9 November 2014

Personalisation is key to e-commerce success

Online revenues boil down to knowing what the customer wants and personalising the experience for him or her accordingly, says online fashion marketplace Zalora, which was at the 2014 Influential Brands: Celebrating brand leadership and Asia brand heroes conference to speak about reaching out to different audiences for digital business.

Founded in 2012, Zalora carries 20,000 products, more than 500 brands and supports multiple touch-points for sales. “We make it as convenient as possible,” 
Zalora Marketing Director Dione Song said, pointing out that Zalora purchases can be collected at 7-Eleven convenience stories, SingPost's POPStations, or through cash-oh-delivery arrangements.

The company recently invested in a pop-up store at the popular Ion Orchard mall to bring the products to those who are still uncertain about buying online. “Our vision was to bring e-commerce to the offline space. We allow you to get over the barrier of online shopping, show you the product, allow you to try it, but you can’t buy it,” 
Song explained. The experience can help people to get used to the idea of ordering online and getting their purchases delivered in one or two days instead of the inconvenience of carrying the purchases around, she said.

Song added that Zalora does not segment its customers into ‘Gen X’ or ‘Gen Y’ as the company believes customers are not homogeneous in age segments. “It doesn’t mean that if you’re in an age class that you all act the same way. Customers are very discerning. They know what quality is, they know what they want to pay. We target customers as individuals,” she said.

The experience goes all the way down to personalised web browsing experiences and newsletters, she said. Customers who have browsed one brand are shown complementary brands that are similar. New customers may receive an added incentive to buy, while repeat customers are introduced to in-house labels which they might not have been open to as new customers.

‘Sharks’, people who hunt for discounts, are given bundled deals, whereas those who are more likely to spend more are shown designer brands. “If a customer has looked at shoe pages 10 times, we show you shoes. Everyone has a personal experience. They see a different page but they do not know it,” she said.

Newsletters from Zalora.

Zalora even knows how many times its e-newsletters are read per month, and may change the email subject titles or push special promotions to inactive customers.

"Understanding of a consumer through a behavioural analytical study is important for businesses, not only for the digital businesses. The brand’s strategies should be mapped against the consumer purchase journey which covers multi platforms from which consumers are most likely to be reached when they are commuting to how they purchase, where and why,” said Song.