Driving the growth of e-commerce with website personalization

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Parth is co-founder of LoopinHQa modern calendar for teams to plan their day, manage work and get information at the right time.

While the bulk of shoppers turned to online shopping, with US online spending increasing at least, $108 billion since 2020 – consumer expectations have become steeper. As e-commerce continues to grow, your mantra should be simple: personalize or die.

What is web personalization?

Personalization is the process of creating delightful experiences tailored to the customers who visit your online store. Just like when you walk into a store to be greeted by a salesperson to help you shop, website personalization creates that personalized experience online.

Why personalize?

Personalization has a direct impact on consumers’ shopping experiences and thus sales. It doesn’t stop there; shoppers are more likely to revisit your online store if they’ve done it right. McKinsey reports that 71% of users expect personalization and 73% are disappointed when the shopping experience is not optimal. Digital native companies in particular reported 40% more revenue due to personalized marketing tactics.

I have developed and managed website personalization for large companies such as Samsung. Based on my first-hand experience, I’ve seen what works and what consumers have come to expect.

What do consumers expect?

Personalization is abstract. But in general, the best experiences are the ones that are relevant and feel natural. Here are a few ideas:

Remember their preferences. The best salespeople remember the regular customers. Ensure that users can create accounts on your site and then use their information, such as gender, clothing size, and location, to customize the experience. Be sure to save shopping carts and reorder the navigation menu if necessary.

Help them decide. Strengthen the decision for the customer and close the sale soon. Use language like “keep looking for…” to ease them back on the journey. Display information, galleries and product reviews. Provide recommendations based on business seasonality and customer geography.

Show them more options. Recommend products based on previous shopping or viewing experiences. Common terms include “people who viewed this also bought…”

Surprise and surprise your customer. Who doesn’t like a little surprise? You can create surprises by giving a discount to create an account or shop on your site for the first time. You can also sweeten the deal with an exclusive time-limited offer. Finally, ensure a consistent omnichannel experience for shoppers.

Two examples of personalization that worked particularly well when I implemented them are:

1. Device Comparison: Highlight specific new features of the latest phone compared to the one your visitor browses your website with.

2. Product Recommendations: Improve the discoverability of products based on user preferences.

Challenges with Personalization

Uniform data. Your personalization is only as good as the data. Collecting and combining data from different sources is often the first challenge to be solved. Having a single source of truth is critical to delivering an omnichannel experience. As you move into more advanced experiences, you will encounter other data challenges such as segmenting users and creating algorithms.

Scalable systems. Personalization quickly gets messy and it can be difficult to get all possible combinations of recommendations, product images, messages, and other features. The marketing tech stack must integrate seamlessly to enable personalized experiences. Investing in the right technology stack can save technical bandwidth and reduce the time and effort required to implement these experiences. The right tools can also automate repeatable tasks.

Scalable processes. Large companies are plagued by organizational silos. Personalization is a critical growth problem that can unlock enormous potential. This requires bypassing the legacy processes, especially those requiring manual intervention such as content creation, copywriting, etc. Gaining buy-in from cross-organizational teams and having dedicated resources to scale the operations, is one less challenge to solve.

Data Privacy. Draw the line between personal and creepy. Great experiences are expertly crafted. Customers are willing to share more data to get a better experience. And while many companies keep relying on third-party cookies, the future is first-party data, and companies have until 2023 to prepare for the cookie-free world. Privacy and personalization go hand in hand; customers are more willing to shop from trusted and transparent brands, and brands need to invest in good practices to meet this expectation.

Data is the first and most important challenge to be solved by growth marketers who want to enable personalization. To mitigate this, teams can start with more straightforward approaches to testing the waters.

Get started with data

Here’s an overview of different data types to get started with personalizing your ecommerce brand.

Real-time data

Take advantage of data available when a user lands on your website, such as:

• Geography.

• Time of day/year.

• User agent: device, browser and operating system.

Behavior during a session

Take advantage of user behavior in the current browser session, including:

• Browsed pages.

• User acquisition: marketing channel, referrer and campaign.

• Time spent on pages.

Offline/CRM data

Connect to the data warehouse to leverage customer information from other sources:

• Store history.

• Account Information.

• Predictive data model outputs for user or segment.

Conclusion

As e-commerce grows, consumers are likely to be drawn to simple, smooth, and delicious experiences. A lack of personalization affects your customer loyalty and your revenue. It is no longer an option; it is table game for growth.


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