Have you ever thought about why E-Commerce is more powerful than conventional retail? What makes it so powerful? Let’s recall the most evident reasons .
First, E-Commerce allows retailers to simultaneously reach millions of customers all over the world thanks to significant advances in the sphere of modern technologies. Second, E-Commerce provides the most convenient shopping experience allowing customers to purchase goods anywhere and anytime just in one click. However, there is even more potential here that yet needs to be revealed. And that is personalization.
Imagine how much traffic E-Commerce merchants would get if they could find individual approach to every person that visits their website. Unfortunately, in most of the cases visitors’ first impression leaves much to be desired as they simply cannot find anything that would meet their actual needs. As a result, about 97% of visitors would simply leave your store and hardly ever come back. But with an introduction of website personalization you could not only attract more customers but you also could help them find exactly what they look for subsequently encouraging them to make a purchase.
Huge efforts are being put these days into development of modern technological solutions that would make it possible for online retailers to adopt high-end personalization features on their websites. There are even a number of companies dealing with E-Commerce personalization technologies that can already make your website look like it was made to suit every single customer over the Internet. However, before actually going into personalization, you have to first come up with a definite personalization strategy that would help you to identify what features can be adopted by your website to make your visitors feel comfortable with your products and services.
Below you will find a complete guide on how to make your website personalized and discover the best personalization services that will help you with implementation of your strategy.
Manipulate with various ways of on-site personalization
You might think that it’s impossible to guess what your visitors would be looking for in the first place because they search through the websites anonymously. However, there are actually several proven ways that would help you to handle this problem even if you don’t have their e-mail addresses saved in your database. All these ways are connected by the same principle which lies in the ability to track user behavior on the website as well as outside of it and then process this information to further present your visitors with the most highly demanded content.
1. Navigational personalization
This type of personalization requires the basic knowledge of what online resources have been viewed by your visitors before they finally appeared in your store. This is usually made through clickable ads, social networks, and search engine inquiries that help to determine which keywords are being searched by users most often. Navigational personalization also captures every on-site click to provide them with the most personalized shopping experience. As a result, your visitors will be shown the most appropriate offers and messages motivating them to make an order.
2. Capturing third-party data
Third-party data is basically all the information that you can use to discover who your potential audience is. This information is often stored in specialized data aggregators that capture every single case of online activity all over the Internet. Third-party data will specify which country or region the majority of your visitors come from, what their average age is, and other demographic aspects that later can help to determine which products or services would suit them the best.
3. Predictive personalization
This kind of personalization is not about prediction but rather about analyzing your visitors’ current behavior to prognose their future actions and thus provide them with the most suitable shopping environment.
4. Consider your customers’ previous experience
Even your online store native database can tell you a lot about what your audience wants. Look through the previous purchases that have been recently made on your website. Check some online shopping carts that still wit to be checked out. Finally, browse through your on-site search history. These three steps would give you a good insight into the things that are of utmost importance to your visitors.
You should note, however, that high-end website personalization is not the result of utilizing only one of these ways of promoting individual approach to your customers. Only by combining navigation, demographics, prediction and on-sight previous activity can you win visitors’ interest and long-standing loyalty.
Make your messages important for your audience
There are various customer-attracting techniques that can take a form of a nice and clear message gently asking a person to visit your store and get acquainted with the products you offer. Let’s look through some of these techniques:
Micro-conversion quests. Micro-conversion is literally any action a visitor can perform on your website until they finally lead to the primary conversion or sale. Providing enough opportunities for performing these intermediate actions is another important task for every person involved in online marketing. Imagine the reaction a person would have if the first thing he or she comes across on your website were a message instantly asking to purchase your goods or services. We guess it would be quite irritating and even repulsive. On the contrary, a minimal commitment would prevent visitors from instantly leaving your store for good and make them more interested.
Special offers and discounts. Depending on who is more important to you – anonymous visitors or existing customers – you can come up with a special offer strategy that could help you to increase your conversion rates and improve overall shopping experience on your website. For instance, offering a 10% discount on first purchase is likely to attract more visitors to your store. The best place to inform users about such an offer would be a PPC banner ad on a reliable referral.
Contextual messaging. If you’re aware of how cool Dynamic Keyword Insertion feature from Google AdWords is, you would probably want to adapt it to your website as well. In fact, this feature allows you to reserve a certain empty area on a page that would then display dynamically changing ads depending on whether one is more relevant to a searcher than another. Using this technique for your website would make it possible to target certain visitors on the basis of keywords they used to get to your page.
