Personalization has been making huge waves in the digital marketing landscape ever since we could remember. The quest to understand a customer’s intentions and needs is the new norm, and it’s every marketer’s priority nowadays. Even Google is all about prioritizing searcher intent.
And yet, even traditional personalization won’t suffice anymore. As bigger data has become much easier to compute and collect, the focus on hyper-personalization has increased tenfold. Moreover, it’s also becoming very commonplace. That’s because hyper-personalization takes traditional personalization techniques a step further.
Hyper-personalization takes traditional personalization and makes greater and better opportunities for marketers to reach out to their customers. Nowadays, knowing how to hyper-personalize e-commerce stores are your ticket to better sales and customer retentions.
You see, the ultimate goal of hyper-personalization is to maximize a marketers’ opportunity to tailor content and web pages that fit every customers’ needs and wants.
The key to doing correct hyper-personalization is through gathering and analyzing data. Indeed, to succeed in online platforms nowadays, there is a need to learn how to hyper-personalize e-commerce stores.
But won’t customers think gathering data for hyper-personalization might be too invasive?
Over the years, but especially in 2018, more and more brands have been coming forward and moving away from basic personalization. And they are right to do so because personalization is a key part of the customer experience.
- 89% of digital businesses were surveyed admitted to investing in personalization. On the other hand, 72% of retailers claimed that they want personalization to happen in-store too (Forrester).
- Basic personalization (like using a customer’s first name on a subject line) fails to engage them in any real way (Pure360).
- 31% of surveyed customers express a desire for a more personalized shopping experience (Infosys).
- 57% of customers are willing to share personal data in exchange for personalized offers or discounts — according to a survey of 7,000 consumers (SalesForce).
- 36% of customers are interested in purchasing personalized products or services (Deloitte study).
And based off of these statistics alone, it’s evident that consumers are willing to give away data to get the level of personalization that they want.
In fact, based on further research conducted by SalesForce, this desire for personalization has turned into an expectation. 62% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized offers or discounts based off of items they’ve already purchased.
On the other hand, HubSpot has also conducted a study highlighting the benefits of adding a touch of personalization to your CTAs. The analysis involved 330,000 CTAs tested over a six-month period. The results revealed that these CTAs converted 202% better than the regular versions.
With that said, the route you should take is clear. You need to know what customers want to successfully hyper-personalize e-commerce stores and give them the experience they really want.
7 Ways to Hyper-personalize E-commerce Stores
Your lack of hyper-personalization in your e-commerce stores might be losing you revenue. In fact, businesses lost $756 billion in the last year due to poor personalization.
On the other hand, when you get it right, you’re prepping yourself up for some great gains — a 15% profit boost by 2020 according to Gartner’s prediction.
Look at the definition of e-commerce personalization according to OptinMonster:
“eCommerce personalization means showing individualized offers, product recommendations, and other content to your visitors based on their previous actions, demographics, and other personal data.”
In other words, practicing and implementing hyper-personalization makes sure that your offers are valid and relevant. Furthermore, studies continue to that personalization is extremely important. 74% of people absolutely hate being shown irrelevant content (Janrain).
The golden rule in this situation is to place customer experience above all — first and foremost.
Mind your Search Results
Again, analyzing and keeping track of customers’ searches can help e-commerce site developers create tailored search results. And one way of developing a tailored search result is by personalizing it.
So how exactly do you make your e-commerce site’s search mechanics more robust and even more user-friendly?
Evergage’s Meera Murthy provided some great insight on enhancing an e-commerce site’s search capabilities. She offers three very useful tips. According to her, you should:
- Reduce the number clicks it would take to find a product: Aim to display products that shoppers are most interested in with as little effort as possible.
- Develop a custom search results page: The following pages should be sorted according to relevance and popularity to a search term — not what’s relevant for a specific customer.
- Give customers easy access to previous results: Provide a visual image of the previously searched item right by the search bar. This is so your customers find what they’re looking for without having to search all over again. You are helping your customers find products they have expressed interest in before.
The key to personalizing a search result is knowing customer’s previous behavior when they visited the site. However, doing this requires the right amount of data. You need to understand each consumer’s preferences and micro-moment.
Knowing this, you can then develop a solution that would allow you to deliver the best experience for each customer visiting your site in real time.
Make Use of Geo-Location Targeting
Geo-targeting, also commonly referred to as local PPC, talks about the practice of bringing different content or ads to your customers based on their geographic locations. And over the years, as we have seen attention shift towards mobile, the effectiveness of geo-location targeting has become more apparent.
In enhancing your e-commerce store’s capability to serve your customers better, here are some practical tips that you can remember:
- Personalize products based on customer location: Two simple factors to consider when you do this is the climate, and interests. Don’t emphasize summer clothes for colder countries and vice versa.
- Advertise free shipping to qualified users: If you’re a brand that has free shipping as an option for your US-based customers only, then don’t advertise free shipping to your customer segments who live outside of the US.
- Automatically change language for your customer’s location: Work on redirecting your customers to their local language to provide them with the best experience possible. Remember that not everybody is as adept with the universal language as some.
- Show location-specific sales and offers
- Redirect customers to the right and location-specific store.
Sort Products According to User’s Interest
When you shop through an e-commerce store, you’re probably already well acquainted with “the following products might interest you,” or “this customer also bought this item.” They pop as notifications, and these are perfect examples of a sophisticated algorithm at work.
