Imagine yourself as the owner of a brick-and-mortar retail business. If you could remember the name of every person who visited your business and if you knew each one’s preferred choices, think how happy your customers would be. You would identify the exact types of offers your customers respond to, as you would also recognize the products they usually buy and they might need in future.
While this fairytale scenario might look like a dream for offline retailers, this level of personalization is perfectly achievable when it comes to online stores. Beyond doable, it is desirable. More and more customers are coming to expect a high level of personalization from ecommerce businesses. In fact, Ecommerce outtakes found out that 73% of customers prefer personalized shopping experiences.
Thankfully, personalization has evolved into an accessible feature. Still, few ecommerce businesses are getting it right. Here are some personalization strategies that will help you untie the “me-commerce” knot and meet the expectations of the consumers.
- Try Fully Personalized Home Pages using Navigational Personalization
You can customize the way a customer navigates through an ecommerce site based on the purchase history and the browsing behavior. Think of a fashion ecommerce site where a logged-in customer has recently been viewing office wear, without buying one. If the same customer shows up the next time, navigational personalization will help line-up office wear prominently on the website making the customer more likely to buy what he was looking for.
Using User ID tracking and cookies, you can monitor the user behavior across devices and personalize the navigation for them. The good news? This isn’t a hard thing to do at all!
On logging in, every customer of Very.co.uk gets a personalized welcome message and a tailored selection of offers based on their interests. Thanks to their brilliant navigational personalization strategy, the site is now able to deliver around 3.5 million versions of the website to their customers. After personalizing the site, Shop Direct, who runs Very.co.uk, reported a significant spike in their conversion.
You might not have the resources required to implement personalization on such a complex level, but you can definitely start with tracking user ID and using cookies to create a basic level of personalization by showing users their name or the products they have previously shopped for, on the home screen.
2) Collect Data Explicitly to Personalize
When it comes to personalization, one of the major problems is understanding the preferences and choices of the customer.
You can, of course, track the user behavior and interaction with other sites to understand his likes and dislikes, but if that sounds like too much work, you can always collect data explicitly to build your customer persona. You can use surveys, questionnaire, or even forms to collect user data and then tailor your offers according to their needs. Better yet, you can keep reusing the data to send relevant offers in future.
Shopittome.com asks visitors to describe their preferences through a survey. Customers can select a department based on gender and then up to 10 preferred brands, the sizes and the clothing type they’re interested in. Once the survey is complete, a profile is created and the recommended offers and products are sent to the customer via email.
3) Segment your Email List
Let’s not forget that even in 2017 the humble email gives the maximum ROI when compared to any other frequented marketing channel!
Personalizing the email that you send comes with a dual benefit. As you correspond to the customer’s interest and needs, you also make your emails more relevant.
You can segment your email subscriber list based on the subscriber’s location, interests, buying stage and many other factors, but the most powerful of them all is personalizing the content based on the customer’s purchase history, with criteria like previous purchases above $X, products purchased in the last two months, product category, just to name a few.
To increase customer loyalty and conversions, Crew Clothing Company decided to segment their email list based on purchase history and customer segments. They were able to create highly personalized campaigns that made the open rates spike by 75%.
4) Use Personalized Real-Time Messages
A recent research by Google shows that 85% of online shoppers are more likely to purchase from brands that provide exclusive offers and highly personalized discounts.
But here’s the real deal-breaker – 74% of online customers get frustrated when the content including promotions, ads and offers, doesn’t match their interests.
To tailor a personalized shopping experience, you must focus on gathering data about user’s location, browsing history, purchase history, and prior site interacts. For example, if a customer has previously browsed for boots, he would respond well to a real-time promotion for boots.
Look at how PrettySecrets customizes “Today’s Offer” based on user’s previous purchase history! Because the offer is relevant to them, more users are likely to purchase the product. The site also features a pop-up that notifies the customer of a personalized offer as soon as he logs in.
5) Using Location Data to Create Personalized Content
People arrive at your site from a variety of locations, which means they will have different languages, currencies, nationalities, and climates. Geographic targeting will allow you to create content that is personalized to the location of the visitor, as displaying products and offers relevant to people living in specific regions.
In the example below, a US-based home and garden e-retailer promotes specific products based on a geo-targeting algorithm.Visitors from Florida are presented with a southern type of insect infestation while the visitors from northern areas are presented with products for specific insect infestation type.
Look at “Treat Mountain Pine Beetles”…..
…..Versus “Treat Whitefly”!
6) Use Social Proof to Influence Purchase Decisions
A real-life experiment suggests that group influence deeply impacts an individual’s decision-making process. This phenomenon is called social proof and a lot of ecommerce companies are using this strategy to influence the purchase decisions of consumers and turn hesitant customers into confident buyers.
Here’s the thing – if you can create an impression that a lot of people who are similar to your customers are buying your product, there’s a strong likelihood they will want to buy your product too.
If you’re thinking how social proof can help you personalize, the possibilities are endless! You can use social proof to evoke a feeling of identity amongst customers and also make direct reference to the geo-location.
For example, if a customer is from Los Angeles, you can create a relatable outlet for him by displaying that “150 people from Los Angeles are viewing this product.”
Shop Direct drove a 2.7 per cent uplift in its sales to conversion rate after adding social proof messaging to its websites. Using targeting techniques, the site drove traffic to select products that each shopper might like and also added social proofing to it to create personalized suggestions.
In their case, social proofing has also helped to make the online shopping experience a non-solitary one, by validating the shopper’s preferences with what is happening in the social world.
7) Try Dynamic Retargeting to Serve Promotions
From competitive price options to an unresponsive payment gateway, a wide range of factors can lead your customers to abandon their carts and leave your site. Use retargeting to show your product again to the customer and pique their interest.
By using the customer’s browsing cookies, you can retarget for products the user has shown interest in. Display personalized ads or an offer to increase their chances of purchasing it. Also, you can send emails reminding customers that they still have items in their cart and offer discounts for completing the purchases. Retargeting will help you guide your customers to making a purchase by looking at their past experiences.
Amazon displays products in the homepage that are “inspired” by the user’s browsing history. If the user has viewed coats and jackets previously, this carousel will feature the top-selling items from the category and also the products on offer. This is a good way of reminding customers where they left the last time and tailor the product suggestions according to their preferences.
8) Upsell Relevant Products on the Product Page
When a visitor lands on your product page, he is interested in the product and willing to pay for it. This heightened interest makes product pages the perfect location to display highly relevant items that might interest your customers.
This type of personalization works on a per-product basis instead of a per-user basis. But, because the recommended products are related, the customer will engage well with the offer.
Look at how Amazon clubs products that are frequently purchased together as a bundle. Also, the site suggests the products that other customers usually buy after viewing this product. This is a great way to upsell other recommended products.
Now that you have understood how ecommerce personalization works in real time, you have to think about how, where, and when you’re going to use personalization strategies for your business.
Today’s customers are expecting personalized messages and content across all devices, platforms, and channels. If you aren’t offering personalization when your customers are expecting a tailored and engaging ecommerce experience, you’re losing your customer’s attention and your sales.
So, what personalization strategy are you going to try today?
Masroor Ahmed is conversion optimization analyst at Invesp, a leading provider of conversion rate and landing page optimization solutions and Figpii an easy to use tool that offers everything you need to improve the conversion rate of your website.