Surveys have shown that up to 75% of consumers expect personalized messaging from brands and e-commerce stores, so it’s not just a trend anymore – it’s a necessity. This article will explore which areas of marketing to apply personalization to, and provide some useful tools to help.
In 2019, it’s vital that your eCommerce store uses an element of personalization if you are looking to generate significant revenue and stand out among the noise. This doesn’t necessarily mean adding an engraving service to your products – instead, it means creating a tailored eCommerce experience, using data and audience insights. Most successful eCommerce websites now use data and behavior-driven insights to create an immersive experience based on customer preferences and activity.
Personalization at its most basic level can include something as simple as dynamic messaging. A nice example of this is to welcome returning users back to your website. You may also wish to include here their recently viewed products to encourage them to pick up where they left off in their last session; this is an effective way of building both a rapport and familiarity with your customers, but also helps to make their journey with you even easier, increasing the likelihood of purchases and conversions.
Another key to personalization in your e-commerce marketing is to boost conversion rates by personalizing the experience for your existing clients. Magento suggest making the accounts for your previous customers personalized by anticipating needs and delivering targeted messages, showing an understanding of the customer’s requirements. This can work really well for e-commerce stores in both the B2B and B2C markets.
An effective method of adding personalization to the shopping experience of the store itself is to tailor your product recommendations. SmartInsights suggest that in 2015, the ‘visitors who viewed this product also viewed’ recommendation can be responsible for up to 68% of eCommerce store sales. This works particularly well on clothing or accessory websites, because your user may have taken a direct route to get to where they are on your website by clicking through an email campaign, social media post or video.
By showing an interest in product X, with similar users (based on demographics, data and user behavior) to them also viewing product Y, you can assume that they may also be interested in product Y, and show this product recommendation to them. WooCommerce, Shopify and Magento all have plug-ins and extensions that allow you to do this dynamically within their stores.
In possibly the most clever use of product personalization we’ve seen, Very.co.uk changed their homepage messaging to include warm weather and cold weather products based on the users location, reportedly increasing revenue by £5m. This could be applicable to many products sold within e-commerce stores, and a tool such as Weather Unlocked can support you with this.
Finally, personalizing experiences using dynamic and real-time data can promote increased conversions and revenue. A good example of this is provided by the tool Proof, which uses live store insights to create urgency and build trust. By showing live visitor counts, recent purchases and user activity, Proof not only helps support the credibility of your website, but creates urgency in an authentic way by providing live updates of customer activity on your store to all users.
Upsell and cross-sell to existing customers with personalization
Another great use of data and personalization in e-commerce marketing is to upsell and/or cross-sell based on purchase history. Usually, once a customer has purchased with you, you will have some of their information such as an email address, which will enable you to segment their data within your CRM or email marketing software, or add them to previous customer groups. If you also monitor the products previously purchased within your CRM or marketing software, you can use this to create bespoke cross-sell or upsell opportunities.
For example, if you have a group of purchasers who have purchased a new laptop, they may also require a laptop sleeve or a new mouse; if your users have purchased a pair of sunglasses, they may also need a sunglasses case… or a new swimsuit! Use the data that you have available to curate a logical set of related product recommendations based on previous purchase histories and cohort behaviour.
Similarly, by using the Facebook Pixel or creating Display ads, you can re-market to those who either abandoned their cart without purchasing or who spent, for example, over 30 seconds viewing a product but did not add to cart.
Screenshot: Google store
This product personalization method would target these users (without the need for an email address or sign-ups) and encourage them to return to complete their purchase, or could be used simply to recommend similar products to the one they were viewing.
Re-marketing adverts such as these can be set up easily in Facebook Business Manager or Google Ads by creating re-marketing audiences and rules such as average time on page, page URL and website behavior.
Increasing engagement and loyalty
Many of the techniques above work really well for gaining customers and extra sales, but what’s equally (or arguably more) important is to retain and engage previous purchasers and loyal customers. According to Forbes, 15% of a businesses’ most loyal customers account for between 55% and 70% of a company’s total sales.
Similarly, Point Visible found that by increasing retention rates by just 5%, profits can increase by 25-95%, so personalization throughout the marketing mix for previous customers with a focus on retention and engagement should form a key part of your overall marketing strategy. As well as tailored product recommendations – an expectation for customers in 2019 – it’s important to keep them coming back and engaging with your company.
Marketing personalization methods for previous customers might include content marketing – sharing tips and topics of interest with the audience based on the products you sell, such as best holiday destinations for a swimsuit store, or DIY tips for a store that sells household products.
By tailoring your content plan to the needs and problems faced by your consumers, you can create a personalized and relevant experience. To get the most out of personalized content marketing, you should align it with your sales funnel and create content for people in each of the stages.
Personalized email marketing should also be considered and is probably one of the most used ways of personalization in eCommerce. By using data and segments to deliver targeted messaging to your previous customers based on demographics and behavior, conversions rates can increase.
You may wish, for example, to offer a unique discount code to all previous purchasers, or to reward customers who successfully refer their friends and family to your store. By reserving such offers for previous customers, you can create a tailored and personalized experience while rewarding customer loyalty and increasing revenue.
By using your data gained from audience behavior, cohort analysis and user journeys, there are many tools out there to help support personalization on your website. With benefits such as additional revenue, bespoke upsell opportunities and increased revenue, e-commerce personalization should be an essential element of your store strategy in 2019 and beyond.
About the author
Anita Sambol is a content strategist and graphic designer at Point Visible, a marketing agency providing custom blogger outreach services. She has years of experience in designing graphics for web and running social media and content marketing campaigns. She loves cooking and football.