Don’t Take It Personal, but Your Shopping Site Needs Personalizing

Your Shopping Site Needs Personalization

Topics: Digital Experience

E-commerce shoppers want more personalized experiences. One-size-fits-all is no longer an acceptable strategy for greeting online visitors and serving them with promotional offers and other content. The likes of Amazon and Walmart have forever altered consumer expectations, which now call for a unique, tailored customer experience.

Merkle’s senior thought leader, chairman and CEO David Williams, stated that “the ultimate goal is to create more relevant and personalized experiences that drive incremental sales and lifetime value.” That’s why Merkle and Axis41 stress the importance of studying both customer and third-party data to understand the behaviors of those who already have a relationship with your brand.

With the proliferation of technologies like machine learning, implementing a robust personalization strategy may seem overwhelming. Yet there are many simple strategies that can accomplish a more personalized customer experience and be implemented in the short term.

How is personalization changing in 2019 and beyond?

The future for creating personalized customer experiences is bright. Many industry observers feel that the time is right for increasing investment in these efforts. Some examples include:

  • Lev Shur, President of Exadel, makes a prediction for 2019 in MarTech Advisor that “we will see personalization at scale take form in 2019.” He asserts that the key is to keep potential customers engaged for as long as possible, noting that there are many paths that can be taken around a website.
  • Salesforce says the first step to deliver on personalization is to understand that “what people really want from a personalized experience is to feel recognized and understood as an individual.” It’s worth the effort for marketers to discover this as personalization tactics are proven to drive sales.
  • Anudit Vikram of Dun & Bradstreet says he expects personalization strategies to become more mature in 2019, according to a CMO by Adobe article. He explains that “to truly unlock the value of personalization, companies must first create a unified view of their customers.”
  • Gartner predicts that by 2020, smart personalization engines will help digital businesses to increase their profits by up to 15 percent.

What are some trends in personalization?

Hypothetically, let’s say you’re shopping for dresses.

After a quick Google search, you click a link and arrive on a new website. Now what? Well, that all depends on how well the brand personalizes visits for new prospective customers on their website. Do they trigger a special offer for you to save on your first purchase? Or do they display an overlay to capture your email?

No matter which customer message the site decides to send you next, it should be the first of many opportunities that allow you to enjoy personalized add-ons in your customer experience. Marketers have many good options on how to do this.

Some of the most effective personalization trends today include:

  • Recommendations: Customize the “You might also like” prompts by basing them on past browsing or purchase behavior. Make it about what the shopper wants to buy, not what you want to sell.
  • Geo-Location Targeting: Display a local version of your site or promote localized product offerings or content based on retail stores in the area. You can also call up details about shipping information based on location.
  • Personalized Offers: Use your homepage banner to customize the offers shown to previous visitors. Target the product categories they’ve viewed in the past, or target products from shopping cart abandonment. Also consider personalized offers upon exit.
  • Onboarding Customers: Based on what you know about new customers, you can call up specific messaging to educate them about your products. Or you can trigger a series of onboarding emails to get them up to speed.
  • AI and Machine Learning: Instead of using a rules-based approach to call up the next suggested content or product, leave that decision to AI, which automatically serves up information based on what is already known about the customer (preferences and behaviors).

Refine your personalization strategy

Moving toward a one-to-one customer experience not only delights your customers, but also increases profitability. It’s important to include personalization as part of your overall customer strategy. Personalization strategy is also partly dependent upon your technology stack. Because of this, it’s wise to dig deep and determine if your tech stack can get you to where you want to go.

To learn more about how to refresh your personalization strategy along with your website refresh, contact Axis41, A Merkle Company, today.