Eric Tobias

Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.

Consumers are more connected than ever before, and they demand a seamless personalized experience across all interaction points. Join us on Wednesday, June 26 at 2 p.m. EDT, when Eric Tobias, vice president of web products at ExactTarget, will teach you how to let your customers’ behavior drive your cross-channel personalization strategy, increasing both conversion rates and customer engagement. Register now!

This week's top article deals with a topic that all online retailers are interested in — how to increase conversions. Specifically, the focus of the article is on driving conversions from your homepage through the use of product recommendations. This got me thinking, what other strategies are retailers using effectively on their homepage to drive conversions? How about on your products pages and at checkout? Go to Retail Online Integration's Twitter page and use the hashtag #ROIMostClicked to give us your thoughts.

Your homepage sets the stage for the overall site experience. The goal of your homepage is to give the shopper a compass to direct them through the site and to the right products for them. Shoppers that click through a product recommendation on the homepage are 20 percent more likely to convert than shoppers that don't. Here are four tips for getting those coveted clicks on your homepage:

Retailers are already collecting various data sets such as customer data, competitive data, social data, online behavioral data and offline data to tailor product selections, determine pricing and timing of price markdowns, and even provide online product recommendations. While this is a step in the right direction, retailers are still faced with numerous challenges when it comes to fully leveraging their data to make real-time decisions that can produce additional revenue and/or cost savings.

It's widely agreed that increasing the lifetime value of customers increases profits. It's less expensive and more effective to increase current customer loyalty than attract new customers. Behavioral targeting can promote loyalty by giving your best customers a personalized shopping experience, exhibiting you know their likes, dislikes, wants and needs. Retailers who aren't currently offering this personalized experience are missing a significant opportunity to grow online sales. The prime place to exhibit this knowledge and draw customers back to your site is the homepage.

With Forrester Research estimating that U.S. online retail sales will grow at a 10 percent annual growth rate from 2010 to 2015, reaching $279 billion, retailers have become laser-focused on creating and maintaining customer loyalty and improving the online shopping experience. However, as the online shopping habits of consumers evolve, so too must retailers’ strategies to ensure the most customized online shopping experience. Here are three strategies that online retailers can implement to improve the customer shopping experience:

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