Essential tips for giving your E-Commerce store the personal touch

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Shopping online has made a significant difference to the way we live – no longer do we need to find some time out of our busy schedules to go to a store, perhaps miles away from anywhere we’d usually be, to buy the things we need. If you want a garden shovel by the end of today, you can probably get it delivered. Run out of multivitamins? They can be with you in 24 hours. You name it, there’s an online shopping source for it.

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If there is one complaint that people have about online shopping, it’s that the experience can feel somewhat sterile. You browse, you click, you fill in a form and then you wait to receive a knock from a delivery driver. It doesn’t lend itself to a feeling of horizons being broadened – which, while it might not be something you associate with a trip to the local DIY store, is still something people feel is stripped away by E-Commerce from time to time. So if you’re getting an E-Commerce business on the road, it’s worth looking into how you can make your customer feel like a valued individual, not just some disembodied credit card details.

Make your online store more than just a store

Even with the advent of automated tills in supermarkets and curbside pick-ups, shopping in person has the advantage of making a person feel like they are interacting with the world beyond their front door. E-Commerce can never offer that physical experience, but your online store can still have a more personal, interactive feel. Hosting videos where you show how the products are made, how they are stored and how they are packed will remind the buyer that there are people on the other end of that digital connection, which feels a lot more personal than “browse-click-open-repeat”.

Tell your story

If you go to your local hardware store to buy some paint, the chances are that you know someone behind the counter, or you’ll bump into an old friend stacking the shelves. Not every physical shopping experience is like this, but we’ve all had the experience of catching up with someone as we run a daily errand. Putting a blog on your E-Commerce site is a way of introducing that human element into the process. You can keep the blog mostly about your area of business – alerting people to new lines you’re carrying, or explaining why you’ve made changes – but you can also bring in personal stuff, like a recent family development or a funny story, to bring some relatability to matters. Just remember to avoid politics.

Personalize the experience for the customer

It’s easy enough, using the right online store software, to remember a customer’s preferences and suggest products they might like. That’s certainly something you should do anyway. However, the experience can be personalized further – thank you notes with their first order, bespoke foil greeting cards on birthdays and other special occasions, and reminder emails when they’re due to run out of a product they have bought can help them feel like you’re treating them as an individual rather than just a customer number or a lead to be sold to.

Use your social channels well

There is a world of difference between “using” social media and “being active on” social media. If you want people to see your E-Commerce business as something more than just another online store, you’d be well advised to do the latter. It’s a bare minimum to have a few social media accounts, but you can spot a store that has them because they’re “supposed to” a mile off. Use social media engagingly – don’t just tweet out a new line and then retweet it six hours later. Write relevant tweets with a touch of humour. Create picture posts with informative captions that bring your products to life (and make them shoppable). Use social media as a social media user, not like a business that is forced to use it.

Feature your customers

It’s often said that word of mouth is the best kind of publicity for a business. That’s still true if the business is online. You can say anything about your products, and people will assume you’re just selling your service (because let’s face it, you are). However, if you offer a certain amount of store credit for each customer to post a short video review of an order they’ve received, then you’ll be able to show that satisfied customers are a standard where your business is concerned. Not only that, but if people can see the chance to post their review – and see reviews that others have posted – it won’t feel like staged marketing.

Ask what people would like to see from you

Of course, the business-customer relationship is somewhat transactional. After all, it literally involves money changing hands, so it would be naive to pretend that you’re all just friends having a good time. But you can show that you’re a business that listens to its customers by having regular surveys, posting blog posts that ask what customers are looking for, and even holding digital town hall meetings where you invite comments and suggestions. As much of an expert in your field as you may be, sometimes customers will have ideas that become hugely popular – and a business that only seems to transmit outwards without receiving feedback can end up making choices that alienate the customer.

Every business likes to say that it operates like a family. That’s become something of a cliche, and it’s often not true. What’s more, you don’t need to operate your business as a family – but if you listen to customers, let them see a little bit behind the curtain, and show that you are genuinely thankful for their contribution to your business, then you can end up seeing the rewards not just on your bottom line, but also in the way your business grows and takes people with it. That’s something that’s worth the small amount of groundwork laid out above.

Neha Bamba
Neha Bamba

An Educational Researcher at CareerTips4U with a decade long experience in providing information about various professional courses and training institutes all over India with an aim to help people to make the right career advice and grow professionally & personally.

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