Geo-targeting. You can as well specify your targeted audience by providing them with geo-specific messaging. For instance, if your visitor views your website from the U.S., you can customize the page by inserting a message telling that you provide a high-end and fast shipping to the U.S. Moreover, if you target specific countries, you can broaden your personalization by introducing multilingual store versions containing multilingual messaging accordingly.
Behavior-predicting messaging. This technique can take two various forms. One of them assumes that people tend to get attracted to things which are limited in their amount. If you wonder how this technique works in practice, take this example “There are only three pairs of these shoes left. Hurry up!” The other technique creates the opposite effect. If something is very popular among a great number of people, then you will also want to have it. The resulting message will then look as follows: “Check out our best selling *the product name* of this season!”
Design also matters
Personalized messaging is primarily about the content. However, making it visually attractive can even double the outcome. Visitors tend to be rather sensitive about visual elements displayed on the page. Moreover, because their attention is limited, they are most likely to notice imagery rather than textual content. Now, imagine how visitors would react on your messaging if you shaped it by the neat visual form and, what’s more important, set it in motion.
You should note, however, that not far every kind of dynamics is good for the visitor’s eye. Simply changing images on your main page banner will hardly get users interested. So what’s the solution?
Slide-out messages. This is one of the neatest ways to present your message to a viewer without making them irritated. It looks like a simple squared layer that pops up from the side of the screen. You can apply it by previously adapting its look to the overall design and atmosphere of your website. As a result, not only do you seek visitors’ attention but also gently motivate them for an action.
Modal dialog boxes. This messaging design type is widely used by many websites as it’s especially handy from UX point of view. Modal is represented by a messaging box that pops up above the main content of the page and explicitly calls for action. The visitor can either click on it and get redirected to the corresponding page or close it and keep on viewing the background content. Among other purposes, modals are also utilized to encourage visitors for e-mail subscription.
Floating bar. The main advantage of a floating bar is that it always looks natural being a part of the main navigation bar. You can use it to promote your brand, emphasize the uniqueness of your goods or services, or simply entertain visitors by presenting them with a nicely made graphics.
Using questionnaires during a regular checkout process will provide you with the most profound and accurate information about your customers’ preferences which you can then use to maximize their further shopping experience. You can come up with a unique set of questions that could help to determine:
Whether customers’ tastes coincide with the item being purchased. Such an approach can make them feel confident about their choice, because you have provided them with additional questions to perfectly meet their actual needs.
Whether customers like being involved into an interactive process at all. In most of the cases, customers will be positive about having an opportunity to interact with you so that you could have more unique offers for them in the future. Moreover, it looks much more interesting than just adding an item to a shopping cart and paying instantly.
Now, if you decided to adjust questionnaire feature in your store, you can use one of the following options to make it right:
Use Shopify Experts services to create a unique questionnaire for your store;
Try out FluidSurveys platform that offers basic free survey features as well as high-end paid ones.
More product details
It is incredibly difficult to evaluate the right size for an item when there are so many different size standards and brands over there. It is especially the case with outlet online stores that have to deal with clothing and shoes. Providing additional information about an item will prevent your customers from feeling uncertain about the purchase and, as a result, from returns. For instance, you can adopt product customization feature that will help customers to measure items according to their individual dimensions. This will also improve their confidence in a purchase and, what’s more important, in your store.
Social networks are being widely used for implementing marketing campaigns among small and large E-Commerce businesses. However, they can be also nicely adjusted for personalization purposes. Imagine how much you could find out about your customers if you simply visited their Facebook personal pages. Having your store official page on Facebook could largely contribute to getting acquainted with people’s preferences. Further, you need to publish regular posts presenting your products, special offers, or any other content that is likely to attract users’ attention. Finally, based on the resulting feedback from your customers (such as likes and reposts) you can make conclusions about which products are just to their liking.
Dealing with e-mails is an important part of merchant-customer relationship. E-mailing is more valuable for existing customers rather than new ones as it allows you to reach people personally and use their previous shopping experience on your website to stimulate them for new purchases. If your marketing campaign aims at providing comprehensive personalization for your customers, you should definitely work on optimizing your e-mail strategy.
