When you go to a traditional brick-and-mortar store, you're typically greeted by an employee who can answer your questions and direct you to the specific product or service you need.
This type of interaction not only alleviates the headache of aisle-by-aisle searching for the items you need to buy, but also helps you feel valued as a customer. Thanks to this personalized, one-on-one service, you'll probably be more likely to visit that store again.
This is the sort of positive experience that you want to offer to your customers, even if you don't have a physical store for them to visit or employees to welcome them at the door.
While you can't provide this exact in-person experience with your online customers, you can accomplish the same positive results by using personalization for your eCommerce website.
This guide will help you learn more about using personalization to help connect with your audience and develop lifelong customers, reduce bounce rates, and increase your profitability.
What is eCommerce personalization?
Ecommerce personalization is a tool that eCommerce business owners can use to organize their websites so that website visitors see the most relevant and helpful products they will need right away. This helps shoppers save time, and it introduces them to new, useful products and services.
Just like a traditional brick-and-mortar store employee can immediately direct customers to a product so that customers do not have to search all over the store to find what they need, personalization provides potential customers with the best possible products that suit their unique preferences and needs from the moment they click on your eCommerce website.
Why use personalization for your eCommerce website?
While there are countless reasons why eCommerce personalization is a must for your eCommerce website, there are three benefits that you should make sure you consider:
- It helps retain existing customers
- It helps turn new customers into lifelong customers
- It helps boost conversion rates
The ideal way for you to grow your business is to foster lifelong customers. According to Invesp, it costs 5x as much money to acquire a new customer as compared to keeping an existing one. Furthermore, existing customers spend 31% more than new customers and are far more likely to make a purchase from your website. The data is abundantly clear — retaining your existing customers is crucial.
In order to retain your existing customers and turn new customers into loyal, repeat customers, you need to make sure you're providing your website visitors with the best possible shopping experience when they visit your website.
That’s where online shopping personalization comes into play.
When returning website visitors see products displayed that align with their interests, relevant product recommendations based on their previous searches, or the items they currently have in their cart, they're more likely to view their shopping experience with your brand as a positive one instead of an experience that's negative or frustrating.
Personalization helps customers find the products they want and need faster, and it lets them know that your business values their time and cares about their shopping experience and overall satisfaction. This helps build loyalty and encourages the people who visit your website or make purchases from your eCommerce business to buy from you again.
Another benefit of eCommerce personalization is that it directly leads to a higher conversion rate. When customers see product recommendations that they find relevant, they're more likely to add the products to their online shopping cart.
In fact, according to research by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a business that offers a personalized shopping experience.
If your website visitors see coupons for the products they need or other perks that add value, they're more likely to subscribe to your email newsletter or convert in other ways.
You should use personalization in eCommerce because it'll pay off with greater customer retention, an increase in lifelong customers, and a decrease in the amount of money you've to spend to make sales in the future.
How can eCommerce personalization help reduce bounce rate?
For eCommerce businesses, a high bounce rate is a double whammy. The first and the most critical point is that bounce almost inevitably means abandonment and no purchase.
33% of customers abandon eCommerce companies just due to a lack of personalization. This alone makes it an important business decision metric.
A study by Infosys reveals how important personalization is for customers and how it can benefit your eCommerce business as well:
- Improves conversion rate - 86% of customers say personalization helps them choose the right product to purchase.
- Increased sales - Personalization is also a factor that helps 40% of shoppers on a website buy more.
- Builds loyalty - 56% of customers are likely to return to the website that offers the most personalized online shopping experience.
Not just that, personalization can be an effective tool in countering low bounce rates — which is what you’re here for, right? In fact, Deloitte’s research discovers that 48% of customers are willing to wait longer on a page to receive personalized products and/or services.
If your eCommerce website faces a bounce rate of 40–70%, personalization can easily reduce that to an estimated 20–30%.
Collecting data for eCommerce personalization
There are two main ways for you to gather the information you need in order to use personalization in these ways:
- Surveys: Surveys are an explicit way to garner this important information. These tools allow your website visitors and email subscribers to answer specific questions so that you can segment them and provide them with relevant product recommendations and offers.
- Data collection: If you do not want to ask your website visitors for this information explicitly, there are other forms of data collection:
- Using software or other paid data collection and personalization companies
- Tracking website interactions (product page visits, products abandoned in the cart, pages clicked)
- Tracking customer searches
- Tracking customer purchases
- Tracking the source of your traffic (referrals, ads, returning customers, etc.)
