Personalization is one of the best ways to improve the performance of your ecommerce stores. It allows you to know your customers better and in turn make it easier for them to purchase their favourite products.
Analysts at Gartner predict smart personalization will enable digital businesses to increase their profits by up to 15% in 2020.
Offering an exclusive shopping experience makes a customer happy. Happier customers are the most loyal, and they lead to an increase in revenue in the longer run.
Don’t lag behind your competitors in terms of personalization. Make the most of it and generate maximum orders and ROI for your online store.
WHAT IS ECOMMERCE PERSONALIZATION?
Personalization in ecommerce refers to the act of creating customised interactions and experiences on ecommerce sites by offering real-time personalizations, support and product recommendations based on the visitors browsing behavior, purchase history, and demographics to name just a few attributes.
BENEFITS OF ECOMMERCE PERSONALIZATION
Research from Sales Force suggests that around 57% of consumers are willing to share their personal data in exchange for personalised discounts.
44% of consumers say they are likely to become repeat buyers after a personalised shopping experience.
The top benefits of ecommerce personalization:
1 – Increase in Sales
Most users visit ecommerce websites with the intention of shopping, so offering them products they have shown interest in the past can often result in a sale.
Messages and products tailored to the visitor based on their past browsing behaviour can increase sales by 20%.
Amazon is an excellent example of this. On its home page, it displays an “Inspired by your shopping trends” label.
This is an effective way to encourage shoppers on your site to make more purchases.
2 – Increase in Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) is a prediction of how much you can earn from one customer over time.
A higher lifetime value indicates that the customer will bring in more revenue for your company.
Personalized product recommendations lead to a decrease in churn rate and an increase in customer lifetime value.
3 – Better Customer Experience
With ecommerce personalization, you can build long-term relationships with your customers. When you serve them targeted ads and curated emails which appeal to their needs without them having to make an effort, they start looking at you as a ‘niche expert’, making them feel satisfied and willing to purchase more.
When you send personalised products and offers by email, it not only makes it easier for customers to shop, but also helps them save money on their purchases; as a result, they’re more likely to become your loyal customers – a win-win situation for you both.
You might be using the customer’s first name in the email but using their name in the subject line can make them feel as if the email is curated especially for them.
One of the great examples of personalization from the customer perspective is Netflix. They focus on maximising enjoyment while minimising search time.
4 – Increase in Time on Site
When you recommend products to a customer related to their interests or last search,they’re likely to spend more time on your site.
An increase in time on the page leads to a decrease in bounce rate, which automatically benefits your SEO.
5 – Precise Targeting Options
Consumers don’t want to be bombarded with hundreds of products. It just confuses them, and they are more likely to close your site before making a purchase.
Since personalization is a result of effective data gathering, it allows you to target each individual precisely. The data gathered will also help you make better predictions, along with intelligent recommendations through the insight collected on the visitor’s behaviour.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH ECOMMERCE PERSONALIZATION
Imagine being able to offer the exact product a customer is looking for every time they visit your store. That level of in-store personalization not only boosts your sales but also makes your customers want to come back for more.
Follow these steps to get started with ecommerce personalization.
1 – Create a Personalised Homepage
Early in 2015, Shop Direct, the UK’s leading online store, personalised its homepage for every single customer and in doing so created aprox. 3.5 million different versions, one for each customer. They saw a rise in profit by 43.6% in just 53 weeks after implementing their personalization strategy. That’s amazing!
Your homepage is the first thing a visitor sees unless they have clicked on one of your ad campaigns for a specific product. Creating a personalised homepage helps you build a great impression.
If you’re collecting cookies on your website, you have the opportunity to know your visitors, even from one visit. Persistent cookies can help you collect the following information:
● Favourites or internal bookmarks.
● User authentication.
● Login details.
● Menu and language preferences, and other browsing behaviour.
Things you can do to personalise the homepage for the user include:
● Add a recommended products for you section.
● Add a complete your purchase section.
● Show only those categories a user is interested in.