Main steps towards e-mail personalization include e-mail list segmentation and introduction of personalized content.
E-mail list segmentation is a good way to divide the whole list of your clients into existing customers and potential customers who registered in you store but haven’t acquired anything yet. As a result, it will be easier for you to determine the best fitting content for each group.
Thus, existing customers group requires paying more attention to special offers which should be a part of extensive loyalty programs. Whenever a customer purchases your products, he or she must be awarded by a bonus or a discount to be stimulated for a further cooperation with your store.
As for potential customers or non-buyers group, another type of messaging would be required. Because you want them to take action, you should provide them with information concerning the quality of your products and positive feedback from existing customers who are satisfied with having purchased something from your store. This will improve your reliability and motivate users to get back to their shopping carts.
Personalized subject of the letter is an additional bonus to gaining trust and loyalty of your customers. You can basically add the customer’s name at the beginning of the e-mail to make a person feel as if they were unique recipients of your message.
Segmentation based on previous purchases is what is likely to help you really understand your audience’s preferences. Divide your customers according to the type of products they bought and send them regular updates with similar items coming to your stock.
Even retargeting ad campaign can promote individual approach towards online store visitors. Thanks to its ability to track users’ way through the Internet after they leave the website, you now can implement personalization feature to retargeting ads which you use on external resources to drive more traffic to your store. This time, however, you want not just more traffic; you want more satisfied customers that would feel like home while making purchases in your store.
So what do your retargeting ads lack to become personalized?
recently viewed items
Let your visitors take another look at products they got probably interested in. Perhaps it will reassure them to go back and make an order.
Try not to overdo the frequency of showing your ads as it can become quite irritating for your visitors. Make certain timely intervals (4-7 days) to just gently remind about yourself. Furthermore, you can regularly adjust your retargeting ads to new seasons and coming holidays.
Relate your ads to visitors’ location by, for instance, offering free shipping to specific areas, emphasizing special discounts for citizens of certain cities or countries, and many more.
Never stop testing
Every E-Commerce strategy needs to be evaluated. Regularly. Always. And there is no excuse for not doing it with personalization strategy as well.
When you set your strategy in motion, you will need to regularly check whether your expectations correlate with actual results. In case if it’s not effective enough, you will have to determine what exactly needs to be improved (1) and how (2).
There is one flawless technique that will help you to get relevant information about how your website personalization influences your customers. And that is A/B testing.
A/B testing helps to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign by comparing your data with more or less stable rates assumed by default. As a result, you will see which solution works best and which does not; which solution drives more impressions and improves conversion rate and which brings no profit at all. However, you should beforehand calculate the estimated results you’d like to get towards the end of your personalization experiment (the deadline must be set up as well, but overall it should be not less than a few weeks period). You can use specialized A/B testing calculator to handle figures more accurately. Also, check Visual Website Optimizer that you can use to test the efficacy of your on-site dynamic content.
Learn from Amazon
Amazon is a good example of a comprehensive online store that has been using personalization since the very first days of its existence. In fact, personalization is one of the main things about the platform that make it so popular among Internet users. Why? Because these guys knew what they wanted in the first place. These guys wanted to build long-standing relationships with their customers by making their store a second home for people from all over the world. Let’s now look at how they actually made it.
The first thing that strikes an eye is a personalized greeting of a registered customer with their first name placed at the top of the page. Moreover, a person will notice that Amazon’s main page link is changed to *username*’s Amazon.com. This is the price for a compulsory registration required to complete a checkout, which, in its turn, is done to provide safe shopping experience for the users.
Another personalized feature on Amazon’s home page is a list of recommendations that might be of interest to a specific user. Recommendations are based primarily on previous customer engagement including product page views, searching, and complete purchases. Amazon’s recommendation engine also features reordering offers, which is especially handy when dealing with cheap domestic products.
Finally, Amazon provides a high-end customer service. Consider their exclusive co-pilot service which enables customers to connect with Amazon representatives in real time and provide them with necessary product web pages to get the most profound consultation regarding their issues.
As you can see, Amazon has a lot of things worth being adopted by E-Commerce businesses that want to take their shoppers seriously. So don’t be afraid to insist on registration at checkout, as it can provide more opportunities for further website personalization. Don’t be afraid to adjust recommendation engines, as the more you know about your customers, the more offers you can make to appeal to them individually. And don’t be afraid to invest into highly qualified customer service, as it can significantly simplify merchant-customer interaction and reduce the possibility of returns.
