It’s Getting Personal

Treating customers like individuals is the core of successful personalized customer experiences.

Personalized customer experiences are becoming the norm in entertainment and online shopping. We’re also coming off a year of shutdowns and limited opportunities to physically gather, so people are craving one on-one relationships. This could be a great recipe for the direct selling industry driven by personal relationships. As HubSpot explains it, “One of the fundamental purposes of any personalization effort is to let your customers know that you’re paying attention to them.”

According to research from Salesforce, 75 percent of consumers expect businesses they purchase from to provide personalized experiences, anticipate their individual needs, and provide relevant suggestions. Other research showed that 57 percent of online buyers happily exchange personal data for more personalized offers and discounts. A digital consulting firm Infosys report found that more than 31 percent of consumers surveyed wanted a more personalized experience.

“The level of success from a one-to-one personalization campaign relies on a number of factors, such as the level of trust the consumer feels with the brand, the accuracy of the campaign, and how personalized messages are delivered (and even the platform they’re delivered on),” describes AB Testy, an online customer experience company.

Customer Personalization Trends Sharply on the Rise

n Shopping Navigation / Personalized shopping navigation doesn’t have to require a ton of data gathering or intricate coding. Many clothing retailers ask website visitors if they are interested in men’s or women’s clothing. It creates a more relevant experience that becomes more intuitive at each step through the navigation. Data exchange or logging into a customer account can create a much more customized experience and save information for future visits.

  •  Recommended Products / The vast majority of product recommendations are based on searches, past purchases, and similar or complementary products other customers have bought. Recommending products works so well with direct selling companies since so many products and packs are designed to work together for a more complete experience, such as weight loss and energy products. It can also help customers save by combining products or purchasing packs.
  • Making Customers Feel Like Individuals / It’s about creating a relationship with customers and making them feel special. Customizing product recommendations based on a customer’s age, gender, location, personal preferences and goals increases sales and helps create targeted marketing content. Makeup style recommendations, workout tips, and advice on how to improve your focus are just a few examples of ways to personalize communication to help retention and connect with customers.  Custom clothing retailer StitchFix uses more than a thousand personal stylists who leverage user profiles to offer expert style recommendations. Wellness company Care/of has users take a short quiz to help personalize health needs. Product recommendations change as users achieve certain health goals, which can be tracked on the website or through an app.
  • Personalized Lead Generation / Many replicated distributor websites in the direct selling industry feature some type of lead capture feature such as embedded opt-in forms, pop-ups or contact forms. Asking a visitor for more information such as email, phone number, location and reason for visiting can help build a more targeted profile, personalized communication and accurate product recommendation. Website visitors can be reluctant to give more personal info unless they understand what they will receive in return, such as a first-order discount or free samples.
  • Personal Customer Stories / Testimonials and success stories set the direct sales industry apart from a traditional retail experience. They help create culture and communicate a more personal message that connects at a deeper level than regular marketing and advertising. Creating an online space for customers to share photos and short videos allows them to help shape the company and culture along with distributors. Based on the topic in the content, specific photos or videos can be shared with other customers who might be interested in those topics. The content can also be repurposed for future marketing efforts if customers give permission.
  • Gender-based Email Segmentation / Sports apparel giant Adidas sends gender-based emails announcing sales and recommendations. Even if a certain product can fit men or women, it might help each gender achieve a different desired goal, and that can be communicated with unique messages to men and women. For example, men might be more interested in having more energy in the afternoon, while women may want to curb appetite. One product can offer both solutions, but those benefits can be marketed differently or separately.
  • Gamified Apps / Shopping through apps is becoming more mainstream, especially for routine products such as coffee and groceries. Some apps now feature gamification to enhance the customer experience that rewards points for purchases. Badges are earned for certain purchase levels or frequencies. Points can be cashed in for free items or can be gifted to other customers.
  • Personalized Video Messages / A CloudChoice study showed that personalized video messages increased productivity twice as much as impersonalized videos. This could apply to customers or distributors. Taking the time to create short, personalized video messages can be a great way to welcome new distributors or congratulate them for reaching a specific milestone. They can be sent to customers who reach personal goals by using products or to those who refer other customers. Video messages can be posted on social media platforms, in chat apps or linked in emails.