● Display the Sale banner only for the categories the user has shown interest in.
Persistent cookies also allow you to offer faster and more convenient access given that users don’t have to login again.
If you’re still not sure what the visitor is looking for, you can show your best-selling products and categories. Through personalizing your website experience you can collect more information as your customers browse. Use the data to improve the shopping experience ready for their next visit.
2 – Adjust Navigation According to Visitor’s Interests
Imagine visiting a website to search for a particular product/category, and then finding you have to navigate your way through products you not interested in. Not only is it time-consuming, but it’s frustrating as well.
Therefore, your site’s navigation must allow visitors to find things they are interested in easily whilst still allowing them to browse other products/categories at their leisure.
ASOS is one of the leading ecommerce platforms which offers a wide variety of clothes for both men and women. They have expertise in adjusting navigation according to a visitor’s interests.
When you visit them for the first time, you’ll see the following homepage:
However, if you browse through the Men section, you’ll see the following homepage on your next visit:
Using cookie retargeting, ASOS ensures visitors see what interests them the most. They have also kept the Women section just one click away, just in case the visitor wants to browse through it.
Similarly, you can personalise your entire navigation menu based on your visitor’s preferences, as displayed below:
Analytics tools such as Kissmetrics allow you to see the pages a user has visited, so that you can take your personalization game to the next level.
3 – Send Personalized Emails Based on User’s Behavior
Your website is not the only place where you can leverage personalization. You can also send personalised emails to users based on their browsing behaviour. This allows you to market your products to consumers even after they have left your site, giving you the opportunity to boost your sales.
Again, Amazon tops this category. They show the price of the product and allow the user to add the product to the wish list directly from the email.
Email personalising is one of the best ways to remind users that they have left things in their cart, triggering the purchase mindset. When combined with a curated offer, it can further increase the chances of a sale.
Kate Spade, an American luxury fashion house, sends emails about the abandoned carts and uses urgency as a tool to trigger sales.
In the following image, they have sent an email to remind the user that they’ve left something in the cart along with a 15% discount voucher with a two weeks deadline. They also included a “You may like” section in the email to encourage the purchase of similar products.
Tools like Mailchimp allow you to send bulk emails and track metrics such as opening rate and when a user is more likely to engage with an email.
Using this insight, along with a customer’s purchase history and browsing behavior, allows you to increase the chances of clicking, thereby boosting the possibilities of a sale.
4 – Recommend Products Based on Recent Activity
Recommending products based on a visitor’s recent activity can help you to keep the visitors on your site for longer.
According to Business Insider, not recommending a customised list of products can lead to up to 47% of consumers choosing Amazon rather than a site without the Suggested Items feature.
Recommending products not only helps you keep your visitors on your site for longer but can also increase sales by 6 to 10%. This level of personalization is only possible through artificial intelligence (AI), in which ecommerce retailers should be willing to invest.
Old Navy is an American clothing and accessories retailing company. It has a dedicated section for Recently Viewed and Related Items.
Similarly, the famous jewellery brand Pandora does a great job of suggesting products related to the user’s recent browsing activity.
Product recommendation engines such as Softcube, Barilliance, and Strands analyse customer behavior and past purchase history to target visitors with personalised recommendations.
5 – Show Personalized Offers to Returning Customers
Most visitors return to a site because they have found something that captures their interest. You can take advantage of this by showing personalised offers to increase the likelihood of a conversion.
Since the churn rate and cart abandonment rate are the biggest challenges for ecommerce retailers, nurturing relationships with customers with personalised offers (one offer fits all days are long gone) is essential.
78% of the shoppers will engage with an offer only if it is personalised to their previous engagements with your brand.
Below is an example of a personalised offer presented to a specific customer based on the last purchase.
You can use tools such as OptinMonster and Monetate to create personalized offers for each existing customer and show it to them with a banner as soon as they land on your website.
6 – Leverage The Power of Upsell And Cross-Sell
Upselling allows you to increase your profit by encouraging the customer to purchase items (more expensive products, upgrades, add-ons, etc.) related to the one they just bought.
