I know my local banker by name. The folks at the local Mail Stop know me by voice. The baristas at Starbucks know my usual drink, and the cook at Five Guys knows I like my fries well done. There’s something to be said about “old-school” business practices. With everyone going digital, and in such a rush to get things done, don’t overlook key things that can make small business ecommerce really stand out – things that create a personal shopping experience.
Here are nine things you can do to personalize the shopping experience and gain loyal customers:
1. Show them what you look like. A photo of you and staff goes a long way. It makes people think they’re supporting not only a business, but people just like them. Be careful of your surroundings, though. You don’t want to post snapshots of you in a 69-foot yacht (unless you target those who can afford one, that is), but rather put yourself in common surroundings, like playing with your dog or sitting at your desk.
2. Write site content as if you’re having a conversation with them, rather than talking at them. You can include manufacturer descriptions, but you also want to personally tell someone why the products you sell are great. Avoid words that give the impression you are telling someone what to do.
3. Inspire them to communicate. Whether on a blog or a product page, invite shoppers to tell you what they think. On product pages, a simple line that asks, “Have questions about this product?” with a link to an email form, chat window or comment system.
4. Invite them to call. Your phone number should be in a prominent place on each page, inviting shoppers to call you with any additional questions.
5. Invite them to chat. An online chat tool can go a long way in both guiding the shopper and making them feel appreciated.
6. Share common interest stories and articles. Whether through a blog or social media, inject your personality and share non-business articles, posts and photos. Just don’t cross the line – customers don’t want to hear political rants and religious arguments.
7. Tell them who they are really supporting. Include profile information on an About Us page, which not only says what you do at the company, but also your experience and your passions. People love to support people and families, especially on a local level.
8. Show how you give back. If you support a non-political or non-questionable charity or event, don’t be afraid to make it known. People like buying from companies who give back on local, national and even global levels.
9. Let them talk about it. If you’ve ever used Amazon’s customer-driven Q&A about a product, you know how useful it can be as a selling tool. Incorporating a comment system directly on product pages allows potential buyers to ask questions and others to provide answers. Of course you’ll want to be in on the discussion, too, but what better way to have other users show pictures of products in action than right where everyone is already learning about an item?
What steps have you taken to provide personalized service to your customers? I’d love to hear more ideas that work!