Ecommerce personalization is the future. Or at least it should be. It's one thing to have a killer product or service on a website that looks great but, if it doesn't appeal to its target audience, you won't make a dime.
Visitors need to know why what you offer is perfect for them before they convert to customers.
According to ecommerce giant Shopify, personalization is a key way to improve your store's conversion rate. Stores on their platform using ecommerce personalization strategies have a 10-15 percent higher conversion rate.
So, what does this mean for your business? Well, if you're not using ecommerce personalization, you're missing out on one of the best ways to get ahead in today’s competitive market.
What is ecommerce personalization?
At its core, ecommerce personalization is an online sales and marketing technique that uses data about a user to customize their online shopping experience.
The goal of ecommerce personalization is to provide users with a more personalized experience and increase sales. This can be done by using data such as the user’s location, browsing history, or purchase preference to tailor your website and promotions to each visitor.
For visitors, the experience is that you are anticipating their every want and need, making it easy for them to find what they’re looking for and buy with confidence.
The benefits of ecommerce personalization
There are three main benefits to ecommerce personalization. First, it helps to improve the customer experience. Your customer will get suggestions that make sense to them and special offers at the right place and time.
If you offer visitors a unique experience on your website based on their needs and interests, they will feel valued as customers and are more likely to purchase from you. Visitors feel special as they get offers that are relevant only to them and are more likely to redeem them. This positive feeling can build more brand loyalty, another benefit of personalization.
An improved experience and affinity for your brand have an important result: increased conversions and sales. Customers buy more and more often.
The benefits of ecommerce personalization are clear. The question is how to implement it and what are the best practices for doing so?
5 Ecommerce personalization tactics
Here’s our list of the top five tactics to add ecommerce personalization to your storefront:
- Upsell and cross-sell with personalized recommendations
- Retarget on-site with personalized offers
- Personalize your emails
- Personalize the home page
- Build a personalized bestseller list or collections.
Let’s unpack these a bit more.
Upsell and cross-sell with personalized recommendations
We all know the saying: It costs more to find a new customer than it does to keep one. Not only are your customers less expensive to retain, but they can provide a higher lifetime value. You’ve done the hard work of attracting a visitor to your site, so why not make the most of it?
Personalization offers opportunities to upsell and cross-sell in a way that feels authentic. A combination of customer data and smart ecommerce applications means you can suggest similar or complementary products at key times in the customer journey.
Recommendations on the product detail page (PDP) are some of the most popular. These show similar products to the current ones or complementary ones. Smarter recommendations mean happier customers and larger transaction sizes.
These recommendations shouldn’t be limited to specific product pages, however. It’s even easier to make suggestions once a customer has selected their products—either by adding them to their cart or after making a purchase—and those key moments in the buyer journey are the perfect time for personalization.
Let’s look at some examples.
Amazon is an expert on product suggestions. Personalization begins the moment you land on their homepage, with custom suggestions about previously viewed or purchased products.
From each product page, they suggest similar products as well as complementary products that are customized based on the item you’re viewing.
The similar items aim to present potential customers with choices without the hassle of having to search. The goal is to make it easier for you to find the right product for you and inevitably make a purchase. Meanwhile, the suggested complementary items add to the overall cart size.
Package Free Shop
Smart ecommerce merchants capitalize on your interest and use personalization to suggest similar products to you after you’ve added an item to your cart. The Package Free Shop suggests items you may like based on your recent selection.
They offer a carousel of products and make it easy to add these items to your cart. To further incentivize the purchase, users can see how much more they need to purchase to qualify for free shipping.
Create customized on-site offers
Getting a visitor to your website is often the hardest part of marketing and personalized offers allow you to capitalize on their visit. Custom offers for site visitors make them feel both valued and offer them something they want.
For instance, consider creating a modal that offers a discount to first-time visitors. This can have the added benefit of capturing a new lead for your off-site marketing efforts, too. For the customer, this feels like an invitation to join the exclusive club of your customers.
You can also use user behavior to design personalized offers. A pop-up with a custom offer that triggers when a user tries to leave your site can be just the thing to get them to purchase.
These popular methods of ecommerce personalization have some great examples.
This company sells both customized wax stamps and premade seals. They leverage user data to target non-subscribers with an offer of 10% off.
Makeup for Melanin Girls uses a more subtle approach that offers customers a gift. Users click on the icon to open a wheel of special offers.
The gamification of the offers encourages users to enter their information. This setup allows both new and returning visitors to benefit from special offers.
Better yet, by targeting all site visitors on repeated visits, the wheel provides more opportunities to capture leads for email marketing.
Meow Meow Tweet Tweet
This eco-conscious company opts for the promise of special offers delivered to your inbox rather than a custom offer on-site. They target anyone not yet subscribed to their newsletter, and the pop-up feels like an invitation to their club that helps build brand loyalty.
Personalize your emails
Personalization doesn’t end on your website. Once you’ve captured user data, you can leverage it in your email marketing. The simplest example is to use the first name in your emails. This small touch can make a big difference in your overall conversion rates.
In abandoned cart emails, you can go beyond this simple personalization tactic and include the items left behind. And, if that doesn’t work, be sure to retarget subscribers and customers alike later with personalized product suggestions based on their previous cart behavior.
Behavior, such as engagement, can also help you to personalize your marketing strategy. If you notice a subscriber is active on your website, why not send them an email with a special offer? Or perhaps they’ve started engaging with your emails more often—maybe it’s time to send a personalized product suggestion?
Even simple information such as the user location can inform the emails you send. Don’t waste time selling summer clothing to your Australian market in July!
Customize the home page
Location data is also one of the easiest ways to customize your site for visitors. Promote products and use messaging that makes sense for the time of year and current weather conditions.
Things like age, gender, or previous page visits can also be used to present the right products to the right people.
Don’t forget to show returning customers that they’re appreciated, too, with welcome-back messaging and home page product suggestions that align with previous purchases.
Hiut Denim Co.
UK-based Huit Denim Co. serves up a custom home page based on user data. In this example, they are using both location and other demographics to suggest women’s shorts.
Amazon offers personalized suggestions, but also features the customer’s name on their home page, even when they’re signed out of their account.
Build a personalized bestseller list or collection
As seen in the examples above, there’s no need to wait until your customer selects a product before suggesting products or services to them. Information like site behavior and demographics mean that you can build custom suggestions for users right away.
A popular and effective way of doing this is by building personalized best-seller lists or custom collections of complementary products. For instance, rather than suggesting your top-selling items, create a list of best-selling products for men aged 20-35 living in the US and you’ll see higher rates of engagement and conversion.
Canada’s only major bookstore chain sells a lot more than just books and they use customer data to determine what makes sense to sell alongside their paper collections. Their new arrivals collection is always customized based on the visitor.
In this example, the user is less interested in books and more interested in other items. The personalized carousel makes it easy for customers to find what they might like and increases the odds of a purchase.
Get Personal to Get More Sales
Personalization has been proven time and time again to improve the shopping experience, turn visitors into customers, and sell more products.
The five strategies detailed above are great ways to make sure you're focusing on the right things in your ecommerce business. Implementing at least a few of them is well worth it.
There are many more ways to implement ecommerce personalization, but these five are a great place to start. Look at what your competitors are doing, try out some of these strategies yourself, and see how they work for your business.
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