Personalisation essential for cycle ecommerce. You know all that talk about ‘Big Data,’ ‘cookies,’ ‘re-targeting,’ ‘predictive technologies,’ and other such Orwellian techno-jumbo? It’s like diversified investment portfolios, electricity storage technology, and 40-30-30 diet regimes; you’re sure it’d be good for you, but it’s all a bit above your head, and it’s not like you haven’t already got enough on your plate to manage as a retailer.
When it gets down to brass tacks, though, most of these big and spooky technologies are about achieving two holy grails of sales and marketing: Customer Profiling & Personalised Messaging (i.e. targeted sales).
But. Firstly, we assume you’ve got some sort of Retail Management System (RMS) software on your shop computer, on which you manage your daily inventory, transactions, job tasking, accounts, and customer records.We are also going to assume that you’re dabbling in some form of social media and EDM (‘electronic direct mail’) customer communication and marketing. We also going to assume that you maintain a reasonably robust, complete, and up-to-date Customer Relationship Management software (CRM).
If you don’t, or what you do have is a dog’s breakfast, STOP READING THIS ARTICLE RIGHT NOW! Because the rest of it will be pointless and unusable until you get this critical aspect of your data management in place and up to speed. Get your CRM up to date with at least a hundred fully populated and active customer record profiles before you then return to reading the rest of this article.
Customer profiling is essentially the task of creating a collated, defined image and makeup of your customer base (as well as the customer types you don’t have), and then further defining your base into a handful of typical ‘avatars’ (graphically depicted personas) or categories.
At a simple level, you would look at demographic data such as age, gender, postcode and occupation. For a more sophisticated profile, you would identify and include psychographic information such as personality types, personal preferences etc.
For the purposes of bicycle retail, there are numerous other markers you might wish to record; type of bikes, brands, values of bikes owned, club/bunch affiliations, indicated future purchases, etc.
Why bother? In a nutshell, customer profiling allows you to best target your communications, content, new product info and sales promotions, so that you enhance the likelihood your message will be better received and more likely acted upon. On the flip side, it equally means you’re much less likely to annoy your customers with inbox filler, disengaging social media posts, or wasted re-targeting ads.
You might have just received a new range of premium, Italian road bikes into the store. Thanks to the profiling data in your CRM, you’re able to target the 30-60-something, road riding, professionals and high spend individuals, with tailored messaging, imagery, language, and offers more likely to gain attention and sales response. The 55 year old woman who bought the £4000 e-bike from you last spring won’t have been excited by the news of the new road bike arrivals. She will, however, be thrilled to receive the invite to the test day of new e-bikes from your bike suppliers. As a result, she didn’t reclassify your emails as ‘spam’ — she didn’t dent your Facebook engagement rating by not clicking liking, reading, sharing or responding, and she didn’t waste your re-targeted Google advertising spend by not clicking on the ad.
Most commonly, this simply involves using a customer’s name in the message or image, but could also be something more subtle, such as a known product preference or interest, the mentioning of the suburb they live in, the club they ride for, or a free coffee voucher from their favorite local café.
What’s the point? The point is, at the end of the day, we are selling and communicating to human beings — sentient beasts which seek out and respond to identification, acknowledgement, trust, personal relationship and connection. Personalised messaging plays on and to the fact we are human. Personalised messages will always garner more interest, engagement, and response.
I won’t quote a number here in terms of percentages. Basically because the uplift percentages quoted by all the various major digital marketing players vary quite wildly. What I can say with some confidence though is that the uplift numbers are significant. To the extent that your business is seriously missing out if it doesn’t utilize personalised messaging. Whilst none of the reputable marketers with vast amounts of hard, longitudinal data can agree on numbers; we’re not talking about 5-10% improvement in response. We’re talking about minimum 30% and as high as 80% uplift. That’s numbers even the most hardened Luddite can appreciate.
So, on the back of a well maintained, fully populated and regularly ‘cleaned’ CRM database, creating Customer Profiles and using Personalised Messages will bring improve the following aspects of your bike business:
- Customer Retention
- Customer Acquisition
- Customer Lifetime Value
- EDM Response Rates (most key data points)
- Social Media Engagement
- Sales Promotion Response
- Site Visits
- Footfall Counts
- Reputational Uplift
This Sounds Expensive and/or Complicated to Achieve
Truth is, you can (and companies do) spend an awful lot of money on software and expertise related to customer profiling, customer targeting and personalised messaging. There are some scary-clever CMS, Predicative Analytics, Segmentation (which is not personalisation) and Personalisation software currently available, which can aggregate data from social media activity, search engine data, spending behaviour, demographic info, geo-mapping and predicative/intuitive technologies; allowing suitably resourced companies and brands to almost know you better than you do. Software which can pretty much predict what you’re going to buy, or be willing to buy next (with a little nudge). Scarily clever.
Not Necessarily So
But, for the typical bike shop, that sort of investment is a tad over the top, if not tenable or affordable either. There are thankfully much simpler, more user friendly and affordable email marketing tools at your disposal. A quick Google search will provide you pages of email management software programs you can subscribe to, with varying levels of reliability, ease of use and price.
Common examples are Aweber, Getresponse, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, Active Campaign, Marketing 360, Hubspot, Pardot and too many others to mention. However one, and only one, easily installed as a plugin, can do the whole lot for you.
Run alongside your email software provider it is designed to do so, SwiftERM is 100% automatic – that’s zero human input whatsoever. It watches what each individual consumer buys and more importantly looks at. What they buy, what they don’t. What they respond to as well. the returns are phenomenal. with an average ROI of over 1500%. Starting from as little as £100 for databases size below 20k. A free trial to establish viability is offered, and there is no lock-in. SwiftERM are Microsoft Partners, and if you subscribe to Trustpilot product reviews, are the only company in the world authorised to include Product rating scores next to each selection. This services is offered permanently for free.