eCommerce is one of the most profitable markets today. The industry has seen a rapid boom, especially in the post-COVID era. In fact, statistics show that 53% of online shoppers have shopped from international eCommerce stores in the past year.
This has led to massive competition in the eCommerce space. Consumers are being bombarded with eCommerce ads from every possible direction. Therefore, the key to standing out amongst competing eCommerce brands is by offering personalized eCommerce experiences.
The good news is that there is a huge gap in the eCommerce personalization space that is waiting to be filled up. According to Salesforce, 64% of shoppers feel that retailers do not truly understand them. Acting right now will give you a massive jumpstart in captivating customers and increasing their lifetime value.
In this complete guide to eCommerce personalization, we’ll be covering just that. In the upcoming sections, let’s have a detailed look at the benefits of eCommerce personalization. Let’s also look at a step-by-step guide that’ll help you implement end-to-end eCommerce personalization.
What is eCommerce Personalization?
eCommerce personalization is the process of delivering customized experiences to customers across different touchpoints in their customer journey.
Brands can achieve eCommerce personalization through various means. These can be product recommendations, content offering, email marketing, interactive experiences, digital assistance, and similar more.
The main goal of eCommerce personalization is to work towards a higher lead generation rate, higher conversion rate, better retention rate, increased brand awareness, and higher customer lifetime value.
In 2021, eCommerce personalization goes way beyond first names. Today, you can achieve deep eCommerce personalization with the help of top online shopping platforms and personalization tools available in the market.
Benefits of Personalization in eCommerce
One of the biggest challenges with running an eCommerce business is the lack of personal touch between the retailer and consumer. This was otherwise possible in brick-and-mortar stores.
Overcoming this disconnect through eCommerce personalization and the added benefits of online shopping can yield some amazing benefits for most eCommerce retailers. Let’s have a look at different benefits you can expect from eCommerce personalization.
1. Offer Better Customer Experience
Offering premium customer experience is the key to increasing your customer base. And also to turn them into brand advocates in the long run. Through eCommerce personalization, you can connect with your customers better. And, you can create a lasting impression with them that will form the base for a long-lasting relationship.
2. Increase Sales and Order Value
Suppose that you can find a way to offer intimate shopping experiences to your customers, just like in the case of a brick-and-mortar retail store. Then their buying experience and trust towards your brand will be much better.
Suppose that you offer the customers exactly what they need and experiences tailored to solve their pain points. Then this will lead to increased sales and higher order value for every purchase.
3. Retain More Customers Through Better Engagement
Retention is a huge part of the success of any eCommerce business. Retention cultivates loyalty, higher customer lifetime value, more referrals. It ultimately turns out to be much more profitable to eCommerce businesses than simply focusing on acquisition.
Through eCommerce personalization, you can achieve higher customer retention rates. You can do this by engaging the customers and building trust with them. For example, as a part of your email marketing strategy, you can segment your audience and launch personalized campaigns. This will help you to rigger more repeat purchases from existing customers.
4. Gain More Word of Mouth Referrals
The best thing about loyal customers and brand advocates is that they will talk about your brand and promote word-of-mouth referrals. Leads coming through word-of-mouth referrals have already been convinced about the perks of shopping from your brand. Hence driving such leads can be highly beneficial for achieving better conversion rates for your business.
5. Improve Brand Awareness
Standing out as a trustworthy, elite eCommerce brand in your niche is half the battle won. But, creating brand awareness and captivating users’ attention sounds much easier than it actually is.
Suppose you connect with customers better by offering premium, personalized experiences. Then this will automatically improve your brand awareness, leading to an increase in profitability.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Implement eCommerce Personalization in 2021 [With Examples]
By now you’d understand that eCommerce personalization can be a complete game-changer for your business’s growth. Let’s look at how you can implement the same.
1. Start by Understanding Your Audience
Having a thorough understanding of your target audience is the first and a very crucial step here. Any missteps here will direct all your efforts in the wrong direction.
Only when you know your audience well will you be able to offer experiences that they are actually looking for. For example, the experiences you offer a first-time visitor should be entirely different from the recommendations you offer a repeat customer.
For a first-time visitor, you can run interactive lead generation quizzes or surveys. You can use this data to offer personalized recommendations.
In the case of a repeat customer, you can offer personalized product recommendations. These can be based on purchase history, browsing history, buying patterns, etc.
2. Create Your eCommerce Personalization Strategy
Before you begin implementing different personalization techniques, it is essential to start with a set objective. You can start by assessing by determining the goal that you want to achieve through personalization.
