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[Recap] Unpack Webinar: Customer Ownership

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Following our much anticipated January’s Unpack episode on Customer Ownership, let’s review what we learned. 

In case you are unfamiliar with Unpack, it is a webinar series put together by Pagefly to help bring viewers closer to everything eCommerce-related. Unpack sets out to address all problems and challenges that may arise for anyone running an online business. Whether you are a rookie or a veteran, you are selling on Shopify or a standalone website, it is worth checking the series out, for you might just learn something valuable.

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I. An Overview of January’s Webinar - Customer Ownership

In this webinar, our host Tracy had an amazing exchange with two incredible and experienced guest speakers - Dimitar Toshkov and Francis Pilon. Mr. Toshkov is the Demand Generation Manager for SMSBump and Mr. Pilon is the Head of Global Partnerships at Limespot. The trio dug into the basics of what every online business owner should have learned by heart when they launch their venture - customer ownership.

So what is customer ownership, and why is it so important?

In essence, the term refers to the process of establishing contact between the business and the customer through tracking consumer behavior and utilizing resources to attract and retain buyers. This has been made all the more accessible in this era of the Internet of things. And no, it does not mean you own the customers.

Knowing customers, how they behave, where they reside, their interests, and their friends allows you to better customize the shopping experience for them and retain their loyalty. How else will you be able to compete with hundreds of others in the industry? Cutting product costs alone will not appeal to shifting consumer desires.

Mastering customer ownership means knowing how best to engage and influence customers using gathered insights, ultimately meeting their ever-changing appetite. Regardless of your niche market, being on good terms with your customers is the only way to survive the feeding frenzy among your competitors. 

Unfortunately, many business owners are aware of the issue and are paying exorbitant fees to obtain customers, jacking up acquisition costs. In such a crowded market, you must stand out by getting to know your customers and being available to them. Customer ownership enabled so many entrepreneurs to succeed, so it’s only a matter of time before you can follow suit. 

During this brief exchange, Mr. Toshkov and Mr. Pilon helped shed light on the two pillars of creating and owning an intimate customer relationship:

  • Personalization Tactics: How to be more relevant to your customers 
  • Customer Loyalty Tactics: How to make customers love you 

If you missed the talk, fear not for this article will cover all the highlights for you. 

II. Personalization Tactics - How To Be More Relevant To Your Customers 

01. Question: How does a personalized customer relationship help a business in general?

A little personalization can help you go a long way. When you understand what consumers want, you can attend to their needs to facilitate the discovery of your products without overwhelming shoppers. This can fast forward the path to finalizing purchases and driving a higher conversion rate

In addition, business owners can curate a personalized experience to make the buying process all the more satisfying for customers, earning their loyalty and more purchases in the future. Ultimately, personalization provides a more sustainable way for merchants to differentiate themselves from competitors, as opposed to promoting discounts for example. 

02. Question: How to take the first step in building relationships with customers, or in other words, how to start personalizing the customer relationship?

Mr. Pilon emphasized that business owners need to take their time in finding out who their customers are, and that it is crucial to take baby steps. You cannot personalize the buyer-seller relationship without knowing the buyer, can you? And fortunately, you don’t have to go all out at the start, focusing on forming a basic understanding of who you are talking to first, then build up on your small successes. 

Many eCommerce apps and ecosystems already offer this functionality, but once you have mapped the customer’s mind, he notes, it’s time to find one that can facilitate the discovery of your products. Find a way to place your products in front of the right shopper at the right time. If the shopper finds your website and products on their computer screen, you are already one step closer to achieving customer ownership.

03. Question: We need to create different journeys for both customers and potential buyers, so does personalization come before or after the sale?

In short, the entire process needs to be personalized for all shoppers. Ideally, personalization should be present all the way from the awareness phase to the targeted message in the package and beyond. 

Having years of experience in SMS marketing, Mr. Toshkov, who has achieved impressive customer ownership, explains in detail how you need to segment users based on their browsing patterns on your site. Once you have got the gist, you can go on to establish direct contact by creating an automated workflow that starts with a welcome message. Do not bombard shoppers with promotions and discounts from the start, otherwise, you may risk losing customers 

Consumers will have different needs time and again, so you should be able to cater to them as soon as possible. Be there for them throughout the customer journey. Customer ownership is essentially being friends with your beloved shoppers, after all. 

III. Customer Loyalty Tactics - How To Make Customers Love Us

01. Question: What are some crucial touchpoints we should focus on and how can we get more intimate with the customer?

Starting with the entry point of customer ownership, you need to first and foremost figure out how each of the customers wants to be spoken to. Be mindful but don’t be too hesitant to try new customer engagement strategies. Customer ownership is not meant to be gained through playing safe!

One recommended business strategy is to focus on the top entry pages, usually your homepage or the collection page. Ease shoppers into your ecosystem with best-sellers and trending recommendations. This is a good starting point since past customers have already let you know what they typically look for from your store. 

Showcase your unique values and present social proof for first-time visitors. This is a good way to build trust, especially in a world where people are so mindful about their impact on society. For repeat customers, they are already somewhat familiar with what you have to offer to the world. Congratulations on gaining loyalty! Now that rapport has been built, you can offer deals and bundles relevant to their last purchase, or subscription options if available. 

To best pick out what to recommend to loyal customers, tailor category pages based on affinity such as brand, pricing, interest, etc. But before that, focus on what differentiates customers from one another. One of the best ways to do so is to use geolocation to match the voice of the people. Find out what each collective enjoys to make relevant content, offers, and messages. 

That said, do not overdo it. No one likes having tons of offers and product recommendations smother them. Do not make your relationship with the customer one-sided by not inciting a response or reaction from them. Ask them what they think after making a purchase or when receiving an SMS or email, ask for reviews, feedback. Let them know that their opinions matter in making your business better. 

02. Question: How long should we expect for a sale after all the effort put into personalization?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. It really depends on the product you are selling. For example, luxurious jewelry businesses need to map out a really long customer journey, so a sale will only come after a long waiting period. 

That said, with the right tool and strategy, you can expect a significant increase in performance right from the get-go. For example, Mr. Toshkov mentioned adding smart upselling or cross-selling options to the cart as a great way to nudge your relationship into customer ownership. 

IV. Wrapping Up

The webinar with Mr. Toshkov and Mr. Pilon has been extremely informational and thought-provoking. We got to peek at the wonders of customer ownership in running an online business. 

If you want to hear them talk in detail about this pressing topic, or if you are interested in specific questions from the audience at the end, you can check out the full recording of the webinar down below. 

[PageFly Webinar] Customer Ownership - YouTube

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