Ecommerce Personalization: How to Create 1-to-1 Relationships with Every Customer and Grow your Business
Customers today are spoilt for choices. If they can’t find relevant user experience on your website, they know there are other places they can go where they will be treated more personally. Thus, your ability as an ecommerce business to personalize the shopping experience of your customers will play a key role in dictating the future of your brand.
56% of consumers are more likely to shop with retailers who offer personalization.
74% customers get frustrated by seeing content that doesn’t match their interests.
20% average increase in sales for marketers who use personalized web experiences.
By 2018, organizations that have fully invested in all types of online personalization will outsell companies that have not by more than 30%
The attention span of your customers is becoming smaller and smaller day by day. As an online fashion brand, you get few seconds to establish a relationship with your customers. You either make sense or they quit and never come back. Especially in fashion, if your customers feel that you’re off or irrelevant, you lose them forever. That’s why ecommerce personalization has become an important part of the growth strategy of not just fashion ecommerce brands but just about any ecommerce brand out there.
What’s Ecommerce Personalization?
Personalization involves using data & technology to tailor your messaging and overall branding experience for each individual in order to give a ‘personal touch’ to all your customer interactions. It is is the process of personalizing different touch points of your ecommerce business in a way that it makes sense to your customers, for example:
- you can personalize your marketing messages as per the individual customer receiving it
- you can personalize your inventory selection according to the individual customer viewing it
- you can personalized selection of content (products, blog posts, banners, etc) as per interest and geography of each of your customer
- you can personalize your product’s delivery experience
- you can personalize your customer support experience by empowering your support staff about customer’s past interactions, etc.
You can use personalization to improve your customer acquisition rate, retain more customers and improve your website’s conversion rate. It plays a key role right from the outset and can be used throughout all phases of your ecommerce business growth:
- customer acquisition – to acquire more customers in the form of first purchases, email registration, etc by showing your potential customers what they’re interested in.
- customer activation – to show them intelligent and personalized deals and offers right when they’re most likely to take an action
- customer retention – to retain more customers by knowing who they’re and continuing sending them only relevant and personalized information
- customer growth – to know who your top customers are and treating them as VIPs
The process of ecommerce personalization forces your entire marketing function to work as a single unit for your customers.
Understanding Personalization with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
The importance of personalization in marketing can also be understood using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belongingness” and “love”, “esteem”, “self-actualization”, and “self-transcendence” to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through. If you can offer same motivation to your potential customers, they would love to be part of your brand.
Thus, your chances of converting a visitor into a newsletter subscriber are higher if you can fulfill their physiological needs related to their safety, belongingness and love, esteem, self-actualization, and self-transcendence. For example, if you know the interests of your customers, you can invite them to be part of a community or a cause that they are naturally interested in, rather than offering them a 10% discount code every time for signing-up.
If you know your customers, their interests and tipping points, you can offer rewards that are bigger than your brand or products. You will no longer have to depend on giving away blatant offers to make your customers register or subscribe on your website.
How to use Ecommerce Personalization?
To offer a personalized shopping experience to your customers, you obviously need right set of tools that tells who your customers are, what they’re interested in (both – content & products) and treat them accordingly.
1) Create your Customer Personas
This has to be the first step. Firstly, you should know whom you’re personalizing for. Create multiple personas of your customers to get a clear picture of who you’re selling to or who has the highest probability of converting. You can use free tools such as Makemypersona to create your company’s personnas.
2) Survey your customers
On an on-going basis, survey your customers and ask them questions which provides you intelligence related to the interests, demographics and shopping preferences of your customers.
3) Test and personalize your offers
You can use Barilliance and Baynote to show personalized offers to your customers. Use A/B Split testing to determine what your highest converting and most irresistible offer for your customers. It can be a newsletter, pop-up, discount coupon, etc.
4) Start using a central marketing platform
To be able to provide a personalized shopping experience, you will need a centralized marketing software to help you gather data, process data and then use that data to implement personalization on various touch points of your website. You can get yourself a central marketing engine such as Exacttarget, or HubSpot. With these softwares you can do variety of things, such as
- Abandoned cart nurturing
- Pulling product data
- Create Post purchase sales workflow
- Calculate customer lifetime value
- Sending customized emails
- Showing customized offers on your website, etc
5) Use APIs to link all your ecommerce and marketing platforms
Once you have a marketing platform you will need to integrate it with your your ecommerce backend, email marketing software, customer support desk, etc. Get the API integrations (such as hubshop.ly, Wombat) to connect all your ecommerce, marketing and customer relationship platforms . Scribe, Bedrockdata are especially helpful if you’re on a legacy ecommerce platforms.
6) Use Retention marketing automation solutions
You can use retention marketing tools such as WindsorCircle to design intelligent email marketing campaigns according to your customer purchase history. These tools can help you increase customer lifetime value by connecting your eCommerce data (essentially customer purchase history) to your Email Marketing, and help you automate predictive and lifecycle marketing campaigns.
7) Use personalization tools to offer personalized shopping experience on your website
As an online retailer, you shouldn’t look to make your customers spend too much time on the site. You should look to help them discover, what’s for them without making them do too much work by personalizing your website for the key visitors visiting your website. The process of website personalization typically involves creating content for your conversion points, model the conversion path, and updating your site to serve your personas. You can use website personalization softwares such as Barilliance and Sailthru for offer cart recovery, product recommendations & website personalization.
8) Offer product recommendations and personalized results in product search
You can use specialized product recommendation softwares such as Barilliance and Unbxd, which use machine learning & intelligent algorithms to analyze user interactions on your website such as searches, product views, cart engagements, previous purchases and build unique marketing profiles for every visitor. And accordingly they identify customer preferences to show accurate product recommendations. Personalized recommendations can be added to any section of your website such as custom landing page, category/collection page, product page, cart, product search results and thank you pages.
The real beauty of ecommerce personalization lies in the fact that perfectly personalized marketing actually feels like a service to your customers. They feel you’re helping them and doing them a favor, rather than the other way around. Thus, your first motivation to offer personalized user experience should be to help your customers and add real value to their lives.
I am the Founder at ILoveFashionRetail, where we design & develop e-commerce websites & mobile apps for fashion retailers. We also help fashion brands grow their online sales & traffic. My essays are featured at Forbes, Moz, Fairchild, FIT and more. Contact me.