Personalization is the Key to Thriving in E-Commerce
Personalization is one of the most used buzzwords in e-commerce right now, and the reason for that is simple: it works and people enjoy it.
We’re now living in a world where every email knows our name, even if they’re coming from complete strangers. Every video we watch on YouTube comes with an ad based on that and other videos we’ve seen. And each different online store we visit is trying to predict who we are and give us what we want.
The result of all that is email remains one of the most effective digital marketing tools for B-to-B and B-to-C, we’re watching more videos each day than ever before, and we’re spending more on e-commerce each quarter.
Personalization is here to stay, and your business needs to adopt it if it wants to survive in the near future.
Customers Want Personalized Content and Are Getting It
We like content that feels like it's made just for us, and we show that appreciation with our wallets. Personalization builds trust, makes us feel catered to, and creates a sense that the retailer knows you and wants you to be happy, whether or not that’s the case. The data bear all of this out.
- 40 percent of consumers say they buy more from retailers that personalize their shopping experience across channels;
- 45 percent say they’re more likely to shop on your site if you offer product recommendations;
- 59 percent of online shoppers say it’s easier to find products they like when a store is personalized;
- 56 percent are more likely to return to sites that make recommendations; and
- 53 percent say personalized content creates a more valuable service.
All of those are great reasons why you might want to adopt personalization, so, why must you? It’s simple: 81 percent of online shoppers receive more custom, personalized marketing content than they used to.
And the more reports come out that show a clear desire for personalization and a greater return on investment for it, the more your competitors will adopt it. There are a lot of guides to it based on your methods and opportunities, but you’ll have to test what works best for your company.
The one thing I want to impart to you specifically, that you can apply no matter what, is that you should be open and honest about personalization, customization and recommendations. Honesty in these matters can easily generate greater revenue for you.
The Secret: Explain What You’re Doing
So, we know that personalization is effective and that your customers expect you to do it. But how do you make sure that you aren’t crossing the line into being creepy instead of just helpful?
Tell your visitors what you use their data for and why it's a good deal for them.
Going back to the Invesp data again, it’s worth noting that 77 percent of online shoppers say they would trust businesses more if they explained how they use personal information. Nearly 60 percent will even give you more personal information if they know you’re using it for their benefit.
Don’t stick with some cookie-cutter policy that we’ve seen a million times for storing cookies on someone’s computer. Take time to create a real page explaining what you’re doing and why you think it will help.
You’re spending a fair amount of time and money on a platform that shows customers recommended products or related content based on their browsing and purchase habits. Why do you do it? Because people tend to trust recommendations and make those related purchases. Why do that do that? Because you’ve built trust and they expect to have a second positive experience with your brand during that next purchase.
Capitalize on the relationship that already exists and work to build an even deeper level of trust simply by telling your visitors you make personalized recommendations to make their day better — not to collect and sell data to some phantom third party that’s just going to annoy them.
There Are Many Flavors of Personalization
When you read the article title, you likely had a specific form of personalization in mind. That’s a fine place to start, but you should consider it and your other options based on your goals. Ask yourself a few different questions:
- Are you looking to increase return traffic and move people through your sales funnel?
- Do you have fast-sale opportunities where people are willing to buy right away if the product "feels like them"?
- Are you able to access and use real-time data?
- Do you collect long-term information on customers, such as birthdays or participation in a loyalty program?
- Have you collected broad user data that you can use for overall messaging?
Each of these questions can help you gauge what's possible to do in your specific situation. When you apply tags and data in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, you’ll be able to use a lot of these smaller pieces of data to help you sort and segment your audience for proper targeting.
When you’ve got data, consider making personalized options based on customer browsing history, what products are frequently purchased together, what actions the user has taken (e.g., abandoning a cart), recommendations based on past purchases, and even custom incentives — from birthday coupons and savings for repeat customers to exclusive offers for repeat visitors who haven’t made a purchase yet.
Remember, personalization needs to build on the existing relationship and trust you have. Above all else, make sure personalized content is easy to access and relevant to the customer. From there, focus on the suggestions or content being usable and persuasive.
Taking time can make it easy to add personalization as part of your mix for a successful e-commerce experience, which is essential to driving transactions.
Jake Rheude is the director of business development for Red Stag Fulfillment, an e-commerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of e-commerce.
Jake Rheude is the Director of Business Development for Red Stag Fulfillment, an e-commerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of e-commerce. He has years of experience in e-commerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.