In this cutthroat world, an effective way to cultivate loyalty is through personalization – the silver bullet to win over the hearts (and wallets) of your customers. By tailoring the shopping experience of each individual customer, you make them feel valued, heard, and connected – ultimately leading to increased sales and repeat business.
But how does personalization work in the E-commerce space? And as an E-commerce store owner, how do you successfully implement it? Let’s find out.
What is E-commerce Personalization?
E-commerce personalization is the process of crafting a unique online shopping experience for every visitor who reaches your website. It could include providing personalized product recommendations, displaying target ads, creating customized landing pages, and offering customized content.
Personalization is successfully achieved by using customer data, such as past purchase history, browsing behaviour, social media activity, etc. The goal of E-commerce personalization is to improve customer engagement, drive loyalty, and ultimately boost sales.
Benefits of Personalization in E-Commerce
Personalization has become a key strategy for many E-commerce businesses in recent years. Here are some of the key benefits of embracing it –
Personalization is all about presenting information you want to share in a way customers can relate to. This way you get their attention for a longer period as people normally focus on things they are invested in. They will end up spending more time collecting information about your products and might even get convinced that it is the right choice for them. When you craft highly targeted and relevant campaigns that appeal to your target audience, you enjoy higher click-through rates and improved conversions.
Increased Customer Loyalty
By creating a personalized shopping experience, you are showing that you value the customers’ presence. This is the foundation of any strong customer relationship. Customers are more likely to return to your website when they feel that you are actively listening to them and putting in the effort to make their lives easier. This will boost their loyalty toward your brand. They will not only engage in repeat purchases but also become your brand’s advocate and recommend you to others.
Enhanced Customer Experience
E-commerce personalization can significantly enhance customer experience by offering a more efficient shopping process. It will make the customers feel like they are always in control of their purchase journey. Personalized content will reduce unwanted confusion, making it easier and quicker for visitors to find what they need on your website, resulting in a better experience. A personalized experience is also quite interactive and engaging to customers as they will be focused on the buying process, leading to a more memorable experience.
Increased Average Order Size
When you analyze customer data and understand individual preferences, you can suggest complementary products or upsell items. This way, you are not only personalizing the experience of the users but also increasing the average order size of every customer. For instance, a person who has been trying to buy a smartphone can be easily enticed with a back cover or a screen guard, resulting in higher order value.
How To Start With E-commerce Personalization?
If you are ready to get started with E-commerce personalization, there are three key steps you must take to create a personalized shopping experience that will delight your customers. Here they are :
Segment Your Customers and Collect Data
The first step is to divide your customers into different segments. Use data such as demographics, purchase history, browsing behaviour, and social media activity to segment customers with similar interests and needs. For new customers, you may want to focus on collecting data such as:
- Demographics (You can make them provide basic demographic information during the sign-up or checkout process)
- Pages viewed
- Time on website
- Items in wishlist
- Items added to the cart
- Exit page
For return customers, you may want to focus on:
- Past purchases
- Average order value
- Time interval between purchase
- Interactions they had over email and social media
Identify Personalization Opportunities
Now that you have different segments of customers, the next step is to identify the different areas of your website that can be personalized. To do this, you need to answer the three basic questions –
- Where: Where can you personalize the shopping experience? Consider all customer touchpoints, such as the website, email, social media, and mobile app.
- What: What can you personalize? Consider product recommendations, pricing, promotions, messaging, and content.
- How: How can you personalize? Consider using algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence tools.
When you get the answers, you will be able to identify areas where you can implement personalization to improve the customer experience.
Let Your Customers “Opt-In” to Personalization
Believe it or not, not all customers want a personalized experience. Some prefer a more general shopping experience, especially the ones who enjoy anonymity while browsing through your website. Data privacy is mainly behind this need.
Therefore, it’s essential to allow customers to opt-in to personalized experiences. By offering a simple opt-in process when they visit your website, you not only respect the privacy and preferences of your customers but also provide a personalized shopping experience only for those who want it.
4 E-commerce Personalization Tips and Tactics
Achieving effective personalization requires a well-planned strategy and the right tactics. Here are the five E-Commerce personalization tips that you can adopt today –
Personalization Tip#1: Understand Your Customer Needs and Provide a Solution
Combine the power of technology and human insights to smartly collect clues about customers’ pain points, needs, and preferences. For instance, you can track how customers entered and navigated through your site. If a customer entered your site through a specific product ad, it’s likely that they are interested in that product and may benefit from personalized recommendations or offers related to that product. Club this valuable data with your existing research about customers’ preferences to create an effective personalization strategy.
- If you’re an online fashion retailer and a customer frequently browses your selection of jeans, you could use that information to recommend jeans or showcase new arrivals in the jeans category.
- If you’re an online grocery store and a customer regularly orders organic produce, you could create a personalized section of your website that highlights the latest organic products and deals.
- If you’re an online beauty retailer and a customer frequently searches for moisturizers for sensitive skin, you could use that information to recommend other products that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin.
Personalization Tip#2: Incorporate Intelligent Search With Semantic Understanding
Every search is different. Some users make spelling mistakes, some use broad terms, some describe the same thing in different ways, etc. All these can make the search function messy, not generate the desired results, and impact the overall customer experience.
