6 Techniques to Take E-Commerce Personalization to the Next Level
Personalized shopping is one of the hottest e-commerce trends in recent years. The thing is, it’s not a new concept. For example, David Meerman Scott, a popular marketing visionary, talked about real-time personalization back in 2010. Why is e-commerce personalization all the rage right now, then?
It all makes sense. Customers are tired of sifting through ever-increasing amounts of irrelevant products before they find what they really need. That’s why they're so susceptible to fast and personalized shopping experiences. Experts from e-commerce development company Iflexion note that recently businesses have been particularly looking for help in connecting with customers through technology.
Additionally, the emergence of big data became the key to successful personalization. Businesses stack so much data about their customers that it would be absurd not to leverage it. With modern sophisticated analytical tools charged with data, e-commerce businesses can truly start personalizing online experience for their clients as if one-to-one.
In reality, however, few use the potential of big data or bother to truly exploit the various facets of personalization for driving sales.
Let’s take a look at some of the techniques that e-commerce retailers can adopt to personalize shopping experiences for their visitors.
Technique No. 1: Employ Advanced Segmentation
There’s nothing particularly unique about this approach. The only difference between advanced segmentation and your usual segmentation is the level of data granularity.
For example, you might have people who purchased a T-shirt from your business last year, but haven’t bought anything this year. This approach seems too straightforward for segmentation. How about adding specific information? For example, a segment that includes people who purchased during last year’s Thanksgiving period, but didn’t come back to the store this holiday season.
Such an approach is a good base for creating laser-focused promotions and targeting narrower segments, which results in a more personalized experience for each member of this cohort.
Technique No. 2: Personalize Recommendations
This isn't a standard "since you bought A, you might be interested in B" type of recommendation. We’re talking about personalized recommendations based on accumulated data from other users. It requires more technically advanced implementation, but the benefits could be huge. According to the Salesforce Personalization in Shopping report, visits when users clicked on a recommendation comprise just 7 percent of all visits, but create 24 percent of orders and 26 percent of revenue.
Recommendations are generated by sophisticated artificial intelligence-powered algorithms that calculate the most likely products to interest your visitors and frequent buyers. It's a complex solution that often utilizes machine learning.
However, even Google offers a DIY guide on how to build a recommendation engine, given that your developers have the right skills. If you’re looking for faster and cheaper solutions, there are plenty of recommendation engine platforms you can integrate into your site, such as DynamicYield, Evergage, or Apptus.
Technique No. 3: Take it Offline
This tactic seems out of the ordinary and a bit out of place. However, it’s an underestimated personalization technique that smaller businesses in particular can leverage to win over customers.
If you sell physical goods, personalize the actual product that you deliver. When was the last time you received a personal note from an e-commerce business? Probably a long time ago. This technique could also come in a form of a special package. Unboxing videos are a thing for a reason — people value the experience.
There are also customer categories that deserve your special attention. For example, people who have made X number of purchases or spent X amount of money. See them adding other products to the cart but not buying? Send them a sample if you can.
Technique No. 4: Personalize Pricing
The tactic is similar to personalized recommendations, but here you have to figure out a pricing strategy that works for specific customer groups. Therefore, instead of offering seasonal blanket discounts that eventually devalue your products or services, you can build your pricing based on customer personas or advanced segmentation.
The good thing is you can apply the same data-driven approach as the one used for segmentation. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of adding a rule like "Segment A’s price is X and Segment B’s price is X-$10."
Technique No. 5: Give Incentives to Logged-In Users
It’s a straightforward and often potent tool that can help you learn as much about your customers as possible. When a user is logged in, it’s much easier to collect data on them and personalize their journey.
There are plenty of ways to incentivize logins:
- Give access to the full version of your website only to logged-in users.
- Provide exclusive deals for users who log in while browsing your store.
- Offer easier ordering or checkouts for logged-in users.
Technique No. 6: Personalize for First-Time Visitors
Most first-time visitors to your site aren't there to make a purchase. It might seem impossible to personalize shopping experiences for these people, but you can collect enough intel during their visits.
For example, you can trace where they come from and what kind of products they're interested in. For example, if they come from the website related to any of your products, then you can offer a limited discount for this particular product or show recommendations for most popular items in this category.
It’s also possible to leverage the overall analytics of your first-time visitors. Study the sources such visitors come from, the pages they land on or bounce off, and analyze resulting converted visits in order to reverse engineer their intent and enhance the experience for other first-timers.
Personalization isn't a one-time effort. In order to take your personalized marketing to the next level, you need to apply a combination of techniques and technologies.
Start off with a personalization strategy to identify the tools and resources required to pull it off. Then make the most of your customer data to build the routes they take when interacting with your website and products. This way, you’ll have enough input to make these routes truly personalized both for potential and current customers.
Kate Pioryshkina has over eight years of experience in IT, negotiating countless development projects and an eye for bottlenecks in development that modern businesses struggle to overcome. This skill allows her to identify specific business pain points and allocate the most appropriate resources from Iflexion’s talented pool of developers.
Kate Pioryshkina has over eight years of experience in IT, negotiating countless development projects and an eye for bottlenecks in development that modern businesses struggle to overcome. This skill allows her to identify specific business pain points and allocate the most appropriate resources from iflexion’s talented pool of developers. "Exceeding expectations" is her professional motto.
She has the global experience necessary to understand cultural nuances of any project: locale, target audience, and goals. When it’s "go time" there’s no stone left unturned. But outside of work, she loves to travel, explore new destinations, ideas, cultures, and technologies. She’s also a film buff who enjoys a good movie.