women’s shoes.
Image Credit: Evergage
Take your current weather into account. This is especially easier if your e-commerce store’s target is primarily local. But you can also have it in a wider scale. And this tactic of hyper personalization comes especially handy to clothing stores.
A good example of this is featuring weather-specific products on the homepage. So, let’s say for instance that it’s mid-April, and your store’s nationwide coverage caters to customers living in states like Phoenix and Virginia.
Both states are perfect examples of states that different weather patterns in April. As most people know, Phoenix is a state that’s mainly warm, while Virginia in Spring is slightly chilly.
For someone visiting your website in Phoenix, your online store can showcase clothes fit for warmer weather. Similarly, for the visitor from Virginia, the e-commerce platform can show outfits which are great for chilly temperatures.
A good example of this was an online clothing store — Very.
Image Credit: Internet Retailing
Perhaps one of the most common types of target audience-based segmentation that is easy and is unquestionably effective, along with appealing to the local audiences better.
How your site can do this is through cookies and by taking a peek at your customers’ IP address. In response, you can adjust the type of products or services you feature based off of a visitor’s state, city, country, etc.
Personalized email marketing is 6 times more effective than bulk emails at lifting transaction rates and revenue-per-email.
Email is a critical piece of any ecommerce marketing strategy that helps convert browsers into buyers. Sending personalized emails to visitors keeps you on top of your visitor’s minds, making them more likely to convert.
Here’s an awesome example of a personalized email by ModCloth. They sent me an email reminding me about a dress I’d added to my shopping cart:
Referrals from friends are trusted by 92% of consumers over all other forms of advertising.
Referral programs– such as those provided by our friends at ReferralCandy– allow customers make recommendations to friends and family, inviting them to sign up or buy products. Here, both the customer and their referrals receive either a discount or some sort of a reward. A sweet deal for everyone.
Receiving a discount from a friend or family member is a lot more personal than receiving yet another ‘Mega Sale’ email and this is how referral programs can establish a human connection.
An example of what a referral link might look like.
I’m sure you can think of or encountered more than a few online stores that make use of this. Whenever you visit the e-commerce site, you’re welcomed with a list of recommended products. And these recommended products are based off of visitor’s previous visits, views, and purchases.
This is one of the best ways of segmenting online customers because you’re actually guiding them through the buying process. It’s a great way of encouraging a customer that’s expressed an interest in a particular type of product or service before. After all, if they’ve already expressed their interest in one product before, then they’ll likely appreciate the recommendations as long as they’re relevant.
There are two main ways that you can go about accomplishing product recommendations on your website.
It’s inevitable that there will be one particular customer who spends a good amount of time looking through products in an e-commerce store, but they won’t actually purchase anything. Some people like to window shop, but that doesn’t entirely mean that they’re a lost cause. You can improve their online store experience by offering your help.
You can send reminders or follow-up emails to them about the items they’ve spent long minutes viewing. This lets pick up right where they left off.
It’s a retargeting tactic that serves as a subtle reminder to visitors to take the final step and purchase that item they’ve been mooning for a long time now. Of course, it’s not a guaranteed tactic, and it won’t work every single time, but it does influence a percentage of your visitors to go right ahead and complete their purchases.
Asos, like Shoeline, does a good job with this. Returning to the website a second time will automatically redirect you to the category or the page you were last looking at.
A classic way of getting people to purchase products is to offer promos, sales, and exclusive discounts. Applied to your own personal shopping experiences, who doesn’t love a discount? It’s a time-honored strategy that will never get old.
But why stop at offering discounts over site-wide purchases? You can hyper personalize a customers’ journey even further by adding category-specific discounts to your e-commerce store.
Recommendations done by other customers are powerful. Customers trust the opinion of their peers, and even value a customer recommendation from a stranger who bought the same product rather than the owner of the store themselves. Products purchased more than others can influence buyer decisions to jump into the bandwagon and see what they’re missing out on.
Rather than include your store’s overall best sellers, narrow the showcased products down to specific categories.
Thanks to technology, we now have fantastic opportunities to make significant improvements on our e-commerce stores.
So how do you succeed at your hyper-personalization tactics?
The principles that revolve around hyper-personalization are simple. Segmenting your target audiences and personalizing the e-commerce experience generates happy and more content customers.
Think about the fact that our world is a busy place, and some people are too busy to spend time manually sorting through a list of products and services, while trying to find good deals for every single item they decide to purchase.
Hyper-personalization is the desired future. In fact, 86% of marketing professionals acknowledge the positive effect of hyper-personalization strategies powered by AI. And 31% consider this shift in personalization welcome and significant.
So here’s the good news. Hyper-personalization really does work! All it takes is effort, rigorous data collection, and effective strategy implementation.