Personalizing the eCommerce Experience

Mike DeFabis
Outside of the IDS Fulfillment Center

One thing customers really enjoy is when their shopping experience is personal. It is a well-known fact that speaking with your customers or prospects in a personalized manner is much more efficient than generic, uniform messages. It is because of this that online shops are continuing to work towards more ecommerce personalization delivering more accurate, relevant, and customized touchpoints throughout their online communication.

The first question we need to address is, what exactly is ecommerce personalization? Of course we all have a general idea of what personalization is – it’s using demographics, shopping behavior, search engine history… to give people a customized shopping experience. However, there are multiple types of personalization and multiple ways to go about it. There’s navigational personalization, predictive personalization, personalization based on third-party data, database segmentation, personalized subject lines… That seems like quite a bit, so let’s break down some of the key types that work best for ecommerce.

Navigational Personalization: This personalization is based on the behavior that brought people to your site as well as the behavior they produce on-site. This usually works best for first time visitors. You can personalize based on referral traffic, for example: use the keywords that brought them to your site. Based on the pages they visit and the keywords they use in your site search engine, you can use navigation personalization to predict what they would be interested in. Amazon uses this method to immediately show you things you have browsed in the past on the homepage to encourage you to look at them again. This allows customers to feel that you remember them and sincerely want them to use your company.

Predictive Personalization: Predictive personalization is the effort and ability to predict the actions of users based on their previous behaviors online. This method applies information about the customer’s past interactions to guide the presentation of content that has a better probability of getting them to purchase. This can be presented in a number of ways: email campaigns, transactional apps, or on ecommerce sites.

Third-Party Data: Third-party data is information collected about unspecified customers who are not necessarily your company’s own customers. In other words, you go to an outside vendor to purchase data about a particular audience. It can be easy to purchase data from the wrong company, so look for a Data Exchange Platform to provide you with real-time, quality data. This allows access to the right insights to improve personalization across hundreds of quality scored data sources. Instead of trying to generate relevant results from older browsing history, you will be able to obtain access to minute-old data.

Database Segmentation: Smaller businesses use databases to keep track of information about their customers. The information they store allows them to make marketing decisions and target customers strategically based on specific demographics such as gender and age, and psychographics like their buying behavior. The best way to do this is to segment your email lists based on preferences and history. For example, if you are a retailer of decorative wine stoppers, and you have plans to launch a new email campaign, you can conjure a highly targeted list to push your wine-loving customers that have not purchased from you in a while to become reengaged with your brand.

Personalized Subject Lines: Emails with a personalized subject line has a 26% higher unique open rate than non-personalized emails. We have been conditioned to respond to our name since birth, so sending out an email with a line that says “David- For being a loyal customer you are eligible for a 15% discount until…” will automatically grab your customer’s attention. They are more likely to open the message because the personalization has made them feel more essential to you. This is a very common and successful method of gaining and retaining customers. According to Accenture, 56% of consumers are more likely to shop at a retailer (in-store or online) that recognizes them by name.

Real-Time Personalization: Real-time personalization solutions help you to optimize live customer engagement by acting on what you know about your customers and what they are doing in the moment. They provide insight into each customer’s interests and past interactions to allow you to deliver highly personalized content, including offers and product recommendations. For example, if you notice a repeat customer has entered your sire directly, you could present them with a coupon with an offer to increase their loyalty to your business. Or, on the other side, if a potential new customer enters through a paid channel, a customized coupon can be used to secure that first purchase.

Dynamic Remarketing: Remarketing allows you to show ads to consumers who have previously visited your website or used your mobile app, but didn’t necessarily go through with or finish the purchase. With dynamic remarketing, you are able to see previous visitor’s ads based on products or services they had viewed on your website. This helps you to build sales and leads by bringing previous visitors back to your site to finish what they started. Showcase the products they had been viewing and try to push them with pop-up ads or messages to edge them to pulling the trigger on the purchase.

The future of ecommerce is going personal. Gaining and retaining customers is what keeps our companies in business. The customer is the most important aspect, so make sure you are taking the necessary time to make them feel appreciated by your compay.

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