We’ve all read about how the pandemic fueled overall retail sales up by nearly 3.5%, largely thanks to online shopping and large ecommerce retailers. What we don’t hear much about is how few independent online retailers benefitted from the ecommerce boom. According to the NY Times, ten large retailers accounted for 68% of all U.S. e-commerce sales in 2020.
Independent online retailers face multiple operational, marketing, and technical challenges when it comes to carving out their piece of the ecommerce growth pie. Competing with large scale retailers is not only daunting but usually an expensive proposition. While there are a number of tech products and platforms that help support growth for independent businesses, the one key ingredient that sets a profitable business apart from a high growth business is relevant customer experiences.
Online shopping, by nature, is not as personal as shopping in person. In person, retailers are able to provide relevant experiences and recommendations to customers while they are shopping and most engaged. Few businesses are able to replicate the same experience online. When you personalize your customer’s experience, it pays off in better engagement rates, higher conversion rates, and increased customer loyalty and satisfaction. According to a 2020 Forrester report, 85% of customers would reward sellers who provide relevant personalization with increased lifetime value.
The recent surge in online shopping forced brands to find ways to use technology to personalize the online experience for each customer. Most ecommerce behemoths today have doubled their profitability by focusing on providing the most relevant offers, messages, products and experiences to customers on an individualized level, as they would in a brick-and-mortar location.
So how can independent retailers on platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce personalize their ecommerce business to unlock incremental revenue and engagement without making huge investments?