It’s tough enough for ecommerce retailers to bring steady traffic to their sites.
With a quality customer acquisition strategy in place, and with effective tactics like SEO, social media marketing and content marketing, site owners do succeed in driving traffic to the site. And that’s awesome!
But what happens after visitors land on your site? How do you engage with them and make sure they stay on your site?
What is the key to customer engagement?
“56% of consumers say they would be more inclined to use a retailer if it offered a good personalized experience.”[source: O2’s ‘The Rise Of Me-Tail’ study]
Shoppers today are willing to share information with ecommerce sites, and in return they expect to see products specific to their preferences.
Personalization helps sites do exactly that. So how can site owners use it to increase customer engagement and guarantee conversions?
In this post, I’ve listed 5 simple ways to personalize your ecommerce site.
1: Personalized Product Recommendations – attributed by Amazon.com to account for as much as 35% of their conversions[source: SmartInsights]
- Personalized recommendation engines– such as the service provided by Unbxd, analyze a visitor’s on-site behavior to identify brand, category, price preferences and so on.
- Recommendations widgets like ‘Recommended for you’, ‘You may also like’, ‘People who bought this also bought’ etc. help visitors discover more products related to the products they’re looking at or have seen before.
In the image below, Amazon showcases products similar to ones I’ve seen earlier.
- ConversionXL.com – How to Use Personalized Content and Behavioral Targeting For Improved Conversions
- SmartInsights.com – Amazon.com Case Study
2: Personalized Discounts – target individual visitors with discounts on products they’ve already shown interest in
Discounts are a tried and tested way to increase sales. Tailored discounts take this tactic a step further.
Webengage is a personalized notification tool that lets you customize notifications and offer personalized discounts to visitors on your site.
According to SmartInsights, you should be smart about the way you offer these cart abandonment discounts, to avoid cannibalizing your own sales (when customers expect discounts and intentionally wait before buying.) You can do this if you:
- Only offer the abandonment incentives to potential new customers, and/or…
- Only offered abandonment incentives to high-value customers who have been inactive to tempt them back, and increase their lifetime value (LTV)
- SmartInsights.com – Case study: using the right incentives in cart abandonment emails
- Apparel.edgl.com – How to Increase Revenue with Dynamic & Personalized Offers
3: Location-Based Personalization – 62% of adults under 34 are willing to share their location get more relevant content[Source: JiWire]
That’s a notable shift in online shoppers who don’t mind sharing location or other personal details to get more relevant results.
Certain sites use location-based personalization to customize information like currency, shipping address etc.
This makes it easy for visitors to discern if a particular site ships to their location and helps them get on with their purchase journey immediately.
Gap, for example, identifies the location of the customer and shows a pop-up asking visitors to confirm their country and currency details. It uses this information to show prices in the relevant currency and avoids confusion at the checkout stage.
- Mobile Marketer – The rise of location-based personalized shopping
- Mobile Commerce Daily – Macy’s, shopkick up the ante for personalized shopping
4: Word-of-mouth referrals from friends – trusted by 92% of consumers over all other forms of advertising[source: Nielsen]
Referral programs– such as those provided by our friends at ReferralCandy– allow customers make recommendations to friends and family, inviting them to sign up or buy products. Here, both the customer and their referrals receive either a discount or some sort of a reward. A sweet deal for everyone.
Receiving a discount from a friend or family member is a lot more personal than receiving yet another ‘Mega Sale’ email and this is how referral programs can establish a human connection.
- GrowthHackers.com – An Epic List Of 47 Referral Programs
- ReferralCandy – 20+ Compelling Quotes, Stats and Studies about the Effectiveness Of Word-Of-Mouth
5: Personalized Emails – 6 times more effective than bulk emails at lifting transaction rates and revenue-per-email[Source: Experian]
Email is a critical piece of any ecommerce marketing strategy that helps convert browsers into buyers. Sending personalized emails to visitors keeps you on top of your visitor’s minds, making them more likely to convert.
Here’s an awesome example of a personalized email by ModCloth. They sent me an email reminding me about a dress I’d added to my shopping cart:
- blog.getresponse.com – Case Study: Personalization Generates Unique Open Rate of 73%
- Econsultancy – 10 case studies that show the power of email segmentation
BONUS: 6. Personalized Customer Support – customers who chat are 3x more likely to buy again[Source: Olark]
While shopping online, visitors often need help with sizing, shipping information, return policies etc. If it’s too much of a hassle, they might simply bounce off the site.
An immediate, proactive response from a knowledgeable customer support rep can help visitors make a quick decision and complete their purchase.
Olark helps you do exactly that. They track on-site behavior such as product clicks and cart additions, which you can then use can be used to provide personalized customer service.
Here’s how Olark tracks real-time cart information of a visitor:
- blog.ownerlistens.com – Customer Service Case Study: Personalized Communication and the Coffee Wars
- Olark – Using Olark (case studies)
So there you go! Not 5 but 6 awesome ways to use personalization to engage your customers.
What do you do to engage customers on your site? How has personalization worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.
A recap of the tools mentioned in the post:
- Unbxd – Personalized product recommendations with actionable insights and reporting
- WebEngage – On-site customer acquisition suite
- ReferralCandy – Automated, customizable customer referral programs with analytics
- Olark – Personalized emails to engage your customers