Today we begin our first column in the website personalization series. In this series we will discuss topics such as website personalization, cart abandonment, product recommendations and social proof.
We begin our series with website personalization, what it is exactly and why you should use it.
What is website personalization?
Imagine you are from Sweden and are browsing Amazon to purchase a coat. The home page shows you electronic devices. You search the word “coat”, click on one item and scroll down, and you see the product recommendations are all for summer dresses and sandals. The items are priced in US Dollars and you see a pop up that says “free shipping to the U.S. on a purchase of more than $50”.
Your experience on the site is irrelevant to who you are, where you are from and what you need. The company is not paying attention to you as an individual, but is rather treating you in a generic manner. This can result in browse or cart abandonment and dissatisfaction with the company.
But, if customers have more relevant experiences and feel taken care of and special, the company can reap many benefits.
One of the most effective tools for this is website personalization. Website personalization is the real-time tailoring of a site to each individual, making predictions based on big data, to create a relevant, unique user experience.
What could be personalized on the website?
Website personalization can be split into three categories.
1. On-site promotions
Companies offer customers on-site promotions in the form of pop-ups and top/bottom banners. These can differ from customer to customer in many ways; the promotion itself (how much discount and what the discount is for), the time limit on the promotion (if there is one and what it is) and location-wise personalization (currency, shipping costs, etc.).
2. Modification of content
Personalization also dictates the modification of content on the site from customer to customer. There is modification of: the visuals, the product categories shown on the main page, the order of items in a category page (when sorted by “most relevant”, “best match”, etc.), the product recommendations (upselling, cross-selling and recently viewed) and social proof notifications. There are many small parts your website can be modified, you only need to be creative, for example, “you are $x away from free shipping” vs. “you qualify for free shipping” depending on cart value).
3. Addition/elimination of content
Personalization can also have content added or eliminated depends on the customer. This includes auto-applied coupon – customers who have the coupon code will have it auto-applied at checkout and those who do not, will not see a coupon code bar at the checkout, to prevent cart abandonment. It also includes auto-filling of some elements in the checkout form (pre-filled or geo-targeting), to shorten the process and reduce the risk of cart abandonment.
How do you personalize your website?
There are many indicators to consider and connect when personalizing the site. They include:
- Product information (e.g. product inventory)
- Real time and past shopper’s engagement: the shopper’s browse shopping history and shopping behavior
- The shopper’s personal indicators:
- Demographics: age, gender, education, ethnicity and more.
- Geographic information (using geo-targeting): city, country, current season, weather and temperature at the location, holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving).
- Time of browsing: month, the day of the week, time of the day.
- Browsing device
- Type of visitor: first time visitor, returning visitor, cart abandoner, etc.
- Social media attributes
Why should you personalize your website?
1. Your customers want personalized sites
Customers are constantly seeking for more personal, unique experiences from businesses.
Why? Because it gives them relevant experiences, making their shopping process short and easy.
74% of shoppers feel frustrated with sites whose content is not related to their interests ( Janrain).
Furthermore, it gives customers a consistent experience and makes them feel unique and taken care of.
Being presented with personalized omni-channel experience, 87% say it would increase their loyalty and 88% are more likely to shop at that company ( Swirl Networks, 2015). Being presented with personalized product recommendations, 45% say they are more likely to shop at such site ( Invesp).
Furthermore, customers value personalization so much that 57% of them are ok with providing personal information for this purpose, as long as it is used for their benefit and in responsible ways ( Janrain).
2. Personalization and revenues
Website personalization has clear benefits on company’s success. The most common benefits of personalization, according to infosys, are increased sales (74%), increased profit (61%), increased online traffic (58%) and increased customer loyalty (55%). Other benefits include: higher visit duration, customer engagement, product views and site visits, as well as higher average order value.
Companies with website personalization specifically, experience an average of 19% increase in sales ( CMO). Particularly, personalized product recommendations generate 12% of total revenues and customers who clicked have a 5.5 times higher conversion rates than those who did not ( Barilliance).
How can you personalize your website?
To implement website personalization use software providers, such as Barilliance. Such software let you segment your shoppers by defining tags for them and then match tags with the appropriate type(s) of website personalization.
Remember to find a balance of website personalization, as to not overwhelm your customers and drive them away.
You should let your customers know how you will use their personal information to improve their experience (personalizing the site), as 77% of shoppers said they would trust businesses more this way ( Janrain) and will therefore be more willing to provide information.
Lastly, an important practice is to experiment with different tags and messages while continuously measuring your performance to optimize your website’s personalization.
Credit Inbar Granat