How eCommerce Retailers Are Harnessing the Power of Personalization

2020 is likely to be the ‘Year of Retail’ and, by the end of 2021, there will likely be more than 2.1 billion online shoppers in the world. Of course, this possibility attracts multiple eCommerce providers in different niches and markets. Online shop owners now have to put in more work to stand on their own and attract visitors over the long-term. eCommerce personalization is a powerful strategy for adding new long-term clients and differentiating each business from its competitors.

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How Personalization Works, From a Technical Perspective

What is personalization in eCommerce? The definition of personalization in eCommerce is “an action of designing an experience that meets users’ individual needs and preferences.” Let’s take a look at the main personalization practices and their technical aspects.

Targeting users in real-time

The simplest and most common digital practice for website personalization is conditional targeting — the use of if-then and and/or scenarios. Developers write code that describes a particular scenario — when the condition is met, the output changes. 

The use of such scenarios allows for multiple content variables based on predefined parameters. You can change the text on pop-ups, create personalized emails, prepare custom offers, and even change the offer itself — all based on the particular user that views your offer. 

Conditions can be used on the site itself, as well as in promotional materials. All communication channels can benefit from such targeting.

Tailoring on-site experiences

Digital stores have tremendous advantages compared to brick and mortar businesses. One of these advantages is the ability to track their customers’ behavior on their website and use the information they gather to deliver personalized offers — this is called behavioral targeting

To get started with behavioral personalization, website owners and developers have to set up the mechanisms of collecting and storing personal data. This is done in three simple steps.

  1. Using cookie files. Cookie files allow websites to remember users’ previous actions, so they don’t have to repeat the same steps over and over again. Cookie files keep users logged-in and remember personal data and financial information by storing this information on a user’s hard drive.
  2. Establishing user profiles. Over time, cookies collect and store page visits, clicks, browsing history, and interactions with a product. Website owners can use analytical tools such as Adobe Target or Knexus to detect behavioral trends and form a detailed description of a person’s online buying habits. 
  3. Segmenting the audience. Companies can group users based on shared patterns and habits. Once visitors are segmented by particular behavioral patterns, you can create different if-then/and-or scenarios for them.

Measuring and improving the output

To make sure personalization activities work, they need to be tracked. This is done with the help of metrics and measuring tools. Let’s look at the main approaches to defining the results of personalization:

  1. Compare variations. To find the most successful option, you need to experiment with various metrics. Google Analytics, the most popular analytics tool, and custom eCommerce personalization software allow users to create a few variants for a single page to track its conversion rate. You can perform an A/B test to understand which offer ends up being more relevant to your audience.
  2. Measure users’ on-page activity. Heat maps are a good way to visually represent users’ actions on the website, as they allow you to see which parts of your page get the most attention and interaction. Heat maps also help to track whether or not any personalization increased the number of interactions on your site. This is all done with a dedicated heat map tool like HotJar.

Business Benefits of Personalization in eCommerce

Personalization and customization in eCommerce have many short-term and long-term benefits. Let’s take a look at the main ones.

Improves engagement rate

Personalization attracts users’ attention and encourages them to interact with pop-ups, buttons, sign-up forms, and product pages. Personalization delivers an element of surprise that grabs visitors’ attention.

Increases customer loyalty

Personalization forms a special bond between a brand and a customer. According to eCommerce personalization stats, 83% of customers are willing to share their data to receive personalized content — as long as data are stored safely. The report goes on to say that online shoppers are more likely to buy a product from a brand that knows them and speaks to their needs.

CTAs convert better

If a Call-to-Action is adapted to a buyer’s needs, it will resonate better with the customer’s emotional mindset and logical thinking. The offer becomes more relevant if it relates to a personal situation or particular occasion.

Sales reps spend less time

Data storage and analytics make the job of the sales department much easier. They have all the necessary personal information and behavioral interest to effectively appeal to users’ personal experiences and increase the efficiency of sales tactics they use. Thanks to on-site personalization, obtained data can be used even during personal meetings. 

Now, let’s take a look at some successful examples of personalization from some of the world’s leading online stores.

Four eCommerce Personalization Examples

Asos.com

Assos uses behavioral targeting to offer different types of products, changes interfaces and provides personalized ads. Communication is personalized according to users’ previous behavior on a website.

Amazon.com

Amazon uses conditions to create personalized pages with custom offers: the store inserts the person’s name and adds data from the registration form. Promotional offers can be based on users’ shopping history, which increases the chances of a potential purchase.

Shoeline.com

This website uses behavioral targeting to select offers that are relevant to users based on their browsing history.

Forever21.com

This store remembers items that users browsed previously or put into their cart and combines two items into a single style, increasing the chances of complementary purchases. Personalization is used to get customers’ attention and increases the likelihood of a purchase.

Why Personalization is Important for Customer Retention

Both B2C and B2B eCommerce personalization delivers multiple advantages not just to business owners, but to end-users as well. Let’s see what benefits contribute to a better shopping experience and encourage users to keep coming to their websites.

More relevant products are recommended

Out of thousands of products available in online stores, users are often faced with the task of finding a specific product that fits them. Personalization pre-selects best offers and helps them make a quick choice.

Relevant discounts and bonuses are given in a timely manner

Users can also receive particular offers when they are more likely to be in the shopping mood. For instance, one group of users might be most active on weekends — they are a good target audience for a day-off sale. Others might be Friday shoppers — this would be a good day for their special offer. These two groups will get discounts on different occasions, based on their habits.

Increased time on a website

Users are more likely to interact with offers that appeal to them if their behavioral patterns are taken into account. According to Accenture, as many as 91% of customers would prefer brands that offer relevant recommendations for them.

Conclusion

More than 25% of the global population is already shopping online — and the industry keeps growing every year. To win over the competition for customers’ attention, brands and retailers have to innovate and offer customized experiences to their users. Personalization is the simplest and most proven method of connecting to a customer on a deeper level. 
At Webliveview, we create personalization solutions for online retail stores to help businesses offer a new experience to their clients, and close purchases faster. To get more information on the services and products we offer get in touch with us today!

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