Frankly speaking, not everything we purchase online is for us. We all know this. Right?

Yet… say a guy buys his girlfriend a pair of yoga pants. Now he gets emails from the store saying: “We have your favorite body-hugging, butt-boosting yoga pants in pink! Get your size before we run out!” (True story).

It’s already proven that personalization can lift sales up to 10%. And let’s admit it, there is nothing more exciting than getting an email crafted especially for you, with recommendations you love and statements that align with your values. They make you want to click on the links and buttons impatiently to see more things you like.

Except this is rarely the case.

Today, customer data lacks context, making personalization a labor-intensive guessing game.

The problem is it takes access to deep preference data that is not readily available. There is a lot of information about your customers that is missing, which is making personalization…well… hard.

But don’t panic, here is a solution.

You know what happens when you assume…

Without the full picture and the right tools, the only option is to spend a lot of time and money collecting data like an unsophisticated stalker. Watching customers from afar 24/7, waiting in silence to see what they click on, what they buy. Then draw conclusions from that!

Here’s the thing: it’s really hard to know if a customer clicked on something because it was ugly or because they loved it, and most importantly, you don’t know if what they purchased was for them or someone else.

Currently, personalization is based on assumptions, which is making companies collect misleading data. A study by Accenture states that 41% of US consumers claim they ditched a company because of “poor personalization and lack of trust.”

To avoid this, instead of learning what was purchased, focus on learning why someone purchased your product.

End Users vs Buying For Others (BFO)

Our research along with McCombs School of Business predicts that at least 30% of the time people are actually buying for others, which means almost a third of purchases are made for someone other than the end user. The key is to differentiate these customers from those who are end users and understand how they are related.

Generally, purchases are assumed to be made by the end user, for the end user. These are end user buyers. But there are also people who are buying for others, we call these “BFOs“.

Knowing how your end users and BFOs are linked together allows you to build a network for every person that purchases your product or service. This helps you understand who buys your products for themselves and/or who buys your product for someone else, allowing you to contextualize each message.

Don’t assume, ask

You have to make sure you know what your customers are looking for and why. This is no easy task, you’re not a mind reader! Marketers have to deal with the difficulty of extracting relevant insights about their customers (Forbes).

Don’t feel defeated, you can do it! The best way is to listen to your customers, they are the only ones who can give you accurate information about their likes, their dislikes, and the people they know and want to receive recommendations for. If you ask in the right way, you will get the answers you are looking for.

So back to yoga pants. Imagine the same guy got a message saying, “We have your girlfriend’s favorite pair of body-hugging, butt-boosting yoga pants in her favorite color, pink! Get them before we run out!”.

Totally different message. What does the guy do? That’s right, instead of unsubscribing, he buys the yoga pants, and chances are he will get lots of brownie points and he will trust the retailer to know what his girlfriend likes.

Sounds complicated, but we can make it easier for you (drumroll, please). At Dearduck, we are experts when it comes to building meaningful relationships with customers and the people they care about. We have fun, white-label tools retailers can use to maximize their personalization efforts.

Let your customers know how important they are to you. Show them you totally get them, and earn their trust and loyalty by helping them make the right decisions for the people they care about.

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