To things to keep in mind when pitching an upsell:
● Don’t go overboard: You have to be realistic with your upsells; otherwise, you’ll look just like a pushy salesman. For instance, if someone bought a OnePlus 6, it’s okay to pitch OnePlus 7 or a higher version (if available), but don’t pitch an iPhone as both have a different operating system (Android and iOS).
● Keep the options limited: If you show them too many products, it will confuse them, and they could be put off making a decision. For that reason it is better to offer two to three upselling options.
Cross-selling is selling a different product to customers in addition to the one they have already purchased.
Amazon combines a set of related products and presents them to the customer. This is what is called cross-selling.
Bonus tip: You can also include a limited time discount coupon to create a sense of urgency and increase the chances of selling.
Multi-Device Ecommerce Personalization
Modern Customers usually use more than one device when interacting with brands. The below image suggests the multi-device path a consumer might take to purchase a product.
It’s no wonder that businesses that leverage multi-device personalization see a 55% increase in purchase rate.
Tracking customers across multiple devices allows you to find out who your most valuable customers are and how often they interact with your brand.
Benefits of multi-device ecommerce personalization include:
● Relevant push notifications on multiple devices influence buying decisions.
● Enhances customer experience on all devices.
● Efficient and improved online marketing.
● Long-term customer retention.
Tools like the Lemnisk Customer Data Platform (CDP) can help ecommerce retailers in matching a laptop, smartphone, tablet, and other connected devices to a specific individual. It also allows you to track how customers use these devices to navigate their website and build a unified customer database.
HOW TO DO MULTI-DEVICE PERSONALIZATION
Multi-device personalization leverages artificial intelligence and real-time data to share more relevant content, product, and service information to every user across devices.
As an ecommerce retailer, you have access to the user’s personal details (full name, phone number, email address, etc.), search query, the average time spent searching for a product, past purchase history, brand and color preferences, category browsing habits, time of previous purchases, etc.
You can use these details to create a tailored message along with a discount coupon for the product that was viewed and/or added to the cart. You can then send the message to the device that was used for purchasing in the past.
In addition, you can offer them a free delivery if ordered within two days (or a time frame of your choice). The shorter, the better.
You can also use historical data analysis to find the channel with a maximum engagement rate and use it for your campaign.
You can leverage the user’s past purchase data to send the message on a particular day of the week that has proven beneficial in the past.
You can also use the data to find the best time of the day (when the user has purchased products in the past and/or browsed) to further increase the chances of conversion.
If you don’t see the user taking any action long after you have sent the message, create a different message and product recommendation. Then send the message across multiple devices and channels. For example, an email, SMS, and web and app (push) notifications.
Multi-device personalization can also be used to inform your customers about new offers, products, and sales.
When a user sees an offer or a product on multiple devices and channels, it can trigger their purchase intent.
BEST EXAMPLES OF ECOMMERCE PERSONALIZATION IN ACTION
Graze, a UK based snack company leverages data to find out how many days it has been since a customer placed an order.
It then sends an email asking questions like “running low on snacks?” and “is it time to restock on tasty snacks?”.
It also includes a link to its website, so interested shoppers can easily start shopping.
Adidas uses dynamic product recommendations to cross-sell other products. For example, a person buying shoes is prompted to complete the look by buying shorts, a t-shirt, and a bag.
A search for men’s jackets on eBay generates the following recommendations on the next visit.
Kickers, a UK based shoe company, displays customised images to match the item in the cart. They underlined one of the key benefits of the shoes to influence the user to purchase it.
Personalising your ecommerce store for each customer can help you increase customer lifetime value, offer better user experience, and generate more revenue.
Use customer’s data to create personalised homepages and adjust navigation according to the visitor’s interests. Also, send personalised offers to consumers via email at the time they’re most likely to open it.
Using personalization to upsell products is another great way to boost your sales. Leverage multi-device personalization to further raise your conversions and retain customers.