Just think for a second of Brick-and-mortar retailers. It’s clear they understand the importance of personalization. Furthermore, you will often see them using tactics like salesperson interactions and sensory enhancements to create a personalized shopping experience. The reason they invest so much into personalization is because customized experiences increase customer satisfaction and loyalty – which is the ultimate goal for any shop owner, right?
While online retail may not have possibilities (yet) to offer in-person interaction of a salesperson, modern technology provides many opportunities for personalizing the online shopping experience. By utilizing tools for personalization, online retailers can deliver a truly customized and satisfying shopping experience for their customers.
As an online shop owner, you may have considered how to bring the personal touch to your customer’s shopping experience. The good news is, there are various strategies you can implement. My recommendation would be to start with more simple ones and gradually move to more advanced techniques.
So, how can you personalize online shopping experience for your customers?
Utilizing visitors’ behavior data and marketing automation is one of the effective ways to begin personalizing the online shopping experience. This approach enables businesses to offer unique experiences to customers, resulting in increased sales and customer satisfaction.
Let’s look at some of the behavioral data you can utilize for customization (these are also the ones I often use in my work):
- Type of visitor (new or repeat)
- Traffic source
- Pages viewed
- Number of touchpoints with the site
Now, I will share some practical examples and I will start with new visitor segment.
One of the biggest challenges is probably applying personalization to the new visitors as usually there is limited data available compared to repeat visitors. Nevertheless, with a well-planned strategy, there is a way to apply personalization for new visitors too.
Bear in mind that when a new visitor comes to your online store for the first time, it’s common for them to be in the “browsing” stage. They are exploring your offerings and gathering information. This also means they may leave the site without making a purchase. However, even in this early stage, offering customization and providing a great customer experience can increase the chances of conversion.
Utilizing the traffic source and search keywords can help you tailor the landing page to the prospects’ needs. By making sure the landing page resonates with the search terms, you can provide a personalized experience from the start.
Moreover, you can consider implementing and leveraging a chatbot to deliver proactive and appealing messages. This can greatly improve the visitor experience and increase the chances of conversion.
The second example we are going to look at is personalization for repeat visitors.
These visitors have already visited your site (multiple times) but have not converted yet.
For that reason, it is important to utilize the data collected from their previous visits (e.g. browsing history, drop-off points, number of visits, etc.) to provide a customized experience when they return.
Personalization strategies for repeat visitors could include:
Product recommendations: this is a technique, which you may have also observed in many online stores. The reason why it is used so often is because it has a profound impact on sales. By utilizing this strategy, it means you will suggest products to potential customers based on their previous browsing history. When I reflect on my personal shopping experiences and expectations. For sure when I am in a stage of collection information I will go to many different stores and view different products but then when I return I do expect from the store to display my browsing history – as who wants to hassle with searching the same products again?
Price sensitivity: If you operate in a competitive environment and have identified that you have a specific segment of customers who may be price sensitive, you can leverage this information to provide incentives, such as a discount on the first purchase, bundled products, free delivery, etc., to entice them to buy from your online store.
In addition, you can also apply the urgency and scarcity tactics by not only offering discounts but also limited time offers. By displaying that the offer will soon expire you will add an extra layer of motivation for the potential buyers to act quickly and in this way increase the chances of conversion.
Free Trial: In the software industry, a free trial offer can be an effective way to convince potential buyers who are not yet ready to make a purchase. If you have a significant number of repeat visitors who have not yet converted, but continue to visit your online store, you may want to consider offering them personalized offer. This tailored approach could increase the chances of conversion.
In my opinion, for repeat visitors who are hesitant to purchase, offering a free trial can be a valuable way to allow them to try the software solution and ensure it meets their needs before making a purchase.
As a third example, let’s take a look at the topic of personalization for the abandoners at checkout.
When visitors reach the checkout stage, it’s clear that they are near to finalizing their purchase decision. However, despite this, the checkout still experiences a substantial rate of abandonments, with roughly 50% of online shoppers dropping off right at the checkout. This also means that online store owners have an excellent opportunity to engage with interested buyers and provide a personalized touch that may lead to a successful conversion.
In fact, there are many personalization tactics that can be applied to checkout abandoners segment:
- Simple tactics such as offering live chat with a tailored message to visitors who are hesitating during the checkout process can help uncover any obstacles and guide them through the purchase.
- For those who still abandon the checkout despite all efforts to convert them, personalized follow-up tactics such as: targeted ads or email and customized landing pages with special offers can be used to win them back.
These are just a few of the personalization strategies that you can implement in your online shop. I tried to focus on tactics that are not overly complex yet can lead to significant improvements in customer satisfaction and sales. In addition to the personalization strategies I mentioned, there are also other more advanced tactics like: dynamic pricing, personalized email campaigns, customized product bundles, etc.. But I will write more about this in some of my future articles.