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Digital Merchandising 101 - Part 3

Knowing your customers

· customer analytics,Retail,Merchandising,Customer service

You can't build a great digital merchandising strategy if you don't know your customers. In the final series of our blog, we focus on how you can track, identify and incentivise your customers to deliver a great shopping experience on your site.

1. Make the most of your data

Tracking your customers step-by-step on your online store allows you to get valuable insights about your customers so that you can deliver better experiences. It will help you to map out different customer journey and learn the factors influencing a purchase. Looking at the source of your traffic, their geography, search queries etc will help you build customer profiles essential for segmentation or personalisation. 

The easiest place to start are tools such as google analytics or kissmetrics but few are able to show a 360-degree view on the customers, based not only on what they’re buying then and there, but also on what they’re doing on other eCommerce sites. This is where See Fashion’s Intelligence dashboard can help. You can find out more about how we look at cross-site purchase and search history, fashion related social media interactions to identify missed opportunities with your inventory.

2. Identify your repeat customers...

Almost 30% of total revenue for online fashion retail comes from returning customers. So it is essential that you identify and nurture your loyal customer base. Find out what is driving customer loyalty for your brand so that you can (a) increase their lifetime value (LTV) and (b) find more customers like them! 

One way to do this is by offering personalised incentives such as reward programmes, discounts, VIP opportunities etc. For example, fabletics offers special discounts to those who are on their VIP programme. Track the engagement rates for each loyalty scheme to find what works and what doesn’t for each customer profile i.e some might be attracted to an easier delivery experience while others are motivated by discounts. These schemes will also help you build more detailed lists about your customers, so you can anticipate their needs better so that they keep returning to your store.

3. ...then make them your brand advocates

Your existing customers are more powerful than any marketing campaign in converting new traffic. Gather as much feedback from them via surveys or use social listening tools such as Sprout Social or Hootsuite to find what they are saying about you and incentivise them to become brand ambassadors or affiliates. One great channel for building brand advocates is Instagram. Follow users that follow you, and engage with the content they share. Reward the people who stand out in your community with exclusive products or 'shout outs'. You can download our guide on building your instagram community here.

You can also build viral campaigns using tools like Maitre that will allow you to reward users who recommend new customers to your store. For example, Misguided offers further £5 off when you get another friend to purchase an item on their store via their referral code. 

4. Deliver great customer service 

As we mentioned earlier, getting new customers is expensive. It costs seven times more to attract new customers than to retain existing customers. Providing excellent customer service is another crucial asset in growing your customer's life time value but making you more attractive to first-time visitors. In fact, for 30% of shoppers it can be the deciding factor in a first-time purchase. Even without face-to-face interaction, there are so many ways to offer exceptional service online. Use chatbots and live customer feedback portals such as Zendesk to offer assistance at any point of a customer journey. Social media can also double up as another customer service portal, such as facebook messenger. According to Bain & Company, answering customer requests on social can increase order values by 20-40%.

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