With more products available online than ever before, and the number of opportunities to buy things increasing exponentially, it’s no wonder that consumers sometimes have a hard time deciding which brand to pick.

With continued rising costs of living, and a 10th rate hike by the Reserve Bank of Australia in place, more Australian’s are in the mindset of bargain hunting, yet also wanting value for their money. 

According to a study conducted by customer engagement platform, Emarsys, we found that over one in five of Australian shoppers (23%) are overwhelmed by choice. When faced with this overload, 32% admit to ‘defaulting’ to their usual brand of choice, while 23% revert to the cheapest option available.  

So if brands really care about their customers and what their needs are, they need to make the effort to specify products that are right for them as individuals — not overload them with poor choices. From a CX perspective, that requires a customer journey that protects customers from the noise, proving that your brand understands every customer as an individual.

Pet Circle Australia does a great job at showing their new customers that they listen and understand by sending them communication that is personalised to them, such as ‘welcome’ emails and activation strategies. Through their first-time customer campaign, they saw a 12 per cent retention increase.

Committing to personalisation everywhere – from conversation channels like WhatsApp to the in-store experience – is now a basic expectation for many consumers. Failure to deliver will put them off.

So: what does that level of scalable personalisation look like? 

Make use of your data

The first step is to assess your knowledge of the customer. Consumers don’t want status-quo interactions with brands, and you can’t avoid that pitfall without personal understanding; you need a view of each customer that incorporates their unique attributes, behaviours and preferences based on data.

This is where first party data becomes crucial. Finding ways of getting customer data with their permission, such as getting their email so they can receive their receipts online and personalised offers from the brand are ways of adding to the overall CX.  

Turbulence over the last couple of years has left more people shopping from home, leading to a boom in e-commerce. This is a huge opportunity for brands to turn browsers into buyers, but retailers need to consider how to optimise online experiences or they’ll quickly lose potential customers. Research from McKinsey shows digital transformation with a focus on CX increases customer satisfaction by up to 30%, and boosts revenues by up to 50%.  

Making sure that your CX incorporates a robust, unintrusive means of data capture, from web page behaviour to product preference, is fundamental to delivering the one-of-a-kind experiences that evoke emotion and drive customer loyalty. It’s also the way to boost conversions through repeat purchases – and ensure that ‘choice paralysis’ is not standing in the way of purchasing decisions.

Centralise your tools

While data capture is a well-recognised fundamental for any serious ecommerce organisation these days, that data is still all too often fragmented into divergent data silos. According to data from eMarketer, 84% of CMOs think data collection, management, and analytics are key to success, but only 49% think they’re delivering on this.

This is due to martech stacks where important information gets walled off, blurring how marketers view their customers. It doesn’t help when organisations end up being segmented where sales, and analytics teams can’t offer – or access – a meaningfully comprehensive view of an individual customer if they’re not sharing data.

Thankfully, CIOs and CMOs are much savvier these days, and that has accelerated post-pandemic. Meetings with them now happens more frequently, and Emarsys is in a unique position to meet both their needs and support them by connecting the front and back office.

Being able to access all customer data in one platform offers everyone a clear view on the insights, from the same frame of reference. That makes it much more likely for different teams to be on the same page, cutting acquisition costs and maximising your CLTV by ensuring customers aren’t bombarded with options.

As 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system, it shows the 360 degree access to customer data, allowing for the best possible customer experience, increased order value, fewer returns, and improved lifetime value.

Personalising the experience

Once you’ve got data entering your system, centralised tools to manipulate it, and the infrastructure to properly democratise it, you have the foundations laid for powerful personalisation – the make-or-break factor separating successful brands from the under-achievers. You must use data-driven insights to optimise engagement, no matter your audience.

Research from Liveclicker suggests that almost 90% of retail marketers use personalisation, but only a few are using advanced tactics. They also found that companies using advanced personalisation saw a $20 return on every $1 of their budget invested

You need access to the right data covering previous purchases, customer preferences, and behaviour — with relevant content across all your touchpoints. That data-backed view of customers requires the right tech to streamline personalisation across any channel, enabling real-time web personalisation to suit the customer, as well as in-app personalisation to provide that consistent omnichannel experience.

With AI, brands will be able to move beyond the basics toward hyper-personalisation, where you’ll be able to automate CX across any channel, in real time. That means saying goodbye to ‘choice paralysis’ by offering specific product recommendations and loyalty incentives across web and mobile, delivered at just the right time. 

Be customer obsessed

The essence of a meaningful customer experience is centered around making customers feel valued. It’s not surprising that if your organization sees its audience merely as a statistic in a quarterly report, creating a meaningful CX becomes nothing but a distant dream. The result is generic and unremarkable content that fails to address the customers’ needs.

In the year 2023, being customer-centric alone is not enough for retailers. They need to be customer obsessed. This obsession needs to filter through every part of the organisation, and not just within the marketing team. Everyone in the organization must be brave with their communication and prioritize their efforts to deliver curated and personalized content that resonates with their customers.

Marketers, including those who specialize in CX, need to have the right tools and data to understand their audience better. Without it, they will be stuck in the same rut as their customers, who are trying to make sense of the overwhelming choices available to them.

Kristyn Wallace is regional vice president APJ at Emarsys.