However, intelligence search with semantic understanding is different. It uses natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to analyze the context of the search query and identify the customer’s intent. This will ensure that search results are always accurate and relevant to the customer’s needs.
A user searches for ‘iPhone cases’. A regular search would return the cases of all models of iPhone. This means, the user will take a lot of time to find the desired product, which will impact the experience.
However, an intelligent search will know that the user has been browsing for iPhone 14 previously. In all likelihood, they are looking for a case for that particular model. So the search engine will give preference to iPhone 14 cases and display them at the top, reducing the time it takes for the customer to reach the desired product.
Personalization Tip#3: Segmentation, Profiling and Targeting Of Customers
A salesman in a brick-and-mortar store has an important responsibility – to profile and target customers by asking relevant questions about their needs and preferences. They then use this information to guide customers to products that suit their individual tastes. Now, this might seem impossible in an E-commerce space, but it is not the case.
You can virtually accompany your customers and profile them while they browse your site and pick up clues on what kind of products they want, their budget, their pain points, etc. To achieve this, you need to embrace machine learning and AI tools that will invisibly collect and process information to match it against your inventory in real time and display the relevant products. Popular tools include Dynamic Yield, Barilliance, and RichRelevance.
The best part about these platforms is that they can pick up information that even a human salesman might have missed while profiling. It does this by identifying patterns in the visitor’s past behaviour or matching customer journeys with buyer segments having similar needs.
If you are a home decor retailer who wants to promote your outdoor furniture collection, you can create a landing page dedicated to this category and showcase all relevant products that are popular among the target audience.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms will analyze visitor behaviour, extrapolate buying intent from customer data, and make real-time adjustments to the products on the landing page. For example, if visitors are frequently clicking on outdoor swings, you can boost those items on this page to increase the chances of conversion.
Personalization Tip#4: Retarget Users In-Session Using Personalized Pop-Ups
In-session pop-ups with relevant and personalized information are one of the best ways to enhance the experience of users. You must ensure that the pop-ups are intuitive and not intrusive.
Time your personalized pop-ups to match each visitor’s in-session behaviour and trigger them via automation. It could be triggered when the user reaches a particular number of sessions or cart values. It could also be based on a particular browsing behaviour.
One way to use these pop-ups is to offer exclusive discounts for a product category they are currently browsing. You can also offer tiered discounts once a user adds a product to a cart to increase the average order value.
You are the owner of an E-commerce website selling spices. A customer browses different types of cloves but exits the website without taking any action.
The next time they visit the store, you can use pop-ups to offer discounts for that product category while they are browsing. This will encourage them to proceed to checkout this time.
5 E-commerce Personalization Examples To Get You Inspired
Sometimes seeing real-world examples can help inspire new ideas and approaches. Let us explore five E-commerce personalization examples that have been implemented successfully.
TataCLiQ, the online marketplace for lifestyle goods is another example of a brand that has nailed the E-commerce personalization strategy. It collects details like the time users spend browsing products, the number of products they look at, whether they’re comparing multiple products with different price points, etc. It also looks at the user’s funnel stage. For instance, from which page did they drop off? How many different product pages did they look at before dropping off?
This data is used to check whether a particular user has the intent to buy. If yes, it triggers the promotion of best-selling products in that category, which helps the user to make faster decisions.
Decathlon, the sports brand, has built an in-house AI personalization engine that recommends products for each individual customer by looking at sports preferences, past browsing history, and purchase history. It also recommends events, training sessions, and classes based on customer preferences.
Pantaloons, the fashion retailer, uses real-time shopper behaviour and past customer data to personalize the customer experience. It offers hyper-targeted product recommendations based on regional top sellers and local festivals. It also offers features like complete-the-look recommendations and products that complement previous purchases. The most recent addition is the ‘Style Finder’ feature that lets customers specify their desired categories and occasion to get relevant products recommended.
SkinKraft is a skincare brand that takes personalization to the next level. It harnesses the power of its customer data to generate customized skin care regimes that cater to the needs of individual shoppers. It asks the visitor to complete a comprehensive skin assessment that asks questions about age, gender, and skin concerns. This data is then used to create personalized product recommendations that are tailored to the individual’s skin type and needs. It also uses the data to develop new products that meet the evolving needs of its shoppers.
The supermarket chain Spencer’s has also embraced personalization in its E-commerce store. It uses advanced segmentation to divide customers into different buckets: loyal, promising, about to go dormant, etc. This helps them push relevant messages to each segment to reduce the churn rate and improve retention. Spencer’s search functionality has a ‘recent search’ feature that showcases all the searches made by the user previously.
It is quite evident that E-commerce personalization is the key to creating a strong bond with your customers and making them feel valued. By using a blend of technology and knowledge, you can collect valuable data about customer needs and personalize their experiences accordingly. Now that you know how personalization is the core of digital presence, it is time to take action.
This is where ANS Commerce, A Flipkart group company can help. We are India’s leading E-commerce growth partner and our team of experts has implemented personalization strategies for a variety of businesses looking to enhance their customer experiences.
Want to know more about how we can help? Book a free consulting session with our expert today.