Until now there has been no truly effective way of influencing a shopper while they’re browsing an e-commerce website. That includes using cookies, which have been made virtually obsolete by the increasingly complex online customer journey, involving multiple devices and channels over a longer time frame. But online retailers need not lose hope. Here, Robert Massa, general manager, BounceX EMEA, explains how scaling behavioural marketing through identification now offers a solution.
One of the big advantages brick-and-mortar retailers have over their online counterparts is ‘boots on the ground’ in the form of the shop-floor sales team. Any sales team worth its salt will be able to guide shoppers, advise them on purchases, nurture their interest, and not only seal an individual sale, but also up-sell and cross-sell, securing repeat customers by building customer loyalty.
The best brains behind online retail have tried to digitise the efforts of the humble sales team, but many have ultimately failed. So, how can they solve this issue?
Conversations across devices, browsers & channels
While cookies, at best, market to individual devices, identifying anonymous traffic enables marketers to target the individual shopper, no matter what device they’re using. It enables marketers to create ongoing, relevant conversations with individual consumers across all their devices, browsers, and channels – both on and off a retailer’s website.
The result is that the marketing approach becomes universal, each channel building on the next and working to guide consumers through a seamless journey to conversion.
These conversations are shaped and informed by the shopper’s digital body language – the behaviour they display when they interact with an online retailer. For example, do they go straight to a product page? Do they hover over a ‘buy’ button? Do they examine sizes and colours or read product reviews? Did they come to your page from Facebook, email, Google, Instagram?
Each of these actions matter, and by interpreting these signs, and many more like them, retailers can guide valuable traffic to the next most productive, relevant, and profitable action in the journey to conversion.
And if, despite the best efforts of behavioural marketing, a shopper leaves the website without making a purchase, the retailer can follow up with experiences via email and adverts that remind the prospective customer of where they left off.
Here is just one example of an ongoing conversation a retailer can have with a consumer, thanks to scaling behavioural marketing techniques to newly identified traffic:
- They can initially identify a shopper once they submit their email address on-site.
- After being highly engaged on a few PDPs, the shopper abandons the site. The retailer can email them 30 minutes later utilising the products they were showing intent on to try to get them to arrive back on site.
- Shopper clicks on a product in the email and gets to the PDP to add to basket.
- Once they abandon, the retailer emails the consumer with a basket abandonment email highlighting the product in cart.
- The retailer can find out if the email was clicked on, but the conversion wasn’t completed.
- Another email can be sent to the shopper repeating the discount adding urgency with an expiration date or a low-in-stock notification.
- The retailer is informed that the shopper opened the email, and they were told items were waiting for them when they return to the website.
- The shopper returns to make a purchase.
Don’t confuse behavioural marketing with other attempts to personalise online shopping, such as product recommendation engines. These systems attempt one-to-one marketing; but in fact, they often confuse and annoy the consumer by adding clutter and confusion to their buying experience.
Joining up consumer behaviour
For starters, product recommendation engines are reliant on cookies, which recognise devices rather than people. They’re also based on historical data, which by its very definition is old news. If a consumer bought winter boots last month, it’s unlikely they’ll need another pair now, especially if the season has changed. Product recommendation engines are also unable to join up consumer behaviour across multiple, siloed channels.
By focusing on the identification of individual website visitors, behavioural marketing overcomes the challenge that has, until now, made one-to-one, cross-channel marketing impossible. In practice, the success of behavioural marketing boils down to at least one piece of data, such as an email address, phone number, or device ID, which can identify the individual across devices, browsers, and channels.
Once the individual is identified, they can finally become the focus of your marketing strategy, forcing those continually changing technologies (channels, devices, and browsers) to revolve around the customer and create an experience based on their relationship to your business.