For an e-commerce site, you can filter results by user interest with the use of a recommendation system (sometimes called a recommender system, recommendation engine, or recommendation platform).
Based off of the name, it’s an information filtering system that predicts the rating or preference that your customer might give to a particular product or item. What it does is that it analyzes past behaviors and previous orders. And then it automatically searches for interesting as well as similar products for the user.
The recommendation system is part of what makes your customer’s life much easier. Instead of resorting to clicking through innumerable amounts of offers to find the right products, the pre-selection works to exclude irrelevant offers, and instead, display the ones that are best-suited for the user.
A good example of an e-commerce site showing customers products based on their interests is Madison Island. Aside from sorting products according to ratings, prices, and new arrivals, the site also shows returning customers products based on their interests.
It judges this level of interest based on the amount of time a customer spends browsing through a particular product page. Simply put, each customer will see a different orders.
Create Navigation Based on Visitors’ Interests (Cookie Retargeting)
The user’s interests are very important. By now, it’s very well-established that everything done within a website should have the goal of pleasing the customer. Developing navigation that caters to your customer’s interests is no different. And how do you create that kind of navigation for your users?
Before we answer that question, let’s take a moment to discuss this example…
ASOS is an e-commerce store that sells mostly clothing and accessories. My first visit to the page expectedly brought me to the home page. I navigated to the men’s section of the store, looked around for a bit, and left.
When I came back the second time, I was no longer brought to the homepage. The site redirected me back to the men’s section — the page I was looking at before I clicked away.
This is done through retargeting — specifically, cookie retargeting. Doing this helps boost your revenue up to 4x as much. In cookie retargeting, you take information that you already have about the customer and use it to improve content personalization, boost sales, and reclaim profit that’s been lost.
Send Emails Based on User Behavior
Marketing to your customers doesn’t just end when your customer leaves the e-commerce store. In fact, it should continue marketing to prospective customers even when they have clicked away from the site.
And do you know the perfect example of this particular hyper-personalization tactic?
Amazon does this very well. They send follow-up emails, and customized newsletters to remind customers or simply tell them about deals on specific items that they’ve looked at before.
Take the time to create automated trigger emails for each of your properly segmented customers and email subscribers. The following types of trigger emails are ideal to send to customers according to their recent behaviors.
- Welcome emails: the most common, and by far very widely practiced. Make use of this email to establish an immediate connection between your brand and the newbie. Preferably, you should run a series of these. The first one comes as a welcome note; the second one to ask about their preferences, and the ones after are emails tackling discounts and offer they could avail for their future purchases.
- Reminder emails: These come in handy for your customers who left a would-be purchase because of the price. So, when these items are available at a discounted price, be sure to notify your customers.
- Abandoned cart emails: An email like this is meant for a customer who has added items in their cart, but didn’t proceed to checkout with it. Highlighting the abandoned item and offering an accompanying deal or free shipping offer is a good way of giving them that tiny nudge to complete the purchase.
- Restock emails: As a customer, you know how frustrating it is to see your preferred products out of stock. So, restock emails are great for notifying customers who never got a chance to purchase a product before.
- Order confirmation emails: When the checkout process has completed, be sure to send an order confirmation email to your customers, confirming the purchase with an added note on tracking information emails that would follow.
- Re-engagement emails: Evidenced by the name, these type of automated emails are geared towards reviving the bond between a brand and a customer. These could serve as reminders, and as an encouragement for them to visit your website again.
Complementary Product Recommendations
Product recommendations aren’t for your new customers. They’re for your returning ones. Offering complementary product recommendations are a one-is-to-one basis. Some may even say it’s the pique of hyper-personalization.
In recommending the parallel components of the main item, you’ll improve your store’s ability to engage in larger transactions.
As a customer, you know from experience that you sometimes end up not knowing what you want — even when you shop for a specific item on the e-commerce store. Help in the form of complementary product recommendations is appreciated. In doing so, you’re actually helping them finalize your product selection.
A good example of this is Forever 21. They let you shop for an entire outfit, plus suggestions for accessories and other trinkets that would complete the look.
Personalize Offers for Abandoners
Finally, make sure to pay attention to shopping cart abandonment — every e-commerce store’s greatest nightmare. E-commerce sites experience a 69% cart abandonment rate https://baymard.com/lists/cart-abandonment-rate. For this reason, you need to find a way to entice these visitors back to your website.
Abandoned cart emails are the ones you need to send to customers who have previously added products, but jumped ship during checkout. Your abandoned cart email should include:
- Reminders of what was abandoned
- A catchy and compelling message
- Discounts and other offers that persuade people to make the purchase
- Enticing visual content (memes, a customized image, videos)
In a Nutshell
The use of Hyper-personalization in your e-commerce marketing strategies is crucial. And to make it work even better, remember to gather a deep understanding of your own store’s products and your customers. You need to find the appropriate technology, as well, to support your hyper-personalization techniques.
Give your shoppers a seamless online experience. In essence, your techniques should:
- Meet your customers’ needs.
- Avoid turning away customers with poor and unwanted recommendations.
- Be used when you have sufficient resources for it, and when the returns will justify the investment.
And whichever approach you take, employing hyper-personalization techniques is the new norm of e-commerce as more and more companies are stepping away from the traditional method and into the more personalized ones.
Al Gomez is a Digital Marketing Consultant at Dlinkers. Al has over 12 years’ client digital marketing experience and has proven track records of successful projects and expertise in various marketing channels. He is passionate about solving online marketing problems like generating leads and increases in sales.