The eCommerce landscape can be a daunting place. With new stores popping up by the minute, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out as an online retailer.
A one-size-fits-all approach just doesn't cut it anymore.
Today, you need to stand out and differentiate yourself from the masses. Both in terms of the products you offer and in terms of how you connect with your customers. Although there’s no foolproof formula for online store success, personalization can definitely help you rise above the fray.
Personalization is all the rage these days.
People want to feel like they matter and that something's being created specifically for them. Not only does personalization give your customers a more engaging experience, but it can also help kick those stagnant conversion rates up a notch.
Here is a quick primer on the basics of eCommerce personalization.
What is Ecommerce Personalization?
As the name implies, eCommerce personalization is all about creating individualized experiences.
Think about how traditional brick-and-mortar stores go the extra mile to make customers feel special. They greet their loyal customers by name. Offer up freebies they'll like and be on the lookout for products they'd enjoy.
By delivering relevant content based on a patron's past purchase history and browsing habits, businesses can create similar customer experiences.
In short, eCommerce personalization is the art of making every visitor feel like their visit to your site is unique. It’s a way to make each visitor feel like they have been specifically targeted by your company. That way, they will be much more likely to return for another visit.
Why is Ecommerce Personalization Important?
Your online store is great… but is it great enough to make a customer buy from you instead of your competitors?
A buyer's digital journey is a notoriously fickle one. That’s why customer engagement can’t be an afterthought. Online retailers must leverage omnichannel personalization, so their messages hit each customer at every stage of their journey.
A personalized experience can help drive customer satisfaction and loyalty. Thereby, leading to increased conversions.
The more personal you make your interactions, the more engaged users will be with your site. And the more information you'll have about their preferences and interests. Leading to an even better customer experience. Which, in turn, improves satisfaction and drives results.
Case in point:
A recent customer engagement study proved personalized customer experiences can lead to higher sales and lower abandonment rates. According to the research, 80% of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. This just goes to show how valuable it is to give your customers a great experience from start to finish.
How Does Ecommerce Personalization Work?
Ecommerce personalization begins by tapping into your visitors' online behaviors. This can be interpreted by a variety of data points, from the products they have previously purchased to the content they have liked or shared. Using this information, you can create a profile of your customers and use it to tailor your site's content to their specific needs.
Ecommerce personalization is one of those hot topics that seems simple enough at first glance, but as you dig in and start implementing strategies to personalize your site, things can get complex rather quickly.
Creating a personalized experience requires a delicate balance between three major factors:
If one of these components fails to hit its mark, you can find yourself haemorrhaging customers with no way to stop the bleeding.
It is as simple as growing a plant. The plant needs water, but not too much. It needs air, but not too little. Fail to check on the weeds and they might just take over your garden. In the same way, to optimize the results of your website personalization strategy, you have to be proactive and strategic in your approach.
Now that you know what E-Commerce Personalization is, here are 7 ways you can incorporate the technology into your business — and give yourself a competitive edge:
1. Offer Personalized Guides
Most brands have sales assistants for their customers. These are the people you get to know during shopping, ask for advice, or simply chat with when you want to get something off your chest.
But what if online store owners could afford the same level of quality service? There are plenty of marketing tools available that can make stylized guides to keep the customer experience seamless and increase eCommerce sales.
Every customer is different. So, every shopping experience should be different, too.
Instead of generic recommendations, your customers want to see items they will love, ones that truly match their tastes and needs.
With on-site shopping assistants, you can prompt users to take quizzes that reveal their styles and preferences. Then, generate style guides that recommend items for them, considering their tastes.
Aday, a clothing company that sells sustainable minimalist clothing, does a wonderful job creating a personalized guide.
Instead of bombarding you with an array of clothing options, the store helps you find the right fit by simply asking a few questions. The snappy quiz allows the store to curate a personal shopping guide for you.
This approach lets customers find clothes, shoes, and accessories they love faster, as well as encourages the purchase of new items.
2. Geo Based Personalization
Ecommerce sites that use geo-tags to personalize customer experience are winning in today's market. With geo-specific advice, brands can provide customers with products relevant to their geographical location while also fine-tuning promotional tactics to target specific areas or neighbourhoods.