- Location data using customer IP addresses
7 Smart eCommerce Personalization Tactics for Driving Better Sales
83% of consumers don’t mind sharing their data to create a more a personalized experience. 64% of consumers are fine with retailers saving their purchase history and preferences if it leads to a simpler and more personalized shopping experience. But even after you’ve collected the data, you need to know where and how to use it.
Here are some ways to effectively use eCommerce personalization to drive better revenue:
1. Smart Homepage Personalization
Most visitors who land on a homepage make a decision on whether they want to stay or leave within just 0.05 seconds. There’s only one way to optimize your homepage conversions and that’s by offering the customers exactly what they’re looking for. Personalization is a proven method to build a conversion-focused homepage.
To enable personalization, your homepage needs to answer 4 major questions that the customer is likely to have:
a) Am I in the right place? - This is a question that you need to address for most first-time visitors. Apart from creating a strong and compelling headline and attractive visual content, you can compel the readers to spend more time on your site with personalization. You can use geo-targeting to display the trending offers or a welcome popup message based on the visitor’s location. For returning customers, you can welcome them with a message that has their name and an offer they might be interested in.
Here’s an example from Zalora.
b) Do you have what I am looking for? - A large part of answering this problem involves making product categories easy to navigate and placing the search bar where it's easy to find. For returning customers you can also recommend products based on past preferences and customer behavior, on the homepage itself.
c) Is there someone I can talk to? - If they’re truly considering you as an option, they may come back with questions. Around 79% of customers prefer live chats for the instant response advantage it offers. You can also go a step forward with a hint of personalization by adding the names of team members who’ll be helping out. You should also offer the option of a phone number, email address, contact form, and FAQ section to make it easier.
d) Can I trust you? - Social proof is a good justification for people to choose your product or service. You can do this with testimonials, success stories, badges, and awards. You can also encourage people to share their experience with your products alongside professionals or celebrities. This will make visitors feel like a part of a community they can trust. Just like Life is Good does.
2. Smart Content Personalization
Every visitor coming to your site has different motivations and goals. Therefore, your content and messaging should be tailored to the visitor’s intent, persona, and interests.
If you’re lucky, the customer has shopped with you earlier and you already know their preferences to some extent. You can also identify where the new visitors came across your website. It could be from social media ads, organic search, or even a referral from another website.
Customize content like banners, coupon codes, and product recommendations, according to demographic. For example, if a visitor clicked on an ad for sneakers and it led them to your website, you can display a banner highlighting an offer or a new collection of sneakers.
Check out how Very personalizes the content on their landing page and banners.
One simple way to personalize content is by using the customer’s name wherever the data is available. You can also personalize the content in the CTA button to suit the language of your target audience. Such CTAs usually work 202% better than generic ones.
Another form of content personalization is offering product recommendations on the cart page. In fact, 92% of customers want to be recommended products while viewing the cart page and this can form a complete customer journey, establishing a basis for brand loyalty.
3. Smart Popup Personalization
Crafting a popup without keeping the customer in mind can be a turn-off. An exit-based popup is a good way to have the final word before the visitor closes the tab. These popups are only triggered when the user inches towards the close tab icon. Basically, an exit-intent popup can provide important information just before the visitor bounces. These popups can offer discounts, offers, help from an expert, email subscription, or just a new collection relevant to the visitor’s searches.
For example, you can entice a customer to make a repeat purchase with attractive discounts on popups. This will be based on the user’s previous purchase history.
Using scroll-triggered popups can also improve user experience. The user only sees these popups after scrolling through the website for a while instead of being bombarded by offers as soon as they reach your page.
4. Smart Search Personalization
Personalized search in eCommerce can improve customer experience and go a long way in improving conversions. Smart search considers the keywords with context, to help customers search for products in fewer clicks and shorter browsing time.
For example, if a person has previously searched for skirts and dresses and later searches for generic terms like shorts or t-shirts, the search result will show more female products. Something like how products autopopulate in relation to a search on the Made website.
This method of searching can offer benefits similar to that of an in-store sales clerk:
a) Fewer clicks to find products - If a visitor has visited the site a few times without purchasing anything, the past searches and suggested searches can show up when they open the site to allow them quick access.
b) Access to past search results - If a person continues browsing and navigating to other pages, smart search can save their previous search results, in case they want to go back at any point.
c) Customized search results - Every customer finds a customized search results page based on their preferences or past buying behavior.
