As technology becomes even more commonplace and we trend toward fewer face-to-face interactions, the world becomes a little less personal. However, personalizing your website, app, or customer interactions is one way of meeting user needs and improving the overall user experience (UX) on your site.
About 90 percent of people surveyed said they found personalized content appealing. In order to create personalized content, you must first figure out who your user is, which naturally leads to more user-centric design choices. Customers respond to personalization, with around 91 percent indicating they’re more likely to shop with a brand that sends them offers that are relevant to their needs and interests.
From a wider standpoint, personalization makes sense. But just what is it about the exclusivity of an experience designed just for that person that makes it so appealing? Here are seven reasons why personalization improves the usability of your website:
1. Reduce Friction
Friction is created by those things that trip up your user and make them wonder if they really want to make a purchase. This can come in many different forms, from the customer in a brick-and-mortar store who sees a long checkout line to the online user who runs into a 404 error on your site.
When you create a more personalized experience, you automatically reduce friction for that user persona. The ways of lessening friction are varied, but the focus on smoothening the UX creates the possibility for successful interaction with your company.
2. Retain More Customers
Around 33 percent of customers who abandon dealings with a business do so because they are just another face in the crowd. A lack of personalization makes your audience feel you don’t care about their needs and only want to make a profit from them. Adding even small personal touches can make the difference to those who are on the fence about whether or not to leave your company and buy from another.
3. Gain New Contacts
Creating a personalized experience gives you free marketing as others see your brand through the eyes of those who purchased from you. Think about brands such as Coca-Cola or sports teams. Their fans wear their branded merchandise, which promotes them to others who have any type of interaction with that person.
Personalized packaging is another way to add to the experience. Sending an order through the mail suddenly becomes a way of marketing your brand to others as the package passes through multiple hands on its way to the customer.
4. Offer What Customers Want
The last time you went to Starbucks, you probably asked for whipped cream or perhaps a sprinkle of seasoning or dash of syrup. The ability to create a one-of-a-kind product suited to your exact tastes is part of what made the coffee company what it is today. If your brand offers a custom solution, your customers have no reason to seek out any competitors.
5. Increase Return on Investment
If you want to take your brand to the next level, increasing your return on investment (ROI) is one of the fastest ways to improve profitability. Brands that personalize their shopping experiences see as much as three times the ROI. Even the checkout process on a website should be personalized for improved results.
6. Create a Positive Brand Image
The last thing you want is a brand people see as impersonal or uncaring. With personalization, you can show consumers that you understand where they’re coming from and that you care about them. Embrace the causes they embrace and reach out on special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. The level of personalization is up to you, but the more specific you are, the more users will feel a connection to your company.
7. Improve Future Communication
Creating a personalized experience requires gathering key facts about your audience. This information then allows you to further improve future communications with your customers. Over time, the goal is to create more and more individualized communication with each person.
Some stores already offer this via apps. One example is a gas station that tracks your purchases and sends you special offers, such as “buy one get one free” on your favorite candy bar or a few extra cents off per gallon of gas. Because the company tracked past behaviors, they can predict your future behavior and encourage it.
In order to create a customized experience for your users, you’ll need to dig deep into the research of who your customers are and what they want. With a little effort and some trial and error, your brand will stand out as one that meets customer needs and consumers turn to over and over. Give them zero reasons to leave and go to your competition, so you can retain the customers you have while finding new ones via positive referrals.