Online shoppers are diverse. They come from a variety of backgrounds, have different pain points and their own unique preferences. So delivering a generic E-commerce experience has become increasingly ineffective.
What we’re seeing these days is a collective dissatisfaction among many consumers when online businesses fail to hit the mark.
A recent report from Infosys found that 31 percent of customers wish their shopping was more personalized that it currently is, and 74 percent feel frustrated when an E-commerce store isn’t personalized and shows irrelevant content.
Fortunately, it’s not all that difficult to cater to each person’s individual needs.
Here are some ways to personalize the customer journey to deliver the best possible experience.
1. Personalized homepage
Let’s start from the top—the homepage. The second that a visitor lands on your homepage, you can adjust the content they see so that it reflects where they’re at in the sales funnel.
Say that one person recently visited a particular product section of your E-commerce store. You could make it so they are shown relevant products that they’ve expressed interested in. Doing so would encourage them to check out those products further and give more consideration to making a purchase.
But say that there’s another person who’s likely to churn. You would likely want to show them in-app offers and promotions to encourage further exploration and keep them from leaving. This would encourage more engagement by enticing them with discounts.
Using deep configs allows you to seamlessly make changes to your homepage at runtime and create a customized experience based on a user’s action.
2. Personalized site search
Many websites/apps feature search bars where customers can enter a search term to find what they’re looking for without any hassle. It’s quick and convenient.
But you can enhance this feature even more by using personalized site search where a person receives unique results based on their previous search history and purchasing behavior.
Here’s a simple example.
Say you’re running an online clothing store and you’ve got two visitors—a male and a female—both of which have made purchases in the past.
Each of them enters the term “shirt” into the search bar. The male would be directed to men’s shirts, and the woman would be directed to women’s shirts.
This is a great way to streamline the process and match your customers with the products they’re looking for with minimal effort on their end.
3. Geographic location targeting
A customer’s location is a common form of user based segmentation that can make your offers more customized and appealing. It works by looking at a visitor’s IP address and adjusting your content based on their city, state, country, etc.
One example is to display products that are popular in a certain region. For instance, Alloy Apparel—a clothing company for tall women—has a feature on their site that displays popular clothing for a particular state.
So if a customer was located in Texas, they would see a section entitled “Most popular right now in Texas” along with some of the top picks for that area.
4. Current weather
Another way to tweak your offers according to location is to take current weather into account.
Let’s use an online clothing store as an example again. Say that it’s January and two different people are browsing your site. One person is located in Seattle and the other is in Miami.
For the Seattle-based customer, you might want to feature a cold weather jacket—perhaps one that’s waterproof.
But for the Miami-based customer, you might want to feature something lighter like warm weather shirts instead.
Even though customers are arriving at the exact same E-commerce store, the needs of one customer may be completely different than another’s simply based on the weather. This tactic addresses that perfectly.
5. Recommended products
Amazon is the master of this. Any time you log into their site, you see a list of recommended products based on what you previously viewed and purchased.
And more often than not, they’re right on the money with their recommendations where they feature items that you’re genuinely interested in.
This is an excellent way to segment your visitors and help guide them through the buying process. After all, if they’ve already expressed interest in a certain type of product, the chances are good that they’ll be interested in relevant recommendations.
Now there are three main angles you can take here.
- Upsell – This is where you feature higher-end alternatives that offer even more quality
- Cross-sell – This revolves around displaying complementary products (e.g. featuring a tripod for a customer who just purchased a camera)
- “Customers also bought” – You include relevant products that previous customers have also purchased along with the item a person is looking at
What’s interesting is the impact this tactic can have. Salesforce’s Personalization in Shopping report found that while, “visits where the shopper clicked a recommendation comprise just 7 percent of visits, but drive an astounding 24 percent of orders and 26 percent of revenue.”
Not only does the average order value go through the roof, it often leads to repeat business. In fact, “37 percent of shoppers that clicked on a recommendation during their first visit returned, compared to just 19 percent for shoppers that didn’t click a recommendation during their first visit.”
That’s nearly double and shows that there’s a correlation between recommended products and brand loyalty.
6. Personalized best sellers
By and large, customers trust the crowd’s recommendations. If certain products are purchased more frequently than others, this can influence their decision to buy those products as well.
But you can take this one step further by offering personalized best sellers. Rather than simply including best sellers at large, you narrow it down a bit and feature best sellers from a particular category instead.
In the case of an online clothing store, you may include your best selling hats if a visitor was previously exploring your hats section instead of featuring best selling clothing in general.
7. Category-specific discounts
Who doesn’t love a discount?
More than 9 out of 10 of customers use a coupon or discount at some point during the year. It’s a time-honored promotional strategy that continues to work incredibly well.
But you can personalize the customer journey even more by showing category-specific discounts.
Say that someone has been viewing the boots section of your online clothing store. You could offer them a 20 percent discount that’s specifically for boots. This is far more likely to capture their attention and motivate them to purchase than if you offered a generic discount for the masses.
Simply modify the copy variations being sent for a hyper-personalized experience.
8. Reminders of previously viewed products
Say that a visitor spent some time browsing through your clothing E-commerce store but didn’t actually buy anything. However, they spent a considerable amount of time looking at blouses.
One final way to personalize the customer journey and maximize conversions is to remind them of what they previously viewed—in this case, some specific blouses. This way they can pick up right where they left off.
Maybe they were highly interested the first time around but weren’t quite ready to make the purchase. This retargeting technique subtly reminds visitors of the items they checked out and makes it convenient for them to view them once again.
While it won’t work all of the time, this can certainly influence a percentage of visitors to go ahead and complete a purchase. At the same time, it’s beneficial for them because they don’t have to start their search from scratch.
Creating a unique experience for every single customer
It’s simple. The more you segment your customer base and personalize the E-commerce experience, the happier your customers will be.
After all, who wants to waste their time manually sifting through a huge list of products and promotions to find the single one they’re looking for?
Luckily, technology has created some amazing opportunities for E-commerce stores to personalize the customer journey. It’s simply a matter of knowing which elements to personalize in order to remove friction for the customer and increase their odds of converting.
And considering that more than three out of four customers have chosen, recommended or even paid more when a brand offers a personalized experience, this is a strategy that makes sense on every level.