When small business owners invest time and money in customising their customer’s experience, it really pays off. In fact, a recent study has shown that smartphone shoppers are more likely to favour unique and tailored products rather than popular ones. When done right, customisation will really set your business apart. Here are six ways to edge out the competition.
Build buyer personas
This is a fictional character that embodies your ideal customer; including what their preferences are, what problem they are looking to solve, their age, gender, location and interests. This helps everyone in the business imagine the target customer and then all efforts can go into creating value for that specific person. Essentially, buyer personas change the staff's perception of a customer being a number on a till slit and transform that customer into a person with tangible needs and goals.
Carefully consider customer feedback
Often without even asking, customers will proactively share their ideas on how to improve your product and service. Rather than receiving this as criticism, listen carefully to what they are offering. Feedback forums and surveys are other great places to get valuable insights into what your customer is and isn't satisfied with. Armed with this information you can then customise your customer experience even further.
Don’t forget the customer journey
Customisation can and should happen at every stage of the buying journey. This ensures that the customer has a fulfilling experience from beginning to end and will also ensure more sales. In order to activate this effectively you have to have a strong understanding of each and every point that the customer engages with your business, before they actually buy from you. Then once a sale has been made, also consider your after-sales service and how to further personalise this aspect too.
Start off modestly and grow from there
It will be a bit of a tall order to attempt to customise your entire business all at once. Rather, start on a small scale, offer customisable options to a select group of customers or to customers buying specific products, and then build from there. This is also a good way to test your market and see what works for your customer.
Use technology to improve your offering
Where possible harness the power of technology and try to find inventive ways of customising the process for your customer. A smart place to start would be to find ways of helping your customer engage with your brand in order to entice a sale. So for example, if you sell caps, use AI technology where your customer can upload their pic and place the cap on their heads in order to “try them on”. Or if you are a boutique hotel, use AI to take your guests on a virtual tour of your establishment so they can really imagine themselves spending time there. The more ways you find for your customer to engage with your offering, the more likely you are to please your customer and make a sale.
Customisation, by its very nature, is not a one-size-fits-all option. So test your customisation plans, drop what isn’t gaining traction, and enhance what is. As you do this, comb through customer feedback and really listen to what your customer is telling you about your efforts. Here you also need to carefully consider costs in order to make sure your investment is sound and then once you are ready to roll it out, consider scalability in order to make sure your efforts will be profitable.
The bottom line
It’s time to put the ‘custom’ into customer by creating a bespoke, customised experience for your target market. This will require careful thought and testing, but it is certainly worth the effort when you consider that a customer who feels ‘seen’, will be more likely to invest in your business long-term. While this may require some financial investment, it will be money well spent. And if you need fast funding to see you through this transition to growth, contact Merchant Capital today.