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OPTIMIZATION

It's Time To Take eCommerce Personally

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OPTIMIZATION

It's Time To Take eCommerce Personally

GET MORE INSIGHTS
Happy young man sitting on a couch shopping on his laptop with his wife behind him leaning over his shoulder
Happy young man sitting on a couch shopping on his laptop with his wife behind him leaning over his shoulder

With competition in the eCommerce space at all-time highs, retailers are constantly looking for ways to stand out, increase loyalty, and keep their customers, well, their customers. Many of them have come to realize that one of the most effective ways to achieve all of those things is personalization.

Customers have consistently stated that personalization is very important to them, in fact, according to Salesforce, 66% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. Not surprisingly, the past two years have increased the consumer’s desire for personalization to a whole new level. 

Over the shoulder shot of a woman browsing a mobile eCommerce site while holding a cup of coffee

How Customer Expectations Have Changed

How Customer Expectations Have Changed

Before the arrival of COVID-19, there were lots of mid to large-sized retailers that were more than content to focus primarily on their brick and mortar stores. While they had some degree of online transactional capabilities—by and large—eCommerce was viewed as a secondary business priority. What COVID-19 did, in essence, was flip those priorities because customers suddenly expected to be able to buy online and have more flexible pick-up options. So, retailers quickly had to figure out how to create a more seamless, omni-channel experience, while being more nimble and offering things such as BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) or delivery.

Happy young Asian woman sitting at her computer talking on the phone

The Benefits of Personalization

The Benefits of Personalization

It’s no exaggeration to say that personalization can very well be the difference between customers choosing your brand and choosing a competitor. Some of the key benefits of developing and implementing a personalization strategy include:

Improved Sales Conversions

eCommerce personalization tactics, such as providing product recommendations when a customer is about to checkout, can showcase products that specific groups of customers are more likely to buy, increasing conversion rates for items that may not be popular with all of your customers.

Improved Brand Engagement

If you know where and how your customers want to shop and the types of products they are more likely to buy you can improve engagement and the way they choose to interact with your brand. Personalization entices customers to want to interact with your brand because you showcase the products they want to see in the way they want to see them.

Increased Customer Loyalty

As a result of personalization, brands can know exactly what the customer wants to see and guide them there based on their preferences from the start. This includes presenting products that the customer wants to see, storing payment information for ease of access, and keeping them informed of upcoming events.

Enhanced Customer Experience

By showing your customers that you consistently know what is expected of your brand and how to provide the experiences they want, they are more likely to show their loyalty and continue shopping with your brand vs the competition.

Better Understanding of Customers

With eCommerce personalization, you not only improve your customer's experience, you also understand them better. In order to provide a better experience, brands must collect information from their customers. When this information is used correctly, brands can find out where their customers are located, what types of products they like, and also what they don't like.

Happy elderly couple walking arm in arm down the street with their shopping bags

Understanding Customer Segments

Understanding Customer Segments

Segmenting your biggest, most lucrative segments is definitely worthwhile (VIP customers is a great place to start) but, as you look to group smaller, less valuable audiences into segments, the effort increases, and the rewards decrease. Here’s where we need to lean on the power of machine learning to deliver personalization at scale.

Visitor intent changes, as well, and groups of customers are in a constant state of flux. Adding to that, we have a huge array of data points (location, demographic, etc), and digital elements (layout, messaging, recommendations, etc) to personalize. When you factor all of that in, segmentation can be more than a little overwhelming. A solution with 1-to-1 capabilities is invaluable as it enables you to ingest all of the data on a visitor in real-time and deliver an experience most likely to result in the metric you’re trying to improve. Segmentation can’t match that level of performance.


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“If you’re not thinking segments, you’re not thinking.”

THEODORE LEVITT

Economist & Harvard Professor


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Crawl, Walk, Run Approach to Segmentation

Crawl, Walk, Run Approach to Segmentation

There’s a misconception around personalization, namely that it requires each individual user to have a wholly unique site experience. Let’s be honest, not every business will have the degree of data to create something comparable to Amazon-level personalization, and, truthfully, that’s not always necessary. We suggest a crawl, walk, run approach. There’s actually a lot you can do in terms of presenting more relevant messages, content, and products simply based on data collected from a visitor’s IP address. For example, you can customize a homepage banner to say “welcome back” if you know they’ve visited before, or you can highlight cold-weather products only in certain geo-locations. For more advanced clients, segmentation is a great way to create a more personalized site experience. Purchase behavior, browsing behavior, brand engagement, site visit frequency, and order frequency are great data points to use to segment customers and influence personalization.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Implementation

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Implementation

Over time, we’ve found the most successful implementations are those where all stakeholders are aligned on where the personalization should occur in the journey, what information will be used to create a personal experience, and what technology will be leveraged to make it happen. Retailers have to understand what their customer is expecting, be it product recommendations, inspirational content, or location-based services. Keeping sight of who the end-users are when shopping across different devices and channels is key to successful personalization.

Young curly haired woman sitting outside at a restaurant shopping on her phone

Individual Focus

Individual Focus

With the differences between products and services shrinking by the day, there’s really only one way to persuade consumers to buy from you rather than a competitor, and that way is to make those consumers feel like you know their needs and preferences better than they do. Simply put, if you’re not already incorporating some degree of personalization into your eCommerce efforts, you’re going to find it very difficult to keep pace, let alone take a leadership position in the digital marketplace. It’s helpful to remember that, at the end of the day, your customers don’t experience your brand as a group, they experience it as individuals, and that is who you need to focus on.

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