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Want personal data about your customers? Just ask!

The better you know your market, the easier it will be to create customers. Fortunately, most people are willing to introduce themselves.

The Internet has given companies unprecedented opportunities.

One of the best, without a doubt, is ecommerce personalization. The more you can treat consumers like individuals, the more customers you’ll have. The more loyal they’ll be, too.

This is why getting to know the consumers in your market should be one of your company’s top priorities. Treat it as seriously as you would any sales target, and you’ll quickly find that those sales targets become much easier to hit.

if you want data ask for it

Consumers Want to Give Your Company Information

Too often, companies act as though finding out about the consumers within their markets is some herculean challenge. They may even invest in shady tactics to extract their personal information.

Yet, according to Accenture, 75% of people are more likely to spend money with a company that does one of the following:

  • Knows their purchase history
  • Makes recommendations based on past purchases
  • Recognizes them by name

And if you can do all three, your chances of winning their business improve even more.

The Information Consumers Are Willing to Hand Over

According to a report prepared by IBM, the information consumers will voluntarily provide companies is fairly significant. Of the more than 30,000 people they interviewed from all over the world:

  • 32% will share their social media accounts
  • 36% will share their GPS location (that number doubled from the year before)
  • 38% will provide their phone number knowing it will be used to receive text messages

The potential for using that kind of information is absolutely huge. Aside from the obvious ecommerce personalization opportunities it provides, this data would provide most companies with buyer profiles far more accurate than the ones they’ve ever used before.

The Secret to Collecting Your Customers’ Information

There is no shortage of ways you can attempt to collect your consumers’ information.

Many companies that have invested in ecommerce personalization simply track what users do and purchase. They then use this information to tailor their site’s behavior, make product recommendations, etc.

Others simply ask for it. They provide their users with surveys or they may offer special deals in exchange for relevant information.

However, the most important part of requesting this information is that you convince the user that it’s for their benefit. Obviously, they know that you want it for a reason. But if the only reason they hand it over is for some short-term benefit (e.g. in exchange for an eBook they want or a coupon), don’t expect much enthusiasm from them in the future.

Instead, there must be a clear connection between how you’ll use their data and how it will benefit them. 86% of customers spend more when they get a better experience – not a better product – in exchange.

Furthermore, by 2020, customer experience will outrank products and price in terms of brand differentiators.

So as long as consumers trust that you’re putting their information to good use (i.e. to help them), most will have no problem volunteering it.

5 Ways to Reward Customers for Giving You Their Personal Information

With that in mind, let’s now focus on how you can reward consumers for providing you with such valuable information.

Remember, aside from the fact that this information should lead to greater profits, the improved experience you’re able to provide them should also help keep this data away from your competitors. After all, if they’re giving it to you and you make them happy in exchange, they shouldn’t have much reason to share this valuable information with the competition.

You literally have everything to gain by using this information to improve your company’s ecommerce personalization.

1. Leverage Retargeting Ads

If you thought it was odd that consumers were so willing to hand over their information, you’ll probably find it even odder that they don’t mind if you use it to create better ads for them.

The results of a survey done by the Digital Advertising Alliance showed that nearly 70% of consumers would prefer at least some ads that have been tailored based on their interest. In other words, if you’re not using retargeting ads already, most of your consumers probably won’t mind if you start.

2. Provide Personalized Product Recommendations

This may seem like an obvious option, but it’s worth bringing up because too many companies miss the target here.

Product recommendations should make your customers’ lives easier. They shouldn’t serve to simply tempt them into making impulse purchases.

For example, think about a parent who has a young child. He’s a boy. He’s three. He’s a size 3T. He lives in North Dakota. His favorite color is blue.

Like all parents, the one in this scenario is busy. They have a million things to do.

You could do this parent a real service if, in the fall, you sent them some options for winter clothing that fit him and come in his favorite color. This would save that parent a lot of time shopping for something they’ll absolutely need when winter comes.

That’s providing value.

Using this information to get rid of old inventory like swimsuits and board shorts in October would be a great way to convince the parent to unsubscribe from your email blasts.

3. Leverage Omnichannel Marketing

If you have a retail location, you can use your customers’ personal information in much the same way. This time, though, once they check in, your salespeople can be provided with this kind of personal data. The customer no longer has to go through the normal back-and-forth to explain their needs.

Better still, the customer can opt to send the store a notification to let them know they’ll be in soon, giving your salespeople time to put together some customized recommendations.

This kind of thing may sound like science fiction, but it’s already happening and consumers want more of it. By 2020, more than half of them expect businesses to anticipate their needs and make appropriate recommendations across every touchpoint.

4. Improve Social Media Content

The standard advice given to most companies about social media involves some combination of the following:

  • Check what your competitors are doing
  • Eventually, your market will tell you what’s working
  • You just need to experiment

Now, to be sure, social media marketing involves a bit of experimentation. And, yes, you should definitely monitor engagement from your audience for help deciding what and when to post.

But if your customers are willing to give you their social media accounts, you can do much better.

For one thing, you can reach out to any of them who aren’t already following you with a friendly reminder that you have an account and that it regularly posts notifications about upcoming sales and promotions.

You’ll also know where your customers are from. This should affect when you decide to post to ensure it has the best chance of getting seen.

If you find out that a large number of your followers are in an entirely different country, you may want to set up a separate account just for them. They’ll definitely appreciate the special attention (especially if you post in their native language) and you can schedule posts to match their time zone.

5. Create Better Marketing Personas

Leveraging marketing personas makes websites 2 to 5 times more effective and user-friendly for targeted users. It can also go a long way toward helping you create more relevant content on your site, as well.

This also means setting up your marketing plan so it doesn’t attract those who are simply not in your market and will never become customers. That means a higher conversion rate and lower bounce rate, two things that will improve your ROI.

Just Ask – But Then Deliver

It’s worth reiterating that if you want to boost your customer engagement in ecommerce, all you have to do is ask for it because customers are equally excited about the potential results.

However, then you really need to deliver. Gain a reputation for top-notch ecommerce personalization and consumers will be lining up to give you their information (and walking away from competitors). That’s an advantage that will pay for itself countless times over.

By Content Partner

This article is contributed by a Smart Insights Content Partner. To find out how you can become a regular contributor and share your knowledge and experience with our readers, please see our Content Partnership options.

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