You should also assess the current state of your eCommerce sales funnel and identify touch points where you can achieve personalization. Your eCommerce personalization strategy should also include identifying the platforms where you’d like to implement personalization. These can be your website, emails, social media platforms, etc.
Strategizing these aspects will help you determine the personalization technology that you’d like to invest in and the budget that you should allocate.
3. Choose the Right Personalization Technology
eCommerce personalization technology refers to the variety of tools and software that you’d need to carry out the entire personalization process from end to end.
For choosing the right personalization technology, you must assess your current situation. You can do this with the help of a personalization maturity curve. Most businesses are likely to fall in the first three stages depicted in the curve.
Based on your current level, you can progress further up the curve. And you can bring about improvements to your conversion rates and customer lifetime value. For example, suppose that you are currently using a mass messaging strategy. Then you should consider moving to rule-based segmentation or behavioral targeting.
It is very important to ensure that the eCommerce personalization tools you pick offer the necessary features. These include features that let you capture customer data, segment the obtained data, implement personalization, and test the outcomes of your efforts.
4. Implement Deep Customer Segmentation
After you choose and invest in the right personalization technology, you can begin collecting customer data. You can implement deep customer segmentation with the help of diverse eCommerce tools.
Every time a user visits your website or app, browses through shoppable posts on social media, or clicks on an ad, the user leaves behind a trail of information. This acts as the base for implementing personalization.
Most eCommerce personalization tools allow you to gather customer information and implement deep customer segmentation.
A great example of this would be the Commerce personalization done by the skincare brand, Olay. Olay implemented behavioral segmentation. The brand used the results to make changes to their product development. This helped them launch some of the best-selling products in the skincare market.
5. Leverage Different Personalization Strategies For Each Customer Journey Stage
The customer journey stage refers to the various touchpoints that the customer has with your brand. Personalization across every customer journey stage can be highly beneficial in yielding higher ROI.
For example, personalization at the start of the customer journey will help you improve your lead generation rate. While the same at a later stage might help you increase customer lifetime value.
You can implement different eCommerce personalization strategies across different platforms.
Your eCommerce website is the central hub for all the action. And your customers will have various interactions with the website throughout their customer journey. Here are some of the top website personalization strategies that you can implement:
A great eCommerce website personalization example would be the online retailer brand ASOS. The brand uses cookie retargeting to redirect you to the men’s/women’s section automatically.
Email marketing is another vast front of eCommerce marketing. You can personalize emails to achieve higher order values, increase retention rates, and improve customer LTV. Here are some top ways to achieve eCommerce email personalization:Cart abandonment emails with call-to-action that urges the users to complete the purchase. Emails with personalized product recommendations based on website search history, browser history, etc. Custom content links and recommendations based on purchase history and behavior. Emails with discounts and offers on special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.
Social Media Personalization
Paid social media marketing is another great platform to implement eCommerce personalization. This is because social media platforms will come into the picture across various touchpoints. These may include touchpoints related to lead generation, nurturing, retention, etc.
Here are a few strategies to achieve eCommerce personalization on social media platforms:
6. Test Performance, Measure KPIs, and Improve
As in the case of any marketing strategy, consistent testing, tracking KPIs, and optimization based on results lead to better ROI over time.
A/B testing of eCommerce personalization strategies can help you gain eye-opening insights on the kind of tactics that have a tangible impact on your customers. A/B testing will also help you bring about consistent improvements in key metrics. Most eCommerce personalization technology allows you to run A/B tests for your campaigns.
It is also imperative to set and track KPIs that are relevant to your business goals. You can choose from a variety of eCommerce KPIs. You can pick the ones that best suit your short-term and long-term goals.
eCommerce personalization KPIs may include metrics such as conversion rate, acquisition rate, email sign-ups, revenue, average order value, cart abandonment rate, net promoter score, and similar more.
Make Your Brand Stand Out Using eCommerce Personalization
Research and case studies in the eCommerce space repeatedly add evidence to the fact that personalization is the way forward for any futuristic eCommerce brand. eCommerce personalization is the best way to offer a customer experience that is closest to a brick-and-mortar shopping experience.
The insights and strategies offered in this complete guide will help you explore different eCommerce personalization technology and techniques to make an informed decision in the area. Start implementing these strategies to keep up with the changing customer expectations and you’ll soon reap fruitful results in the upcoming months.
Eduard Klein is an International Digital Growth Marketer, Blogger, and Entrepreneur with a global mindset. He guides people through the process of starting and growing a digital business, and to ride the wave of digital technology and marketing without getting swept away.