Improving the shopping experience with eCommerce personalisation

Have you ever been tempted to send your latest content, message or promotion to your entire database, in the hope of reaching the largest possible audience? It seems logical that the more people that see your content, the more conversions you’ll achieve. Unfortunately for brands, a large reach doesn’t always result in engagement and in many cases adds little value to sales.

The challenge with trying to reach a large audience is that messages become generic and untargeted, resulting in many customers receiving irrelevant content. The impact on the customer experience is huge and 74% of consumers get frustrated when website content has nothing to do with them, yet 38% of companies are still not delivering any personalisation. To drive quality traffic and build positive customer relationships for your eCommerce brand across the entire customer journey, you should steer clear of mass market communications and take a serious look at customer segmentation and personalised marketing.

Whether you are a complete novice or already familiar with eCommerce personalisation, there are a range of tactics for every level that will improve personalisation on your eCommerce website and positively impact the customer experience you deliver.

1. Utilising the customer data you already have

Each customer will hand over a wealth of basic information when they sign up for an online account, which you need to make good use of. Using a customer’s first name for example, is personalisation in its most basic form. Most retailers will already be using this in one way or another, usually in emails and subject lines where the technique is particularly effective and leads to a 10% increase in average remarketing email open rates compared to non-personalised subject lines. First name personalisation can also be used on-site, with custom call to actions (CTAs) or landing pages. Your ability to personalise onsite will depend largely on the technology you have in place, such as your website content management system (CMS).

You should also be sure to record the date that each customer registers for their account and use this to send them special anniversary messages or discounts. In many cases, you will also ask your customers for their date of birth. Using this to wish customers a happy birthday and give them a special gift (think 20% off or a free gift when they spend over a certain amount) to build a more positive relationship with each customer by showing you care about something meaningful to them. As a result, you are also encouraging them to purchase something from your website, result!

Start by identifying what technology, processes and capabilities you have in place and then create a list of all the ways in which you could be using these to address customers more personally, with the data you have to hand.

2. Behavioural personalisation

Build on personalisation that uses customer details by also incorporating behavioural personalisation into your eCommerce shopping experience. This type of personalisation is driven by the actions a customer takes on your eCommerce website, such as when they put an item in their cart but don’t complete their purchase. When this event occurs, you can display relevant onsite messaging to remind them to checkout. Different behavioural triggers that warrant tailored messaging include; whether a visitor is a new or returning customer, whether they are inactive on the page or about to exit their browsing, and whether they have started the checkout process but not completed.

By understanding their frustration and adapting messaging accordingly, you will make it easier for them to proceed. Personalised messaging of this kind is highly effective in helping customers to find and make the purchases they want. As a result, they are likely to feel positive about their interaction with your brand and you have a higher chance of converting online carts into sales.

3. Personalised product recommendations

Product recommendation is an extremely popular technique, used by retailers across the board as a means of gaining exposure for additional products in the hope of increasing their average order value (AOV). Customer profiling identifies your different customer segments, from which you can develop buyer personas for the specific segments and attributes you want to focus your efforts on – your ideal customers. You can use these personas to deliver more advanced personalisation at segment level. For example, if you are a shoe brand and you have identified one of your personas as; 18-35 year-old, female, active, gym-goer and looking to enhance athletic performance, you can then start to promote relevant messaging, products and discounts for customers with these attributes.

Whilst product recommendation can be effective in any form, such as recommendations of similar products or additional items in a range, by personalising the recommendations so that they are more relevant to each individual customer’s wants and needs, you are increasing the likelihood of that recommendation turning into a purchase. According to research by Accenture, two-thirds of consumers (65 percent) said they are more likely to make a purchase in store or online from a retailer that sends them relevant and personalised promotions. In order to deliver personalised recommendations, retailers need to be harnessing persona characteristics, purchasing data, browsing data, demographics information and more to build a picture of what it is that each customer is interested in. To effectively deliver this level of personalisation, chances are you will need to invest, as technology must play a helping hand in turning data insights into actions to power the recommendation engine.

4. Omni-channel personalisation

Brands that can deliver personalisation without the need for a customer to be logged into their online account, and that can do so across multiple channels, are difficult to compete with. With consumers today expecting the same level of individualised service and shopping experience across every channel they use during their shopping journey, brands that can deliver this have the greatest chance of creating a memorable and effective customer experience.

As we outline in ‘A retailer’s guide to digital customer experience’, omni-channel requires brands to be delivering seamless, consistent interactions with consumers across all channels. It’s no good spending large budgets on digital advertising to drive people to your site if the landing page they are taken to doesn’t deliver the same consistent experience. To deliver full-funnel personalisation, retailer’s must collect as much information as possible about each customer, how they interact across devices and what their behaviours are. This then needs to be utilised in real-time (rather than in hindsight), in order to deliver a truly personalised and relevant experience. In essence, through an advanced understanding and use of data and technology, you will start to know what is next for each customer and therefore get closer to achieving segmentation and personalisation for an audience of one.

Personalisation is evolving at a rapid rate and retailers must act now to start building more personal experiences that meet the demands of their customers. No matter how advanced your brand’s digital and technological capabilities are, you can be making small steps towards providing more relevant and tailored engagements with your brand. With the foundations in place, you can move your efforts onto more advanced personalisation which will transform the way you deliver the shopping experience.

Find out how Ve’s solutions can personalise digital experiences for your customers to help them find and make the purchases they want.



Retailer's guide: Customer experience

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Retailer's guide: Customer experience

Posted by Emily Atkinson