Offline data is not to be forgotten in the ecommerce world. Successful ecommerce personalization rests heavily on the insights gained from customer data, and it may surprise some to learn how much they can gain from gathering information outside of the internet.
By bringing your offline data back into the picture, it’s possible to strengthen online operations with the additional insights on consumer behaviors in the real world.
Customers are used to us collecting data online, and the recent GDPR changes have brought that into mainstream consciousness more than before.
Offline data, however, is somewhat of an untapped resource, almost left behind as technology has taken over.
When we consider just how dramatically consumer behavior varies from online shopping to offline, it’s clear just how much of an oversight it can be to discard this research.
3 Major Differences Between Online and Offline Shopping
Collecting more offline data can help companies refine their audience personas by giving them more insight on how to tailor their ecommerce personalization strategies to deliver better, more accurate service to their customer base.
There are a few key differences between shopping online and offline:
- People Are More Impatient Online
There are various studies that put the attention span of online users at somewhere between 3 and 10 seconds, which isn’t a lot of time for content creators to engage them.
In ecommerce, people have grown to expect a very streamlined service. Highlighting this is the incredible stat that 97 out of 100 visitors will leave your online store if the first product they see is unrelated to their search.
People don’t want to wait around for very long online – so grabbing their attention early and engaging them with related offers is crucial.
- People Value Customer Interaction Offline
Sometimes, people in physical stores like to be left alone. They just want to browse without the shop assistant hovering over them.
However, generally speaking, people who go shopping are open to interaction with employees and actually welcome advice and suggestions. It’s all part of the offline shopping experience. By comparison, online shoppers don’t like to be bombarded by ads or pop-ups that interrupt their experience, especially if they aren’t relevant.
Ecommerce personalization is key to ensure any such interruptions don’t hamper the experience, but instead, enhance it. With personalized product recommendations, users won’t be so quick to exit out of your online store or abandon their cart.
- Shopping Times Are Different
Before online shopping became popular, most people went shopping at predictable times – usually Saturdays or late evenings after work. When it comes to shopping times, online shoppers act a little differently, with a report indicating Sunday night is the most popular time in the UK. Online consumers also tend to browse throughout the week, viewing products before closing deals at the weekend. Knowing what days and times people are likely to go shopping provides businesses with better guidance about when to run their promotional campaigns.
5 Ways Companies Can Use Offline Data
Retailers can take offline data and put it to good use in a number of ways.
From ecommerce to physical stores, technology can help companies leverage their insights on customers – both online and offline.
- In-Store Technology Reveals Offline Shopper’s Search Behaviors
The two worlds collide here, as digital display kiosks can engage customers, inviting them to browse the shop database – therefor learning from their search behaviors.
Technology like this helps to personalize the offline shopping experience, allowing brands to build more meaningful relationships with their customers.
Another way of collecting offline data in stores is through the use of beacons, which transmit marketing communications to user devices in close proximity.
Research shows that 71% of retailers can track and understand their customers’ buying patterns through the use of beacons.
- Click and Collect is a Sleek Way to Engage Offline Customers
92% of retail transactions happen offline, yet businesses only optimize for around 8% of those. Many miss out on this opportunity to gather offline data, as a lot of shoppers continue to use digital to research products while they are actually in a physical store.
Click and Collect services help to drive consumers to stores, offering a more convenient service for people who can’t wait around for deliveries. Not only will customers benefit from reducing wait times, but retailers can encourage more impulse sales.
- Store Apps – Don’t Miss Out
Another effective way to cater to customer use of digital in stores is to offer a stand-alone, shopping app. These apps can sync with beacons, delivering the latest offers and discounts.
Studies indicate that branded store apps can breed customer loyalty, as people who have downloaded retailer apps spend up to 30% more in the stores than those without the app.
Overall, they combine to deliver a more convenient service, which boosts customer satisfaction.
- Customer Reviews are the Social Proof You Need
92% of consumers will read online reviews during the buyer’s journey, with a large majority of them claiming that these testimonials help them trust a brand. Stores can display reviews on stands or send messages through beacons to help build that trust. After making sales, brands can reach out to the customers to get more feedback, continuing to build on the previous positive reviews and help create stronger social proof online.
- Use Offline Data to Enhance the Company Website
Silk and Cashmere specializes in the pure silk and pure cashmere products, claiming a unique position in the market as the only company in the world that focuses on blending these fibres for all their products. Over the years, they collected a vast reserve of offline data on customer preferences, behaviors, and shopping habits. They enlisted the help of Segmentify to incorporate this data into their website, using it to improve their ecommerce personalization. This streamlined processes – saving the company time and money. Moreover, it enhanced the customer’s online shopping experience, which was reflected in a significant boost in conversions.
Customer Needs Remain the Same
Whether it’s online customer data or offline data, the basic principles remain unchanged. Consumers will always be attracted to the same key aspects in the shopping experience:
- Location – products must be accessible
- Convenience – it should be easy to find products and possible to complete purchases quickly
- Knowledge – customers want to get insider information and expertise from the brands
- Inviting – stores must be visual pleasing and conducive to a pleasant shopping experience
- Price – the prices must reflect the perceived value of the products
Ultimately, retailers who can combine offline data and online insights will be able to improve their ecommerce personalization to deliver a better user experience, which nurtures brand loyalty and drives conversions.