The best personalization services
Below you will find an overview of the most must-use personalization services that will help you to better understand your customers’ needs, introduce you to effective customer relationship management techniques, and provide your store visitors with the most unique shopping journeys.
Guys from Baynote try to reassure us in that E-Commerce has all the chances to outperform brick and mortar retail in terms of personalization opportunities. Their technology is aimed at being used on any E-Commerce platform to make online stores personalized from the top to the bottom: landing pages, product descriptions, search results, shopping carts, e-mail newsletters, and many more. Specifically, the company’s span of activity covers:
Product recommendations, based on customers’ browsing history;
Content recommendations, increasing the time spent on every page up to 60%;
Personalized on-site search, inferring to customers’ search engine inquires;
Personalized landing pages, showing the most relevant content to each specific visitor;
Advanced e-mailing, increasing the overall response rate to 65%;
Personalized mobile sites and apps, customized to suit users’ needs anywhere and anytime.
The company offers several products, some of them providing more profound personalization than others. The price will vary depending on which product you choose. BaynoteONE is a comprehensive engine capturing every case of store-visitor interaction across various devices, systems, and touchpoints to deliver the most accurate content to every potential customer. BaynoteONE CXP engine captures data about visitor engagement in your store during each session. BaynoteONE VUE is an advanced merchant app that offers a set of handy tools for a comprehensive personalization management, including A/B testing, KPI reporting, and intuitive merchandising controls. Finally, there is also BaynoteONE RTX machine-learning engine that makes smart use of big data in real time to store information about customers’ shopping experience on your website.
Certona is another trusted personalization company which offers high-end solutions to let your customers experience individual shopping approach and the best suiting product recommendations. The company helps to affectively adjust dynamic content to your store so that one and the same page could offer various items depending on previous engagement of your visitors. Certona also provides:
Smart shopper behavior prediction
Smart prediction of shopper behavior and interaction became possible through implementation of continuous profiling and real time targeting. Continuous profiling allows tracking users’ behavior during the first and further sessions on your website. Real time targeting supposes that every visitor’s click will be instantly captured by the personalization engine to provide further improvement of the content being recommended.
Personalized experience management
The key technological advancement of the service is presented by a smart Personalized Experience manager that can detect visitors’ way through your website starting from first interactions. In addition, it automatically implements further user segmentation according to the products they viewed. At the same time, this manager chooses the most appropriate content to be shown to a given visitor and further optimizes it encouraging for making a purchase.
The company is successfully cooperating with more than 500 E-Commerce websites all over the world. It covers the whole range of personalization features required to make your website the best shopping place for every single visitor. Barilliance features:
Behavioral e-mailing aimed at bringing dead shoppers to life;
Personalized product recommendations based on easy-to-understand and machine-learning algorithms;
Effective visitor segmentation and real time targeting which utilizes search engine history, geolocation data, and previous online experience to present shoppers with the most appealing dynamic content, customized e-mail forms and coupons;
Real-time onsite notifications about shoppers’ activity on your website effectively motivating for a purchase, like “x customers are shopping now” or “this product has been purchased x times”, etc.
The company possesses a nice personalization solution which can certainly be of interest to most E-Commerce businesses as it can significantly improve your conversion rate and increase your sales up to 30%. Brainsins offers:
1.Personalized recommendations which can be completely customized by a website owner according to his or her personal preferences. Resulting recommendations will provide personalized shopping experience for every visitor of your store. Moreover, it is possible to extend these recommendations to other active channels engaged in your activity, including desktop, mobile, and others.
2. E-mail retargeting will allow you to make your customer e-mails look unique and personal. In addition, you will manage to create an automated e-mail form which is more likely to bring inactive customers back to their shopping carts.
3. Behavioral targeting is so easy-to-use that you can save up a lot by not hiring any additional IT-experts to implement your personalization strategies. Instead, you can only involve your marketing team and the Brainsins’ specialized editor that will manage to do the task even with fewer efforts. Behavioral targeting itself includes creating strictly limited behavioral rules that can be adapted to the needs of your online store in real time.
4. E-Commerce analytics from Brainsins will help you to get accurate insights into the results of your strategy and take you purchase funnel under the full control. You will also get an access to the service’s management console where you will manage to adjust every tool to changing conditions on your personalized website.