5. Smart Product Personalization
Most visitors leave a page because they didn’t find what they were looking for. Statistics show that 74% of the page viewing time was spent in the first two screenfuls of which 57% of time spent was above the fold. This indicates that visitors are unlikely to scroll past two screens for product options.
Personalized product pages can help retain visitors on the site. Highlighting a product-specific offer or recommending choices at the top of the product page might improve conversion rates while simultaneously reducing bounce rates. You can also promote seasonal offers.
- A clothing brand might promote different collections for summer and autumn, depending on the weather and seasons in that geographical area.
- Promoting offers for masks in areas that have a bad air quality index.
When a customer is viewing a product, you can highlight other products that people bought alongside it. This is another trick to get visitors to browse, and subsequently, convert more. Providing customizing options for products in different colors, sizes and styles can keep the visitors engaged and drive more sales because of the variety offered.
Here’s how Flipkart does it.
Another way is to show customers recently viewed products. Sometimes when consumers visit your website, they will click on different products and leave your site without actually adding these items to their cart or making a purchase. A great way to help consumers take that last step and actually buy a product is to remind them of the items they were interested in the last time they visited your website.
When customers see that black dress that caught their eye or the pair of boots that they talked themselves out of buying the last time they were on your e-commerce site, they'll be tempted to click on this product again, which will make them more likely to buy it this time around.
Using cookies and other existing data, set up a section of your website to show your shoppers items that they have looked at recently and you will notice an increase in sales.
6. Smart Email Personalization
You can make sure your email subscribers know that they're more than just a number to your business by sending personalized eCommerce emails. When people know that they're valued and that you care about their specific needs and interests, they'll be more likely to do business with you in the future.
There are several ways for you to take your email marketing to the next level with email personalization.
Profiling is one personalization technique that’s based on each customer’s profile, which includes details like demographic data and purchase history among others. With the rise of machine learning, algorithms can identify buying patterns and create new customer segments with similar characteristics which you may have not noticed before. You can drive customer engagement in the following ways:
- Customized category pages based on the visitor’s purchase history
- Displaying discounts specific to their profile
- Weather-based content, personalized through geotargeting visitors in specific areas
- Recommend products based on browsing behavior
Creating audience segments also helps with effective email marketing. As per a study by Aurea, 39% of respondents reported an increase in email open rate with segmentation. This can help you route genuine traffic to your website, which is less likely to bounce immediately.
Some other ways to leverage email personalization are:
- Use personalized email subject lines: According to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized email subject lines rather than generic subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
- Send “finish your purchase” emails: Sometimes people get busy and forget to complete a purchase. This type of personalized email is a friendly reminder that they did not finish shopping. Use catchy subject lines like “forgot something?”
- Send birthday or anniversary emails: If it's a subscriber’s birthday, wish them a happy birthday! If one of your subscribers has been on your email newsletter list for a year, send them a discount and say happy anniversary! This simple recognition will go a long way.
- Use your email subscribers’ names: Nothing adds a personal touch like mentioning your subscribers’ names. Try including names in your email’s subject line and/or body to help make your emails more personable and personalized.
7. Smart Product Page Optimization
You’ve done the hard part of getting the customer from the home page to the specific product page. To get them to finally make the purchase you will need to inspire trust in their mind and focus on the small things.
It starts from basics like detailed descriptions or honest reviews. It goes all the way down to small elements like icons/badges highlighting the quality of the products or even the color of the CTA button.
The color of the add to cart or buy now buttons might not have any effect individually. However, it makes a difference when taken in with the whole design of the website. Go for a well-branded product page as Love does.
Here are things to keep in mind while optimizing your product page:
- Good-quality images that don’t pixelate even when zoomed in
- Detailed descriptions that give the prospective customer a working knowledge of the product
- Clear return and exchange offer
- Availability of different payment options
- Product rating at the start of the page and link to reviews
- Attractive call to action button
Kudos! You’ve cracked to code to smart personalization to boost your revenue. The key to ensuring long-term success is always through testing.
While all of the tips above might seem helpful, they're easier said than done. Typing personalized emails, keeping track of important data for product recommendations, and providing personalized homepages for your website visitors can be a lot to manage. This is where personalization tools can help.
To help you on this quest, ConvertCart can assist you with an unmatched optimization suite of 21 tools. Learn more about ConvertCart and how we can help you use personalization to increase your profits when you visit the ConvertCart website.