Dynamic Personalization Inspiration for Ecommerce Websites + How to Get Started

Jillean Kearney
Jillean Kearney
Jan 5, 2016

Three-fourths of online consumers like when brands cater messaging and offers to their interests; and about the same amount of online consumers get frustrated with websites that display content irrelevant to their interests.

Enter: dynamic personalization, an increasingly important Ecommerce tool.

By employing different data and tools, online retailers have the ability to deliver specific messages, product suggestions, experiences and more to online customers.

Now, the pleasant in-store experience of an attentive and knowledgeable sales associate picking out, for example, the perfect outfit can be carried across to a retailer's website for a shopper-friendly experience.

Below is some personalization inspiration – little ways (and a couple of more involved ways) to provide unique shopping experiences for website visitors. Then, below that, are tips on how to get started (including what tools you'll need to build out this awesome and engaging new feature).

Website Personalization Inspiration

1. Present First-time Visitors with a Welcome Message

Personalization starts here.

One of the biggest hurdles online retailers struggle with is getting website visitors to make their very first purchase. The second, third, and fourth purchases are a lot easier to reel in. 

Welcome first-time visitors with a special offer  a coupon code, free samples, etc. A simple offer right off the bat is a great way to ingratiate yourself with new visitors and encourage a purchase.

2. Dynamic Homepage Banners

For return visitors, why not re-engage them by displaying a homepage banner directly relevant to their browsing and/or purchasing history?

Let's use the example of a sporting goods retailer. If a visitor is returning after viewing or purchasing hockey-related items, a hockey-themed banner and links to relevant products/promotions is a nice welcome back. They'll get to where they want to go in just one easy click.

3. Ensure that your Content Marketing Efforts are Reaching the Right Visitor

For retailers that produce content, it's a great idea to integrate content with a product base.

On product pages, provide links to how-tos, videos, etc. that are relevant to the featured project and each visitor's user activity.

This can also work both ways. Promote products within your content marketing. If a user's activity indicates a particular interest in a topic, get creative in getting relevant products in front of them while they're viewing your content. 

4. Personalized Messages and Offers for Cart Abandoners

Personalized messages for shopping cart abandoners can go along way.

It's very common for these types of messages to include a coupon code as an incentive to complete the purchase, but instead of a generic percentage-off offer, a better tactic is too provide an offer based off of the visitor's shopping cart value.

A 10% off coupon code isn't a big incentive for a $30 cart, but a $5 off coupon code makes more of an impact. On the other hand, 10% is a lot of savings for a visitor that racked up a $300 cart.

An easy way to accomplish this is to create segments based on shopping cart value (we walk through creating and applying segments below).

5. Location-based Messaging & Offers – Specifically Regarding Shipping Costs

A major reason why visitors abandon their shopping carts is because shipping costs end up being a lot higher than expected.

To combat this, it's important to clearly communicate shipping costs (especially for international visitors).

It's very helpful to provide information about shipping costs (rates, special offers, etc.) based on a visitor's location upfront. Place this information in a spot that can't be missed as a user browses through your site – a small banner at the very top of a browser is ideal.

6. Don't Ask Subscribers for their Email

It's really annoying to be asked to subscribe to a mailing list after you've already subscribe to. So, don't do it. This will provide a better customer experience on your website.

Configuring email pop-ups to only appear for non-subscribers is a very simple but effective (and appreciated) personalization feature.

7. A Product Recommendation Engine

If you've ever shopped Amazon, you know how much wallets hate the "people who bought this also bought..." section. Recommending products to shoppers based off of what they've already looked at or what's in their cart is a great way to boost units per transaction. 

The ROI on recommendation engines has been a big success for many online retailers. A recent study found that website visitors who click on a product recommendation are 5.5x more likely to purchase than a visitor that resists the temptation. 

How to Get Started with Personalization

1. Pick a Personalization Tool and A Segmentation Tool

Getting started with dynamic personalization is dependent on acquiring the right tools and technology.

A barrier that many retailers are facing is the inability to integrate the necessary technology into their existing systems. But, that barrier isn't as prevalent as it once was thanks to personalization tools like Optimizely and VWO that are very easy to integrate with content management systems.

These tools aren't enough though, and you'll also need a compatible segmentation tool that will sync, in real-time, with your personalization tool.

It's important to note that a personalization tool like Optimizely does offer basic segmentation functionality. The second segmentation tool, like Sauce for example, is necessary if you want to create segments based on real-time behaviors like browsing history.

2. Build Out Your Segments within Your Segmentation Tool

Within your segmentation tool, the options are endless when it comes to the types of segments you can create. For example, for clothing retailers, you can create segments based on:

  • Visitors that have purchased women's products

  • Visitors that have purchased men's products

  • Visitors who have only browsed/shopped tops

  • A visitor's location

  • Visitors that abandon their shopping carts

  • Shopping cart value

  • Whether a visitor is a first-time shoppers or a return shopper

Once your segments are created, they'll need to be synced with your personalization tool.

3. Launch Your Campaign with Your Personalization Tool

Depending on the segments you've created, you'll be able to design and produce campaigns so that each segment sees the content/offers that are relevant to them.

The great thing about using a personalization tool is that you can apply your synced segments and campaigns to your website without ever going near your website's code. 

4. Make Mistakes and Apply What You've Learned from Them

Applying dynamic personalization isn't something you can just do once and walk away from while it hums gently in the background of your website.

Personalization is something that requires iteration in order to make sure that you're doing it right and that each visitor is fully experiencing a website personalized to them and their interests. 

So, use your personalization tool to benchmark how campaigns are impacting actions and transactions on your site. If you're not seeing the results that you want, experiment until you do!

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