It’s quite clear to see that customers crave personalization. According to Accenture’s study, a shocking 91% of consumers agreed that they would be more likely to buy from a brand that remembered details about them to provide personalized touches.
However, many online businesses seem to struggle with making impactful personalization a part of their marketing process. Customized experiences are not easy to create; they require large amounts of consumer data and strategic application.
In order to create an online store that meets your customer’s expectations in terms of personalization, you will want to include the features that will give more “bang for your buck”, so to speak. Here are four easy ways to integrate personalization into your e-commerce site that will have the biggest impact.
1. Think about the Consumer Benefits
Before you even start looking at opportunities for personalization, it is crucial that you have a strategy in mind. The key here is to always consider the way that personalization will benefit the customer, not just your business. Just because you can offer something that is personalized doesn’t mean that it will necessarily have a positive impact on conversions.
For starters, it helps a lot to use your customer reviews to figure out current pain points and the little problems that could be improved with personalization. It is important to note here that your negative reviews can actually be quite helpful. This is because they shed an unfiltered light on your business’s current weak points.
For example, in one of these customer reviews for Trustpilot, a customer complained about the user interface of the SaaS software and mentioned trouble when it came to working with the compliance team.
The suggestions that the customer offered for auto-population and notification systems were sent off to the design team to roll those features out with the next update.
Although this is not hyper-personalization in the traditional sense, it shows that listening to your customers’ needs is the most important step of making progress. Be sure that every personalized feature you choose to offer has a direct benefit to your customers first.
2. Focus on Right Place, Right Time Communication
Personalized communication systems can have a big impact on customers, specifically when the messaging is relevant to that specific customer based on data. For example, sending out a text message when a customer is near a store location or emailing them a discount offer after they visit your website can influence them to make a purchase.
By tracking customer behavior, you can automatically reach out based on their actions through trigger-based marketing, such as reminding them about an item left in their cart that’s about to go out of stock or notifying them that an item they viewed is now on sale.
Sephora does an excellent job of this through their personalized email marketing. After a certain amount of time has passed since a purchase, Sephora will send a reminder to re-purchase – along with additional product suggestions that are personalized to the customer. The email is also customized by location, showing the receiver where they can find their favorite product at the store closest to them.
One of the reasons why personalization works so well is because it makes customers feel like the brand really “gets them.” In order to make a customer feel important and understood, you will need to know when and how to interact with them.
3. Offer Personalized Predictive Search
Offering a more optimized navigational system to your website can positively impact the UX, which will help to boost conversions. One of the best ways to customize your website for each customer is through personalized predictive search.
By using a personalized search tool, your website can offer more customized results based on that customer’s past views and clicks. For example, if they have viewed a red t-shirt in the past, the moment that the word “red” is typed in to the search bar, a prediction of t-shirt will also pop up. This is super helpful for customers looking for items they have already viewed or similar products that fall under a similar category.
Amazon does a great job of customizing the search process by basing their predictive suggestions on each customer’s past views and purchases. For example, when a customer types in “vitamin C” to the search bar, their options are going to vary based on their past searches. If they have recently purchased cold medicine, they will probably be looking for vitamin C supplements. However, if they were looking at skin care products, then a vitamin C serum would be a more relevant predictive suggestion.
4. Make Personalization Customizable
The tricky part about personalization is that it requires customers to share their personal data, such as their demographic information, product preferences, and shopping patterns.
Thankfully, customers are becoming more comfortable dealing with the fact that their online behaviors are being tracked by companies. In fact, 83% of online consumers stated they would be willing to share more of their information with brands if it meant that they could have more personalized experiences. However, 74% admitted that they would prefer to have a two-way dialogue with brands to give them more control over the data they shared, as well as the experiences and offers they would receive in return.
The best way to gain your customer’s trust and improve their experience is by allowing them to choose how you reach out, how often, and how much of their information can be tracked. Include an opt-out button and explain what data you track and how the information is used to benefit the customer specifically.
Google does a great job of this by allowing account users to customize their usage information and data sharing. Users can also personalize their ad targeted experience from Google by managing their activity tracking and controlling how much of their information is allowed to be shared with advertisers.
Personalization can help to set your brand apart from your competitors and attract more customers. However, you need to be sure that the personalization you are offering has a direct impact on the user experience and a positive influence on conversions. By focusing on features that benefit both your customers and your business, you can create a better experience that helps your company grow.