Will online shopping ever replace real offline shopping? Will brick-and-mortar stores disappear at some point and be replaced by electronic ones?
Maybe it’s impossible to make such forecasts, but we can be certain about something else: online shopping will become more and more personalized, easier, and preferred. For the consumers shopping over the Internet, it will be more and more pleasant and easier to shop from their living room or their office. Shopping through a mobile device – a tablet or a smartphone – is also more than convenient with the new mobile applications and solutions.
The possibilities of electronic commerce are endless – there is a variety of electronic store platforms, kinds of promotions, price ranges, models and brand products, marketing activities… The consumers are the ones who benefit the most from all this because not a small number of online retailers are “fighting” over them and trying everything to attract them to become their customers.
How can online retailers increase their regular customers and the amounts they spend? The truth is shopping is becoming more and more personalized, which is something the customers like and it also helps the retailers.
What does personalized shopping mean? When it is in use, all the consumers in front of their computers see different things at the same time and on the same website or online store. The web platforms have ways for learning a lot about every customer and they take advantage of this information very well.
Indirect information about the customers of a given electronic store or the visitors of a specific website is received through:
- tracking previous purchases of the customers,
- tracking their location,
- watching their activities on social media and networks.
The consumer attitudes are calculated using complex algorithms which process multiple data sets and give as their results suggestions what would the consumers like.
The direct information is given directly by the customers in polls and surveys performed by the companies.
As a rule, personalization is well concealed – the customers or the visitors don’t know that the online stores and the websites they visit show them information, offers, or promotions, chosen especially for them.
Why is personalized shopping important for customers? The answer to this question is actually quite easy – thanks to personalized shopping the almost endless search for something specific in the online catalog is no longer an issue. If during previous shopping visits a certain customer has shown their interest towards a certain type of products (by viewing them, adding them to a list of “favorites” or purchasing them), during the next visit to this online store the customer will see the same products and similar or related to the products will be prioritized for the customer and he will see them first. Thus the retailer responds to a specific interest and needs and at the same time manages to save his client’s time.
In many cases if we are looking for something on a website and we don’t find it with our first few clicks, we lose interest and give up – we postpone it for another time or we enter the websites of the competitors. That’s why personalization is useful – not just for the customers, but for the retailers too.
After all, this being said we have one very important recommendation for the online vendors – be careful not to go overboard with the personalization and become annoying to your customers! Keep their personal space in mind. Don’t provoke them to think that you are tracking and manipulating them. You will not only fail to gain anything this way but there is a real chance for you to lose. Be moderate in everything!