5 Tips for Improving Personalization in Your eCommerce Marketing

- Ryan Bozeman

Customers want to buy products from companies that understand them. According to Accenture, 75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that knows their name and recommends options based on previous purchases.

In fact, according to a study by Infosys, failing to provide personalized website content frustrates a huge 74 percent of customers. Customers have positive reactions to businesses that actively try to get to know them…and deliver valuable content that aligns with their interests.

All eCommerce companies should work to improve their personalization efforts on an ongoing basis. By improving the systems that you use to collect, filter, and utilize data, you’ll develop deeper connections with your customers that result in higher lifetime values. As you do, take these eCommerce personalization tips into consideration:

You Can Only Use What You Collect

Effective personalization relies on data. You need to learn about your customers to deliver content that they find interesting and relevant. Your ability to do so plays a huge role in your ability to build a relationship with prospects and customers over time. But you can’t use what you don’t know.

Great personalization begins with your ability to actively collect the data. This should include information that you actively ask them for, as well as data tied to their activity on your site.

Purchase, search and browsing history are all potential goldmines for personalized marketing materials. However, collecting the data in and of itself isn’t enough, you must also filter, track, and actively use the data in your marketing campaigns to see a positive return.

Recommendations Based on Purchase, Search & Browsing History

Far too few companies actively collect data about their customers’ search and browsing history when engaging on their website.

Most eCommerce companies use their customers’ purchase histories to influence personalized marketing campaigns. However, far too few companies actively collect data about their customers’ search and browsing history when engaging on their website. Even fewer actively use that data to connect with their customers.

You’d be hard-pressed to find data more valuable than the product searches of your current customers. These are the products and categories that they are actively interested in and may be in the process of researching. Despite the interest, your customers may not be ready to buy right away. By integrating items that they have viewed and searched for into your customers’ marketing materials, you keep the products top-of-mind.

Public Tools Can Help Close the Gap

It might seem enticing to develop your own internal personalization tools. Be cautious, however: this can be costly and time-consuming. Plenty of existing eCommerce personalization tools can fill in until you have something more robust developed in-house. Optimonk, Personyze, and BounceX represent some of the more popular options.

You may want to research a tool that exists specifically for your eCommerce platform. These may not integrate directly with your current data collection processes, so be sure to research the available options to find the best fit for your current technology stack.

Static Homepages… a Relic of the Past

Personalization at every turn reflects the new normal for eCommerce companies. You’ll find that static homepages are also going the way of the dodo bird.

Your homepage represents prime real estate, and often the most-visited page by your customers. Injecting personalized recommendations onto your homepage offers a powerful route to getting your visitors to engage with more products.

As usual, Amazon provides an excellent example. Today, it fills their homepage with smart recommendations for their customers, based on browsing and purchase history. For instance, a fan of sci-fi books might see something like this:

Amazon offers recommendations from a range of categories…

They don’t limit it to a single section, either. When you visit the Amazon homepage while logged into your account, you’ll see recommendations for a range of categories including new releases, previously viewed products, and recommended products based on previous purchases.

A Consistent Stream of Great Content

Effective personalization in eCommerce is about more than just directing your customers to the right products. It’s about getting to know them on a deeper level. The more data that you can collect and use in your marketing materials to deliver a relevant, consistent stream of content that they find interesting, the better your ongoing relationship will be.

Well-executed emails can help to make your interactions more personal. Provide your subscribers with dynamic email content that considers previous purchases, viewed and items…and calls-to-action.

Great personalization starts with collecting the right data. But when and how you use that data is just as important. Let customer actions drive the personalization in your marketing, and you’ll turn one-time customers into brand advocates.


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