Take the fast fashion clothing brand Burton, for example.
With geotag data, Burton could display weather-appropriate ads catching the eyes of local shoppers. This campaign led to Burton seeing an 11.6% uplift in website conversions.
Most digital stores already have a good sense of where their visitors are coming from. By assimilating this information with your website feed, you can provide a more accurate shopping experience for customers and rake in conversions like no other.
3. Continuous shopping for returning customers
There's no greater satisfaction than seeing your customers come back over and over again to purchase what you're selling.
Happy, loyal customers are often eager to become repeat buyers. And the best way to encourage this is by providing excellent loyalty programs. Data-driven marketing that leverages browser behavior can prove to be the key to achieving personalized discounts that lead to higher conversions.
When you provide your customers with a quick and easy solution to their problems, it makes them feel valued and appreciated. Such actions lead to regular repeat purchases.
4. Send Emails Based on Audience Behavior
Almost 88% of shopping carts are abandoned before purchase. Missing out on all those sales is a big problem. Your shoppers may not be ready to buy yet — but that doesn't mean they're not interested. Almost all shoppers use multiple digital and offline touchpoints before making a purchase.
With every visit, view, and search, your shoppers are expressing various levels of purchase intent even before adding an item to the cart. You can leverage this data to send your visitors behaviorally triggered personalized emails.
Behavioral email allows businesses to target their customers based on specific actions they have taken. A simple behavioral email campaign can turn a one-time purchase into a brand loyalist who's eager to buy again and again so having a proper email workflow set-up is mandatory for any D2C brand.
There are many ways to add a dash of personalization to your emails. These are some of the behavior triggered email segments you can put your website visitors into:
1. New sign-up
2. Shopping cart abandonment
3. Product browsing abandonment
4. Account activity reports
5. Posted comments or reviews
6. Item added to the cart or wishlist
This segmentation will enable you to identify the behavior of a visitor throughout the customer's life cycle and determine the type of communication you should send.
5. Best-seller list
In order to boost sales, it makes sense for you to have a handpicked set of products available in a separate highlighted section, especially during holidays and significant events.
The best-seller list is a great way to offer variety and drive up traffic, all while encouraging repeat business. Facebook or Instagram ads can also help you showcase your most in-demand items.
To make your bestseller list more unique, you can, for instance, segment it by location or price your products using the monetary unit that your site visitors use.
6. Personalized Exit Pop-Ups
Exit pop-ups are a great way to improve your eCommerce conversions. When people are about to leave your site, they’re at their most engaged. At this stage, you have the best chance of converting them to customers.
Personalized exit pop-ups prevent your visitors from leaving your website without converting. This gives you a chance to re-engage them and drive more sales. As soon as a visitor starts to navigate away from your site, a pop-up appears, showing them a relevant message and a call to action — keeping them on the site for as long as possible.
7. Cross-Selling and Upselling
The goal of cross-selling and upselling is to convince customers that they need more from you. Just like when grocery stores put candy at the cash register to get people to spend more money.
If you know what your customer is likely to purchase, then you can easily ensure that they end up buying supplementary products at the same time. From digital products to clothing and accessories, there's no shortage of ways to pique a shopper's interest and direct them towards other exciting products.
For example, if a customer just bought a phone, you can offer them protective covers or insurance. Or if someone is looking for a bedside table, you could recommend buying it with a matching wardrobe.
Every checkout experience needs a cart enticing feature. A personalized product recommendation that would entice buyers to splurge. Like a product based on the carted items. Or a clever discount offer. Whatever it is, it should do one job. Get buyers to spend more than they intend as they check out.
Maximize your Sales through Personalization
If you’re pawning for a piece of rapidly-growing commerce pie, you need to have a well-planned personalization strategy in place. Today's shoppers expect more. They are expecting to have their unique needs catered to, and the best way for your brand to do so is through smart personalization.
Personalization aims at making your website appear less like a faceless online store and more like a tiny version of your retail store. The idea is to let users feel as if they are physically there in your store, browsing the racks, trying on outfits, and gauging whether those shoes will fit comfortably. The more you can personalize the experience for your customer, the more likely it is that they’ll buy what you offer.