Consumers expect the stores that they shop in to remember them and offer a more personalized experience next time they visit, be it a physical business location or an online store. In the Internet retail business, personalization always equals speed, which so many Web users are all about. Your clients expect to get the information they need and find the product they want with a click of a mouse, so they can quickly move on to the next urgent task in their busy lives. If you run a WordPress store and haven’t customized your visitors’ shopping experience before, give it a try. With this approach, you are likely to increase customer satisfaction and retain more of your first-time buyers. The process is neither complicated nor expensive; you just need the right tools to do the job for you. The following techniques and plugins will help you get started.
1. Personalize Your Landing Page
First impression matters, and you want to make a great one. Not only should your landing page look professional, well-designed and secure, but it should also be personalized to your customers’ needs. And while it’s much easier to personalize the information for returning visitors, how do you do so for first-time buyers? You can’t really know what their tastes and shopping preferences are, but one thing you can do is use geo targeting technology to immediately customize your landing page based on their locations. You can greet the visitors in their languages and offer them products that are popular in the areas they come from.
Use a plugin like WP Greet Box to provide a customized greeting message, depending on which site the user came from. For example, if someone found your site through Facebook, you can say, “welcome, Facebook user.” Or you can greet a StumpleUpon visitor by saying, “we are glad you stumbled upon our website.” The plugin currently provides customized greetings for 30+ popular social media platforms and search engines.
You can further personalize your shoppers’ experience by installing a skin that lets you use several different landing pages. Marketers Delight 3 is one such option, working with Thesis 2.1 theme. It lets you use a drag-and-drop interface to create highly customized, great looking landing pages without any coding knowledge required. The skin is packed with other features, including pricing tables, email sign-up forms and more. Alternatively, you can create your custom landing pages manually, if you know CSS and PHP, or install a plugin to serve the same purpose. MaxInbound, Premise and Visual Composer are some great plugins that will help you achieve a lot of customization with your landing pages.
2. Customize Category and Product Detail Pages
Once your online store visitors start browsing certain categories and looking at specific products, you can use this process to further personalize their experience. For category personalization, you can showcase top products in the category or new arrivals. To customize these even more, mark them as “new arrivals you might be interested in.”
On individual product pages, give your buyers the ability to see several similar items, marked as “other products you may like” or “customers who bought this item also bought.” This technique has been successfully employed by many major online retailers. Think of how many times you shopped on Amazon and started browsing around when prompted to view the other products you might interested in. In addition, your product pages can display things like accessories that would go well with the products, which works well in case of clothes or jewelry, or products that would go well as a package with the original item, in case of books, CDs and DVDs, for example. An effective display method is to put alternative product suggestions to the right of the main item, and complementary products on the bottom of the page.
To employ these techniques in your WordPress store, look into plugins like LiftSuggest, which uses your site’s Google Analytics data to provide personalized recommendations for your shoppers. Better Related Posts is another option, allowing users to list relevant content next to custom posts. WordPress Simple Survey lets you set up a quick poll or quiz, based on the results of which you can direct the customers to a certain product category or page.
3. Personalize Checkout and Thank You Pages
By the time your customers reach checkout, you have had the opportunity to gather a lot of information about their shopping habits. Put that information to good use, but act strategically on the checkout stage, because you don’t really want anything distracting the buyer from placing the final purchase. You might be tempted to fill every checkout page with lots of related products, but try to avoid this. Two common strategies at this point are to either leave any recommendations out of the checkout process altogether, or place very small icons of related products, do it sparingly, and have them open in a new tab. Which method you choose is up to you, but it might be a good idea to experiment with different approaches and see what leads to less shopping cart abandonment.
The payment confirmation or thank you page, on the other hand, is where you can go all out with customization once again. Thank the customers by name, which you should have been doing from the very point when they registered or made their first purchase. List similar products that might interest them in the future, products that are coming soon, special offers and any other incentives that will encourage your customers to visit again. Again, most of WP e-commerce plugins come with the feature. You can use large, centrally placed images of products here, utilize bright and vivid color schemes, and do everything else to grab attention before they close that tab. Continue using products that are relevant to the specific buyer based on his or her search and purchasing history on your site. This could be your last chance to make a memorable impression about your individual products and your online store as a whole, so make it count.