eCommerce Personalization: Top Low-Cost Strategies for SMBs

Cici Nguyen
Jun 7, 2024
3 min read

More than half of online consumers expect a personalized shopping experience as a standard. Although eCommerce personalization is not new in the online retail industry, merchants still find it challenging to keep up with the growing demands and their distinctiveness. However, not all brands can afford pricey personalization solutions due to a tight budget. Don’t worry! To help you stay competitive, let’s learn from the best and see how these brands rollout hyper-relevant and compelling campaigns.

What is eCommerce Personalization?

Personalization in eCommerce is the practice of providing tailored experiences on eCommerce sites by dynamically displaying information, product recommendations, and targeted offers based on prior actions, browsing activities, purchase history, demographics, and other personal data.

PinUp Girl Clothing product recommendations eCommerce personalization

Product recommendations based on the recently viewed items is a typical example of eCommerce personalization. Pinup Girl Clothing has been using it to boost sales. (Source: Pinup Girl Clothing)

Personalization for eCommerce comes in various forms. For instance, it can be individualized product recommendations on a retailer's homepage or product page, cart abandonment marketing emails, or even onboarding quizzes that present shoppers with a personalized showroom of items.

Now you might be wondering how these methods help an online business create a boom in sales, right? Take a look at the next part to see why you need to invest your effort in eCommerce personalization.

eCommerce Personalization by Numbers

Personalization is becoming increasingly critical for retailers who want to not only engage customers, but also improve repeat purchases, drive sales, and boost conversion. Here are some mind-blowing statistics that prove its benefits.

benefits of eCommerce personalization

Bringing your digital consumers a tailored shopping experience attracts new prospects, gains more loyal customers, and maximizes profits. (Source: Bloomreach)

According to studies:

  • When marketers use tailor-made experiences, the total sales improve by an average of 20%.
  • 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides individualized experiences.
  • 77% of digital shoppers have selected, suggested, or paid more for a brand that offers a personalized service or experience.

After a tailored shopping experience with a certain store, 44% of buyers think they are likely to become repeat customers.

Through the above-mentioned figures, it is clear that every online business should include a personalization strategy within the customer journey. If you do it right, it will definitely improve customer experience, resulting in an area of excellent opportunities.

Popular Types of Personalization in eCommerce

Before showing you how to bring digital personalization into your business plan, we will walk you through some common kinds in the industry.

Website Personalization

There is no doubt that your online store is the most important place that converts prospects into buying customers. Hence, website personalization based on visitors’ data should be your top priority. Common tactics you can consider include html dynamic content, visuals, and offers for each shopper. To evaluate their performance, e-merchants can use the following metrics:

  • Average duration per session to know if customers spend more on your site.
  • Product engagement to reveal whether visitors view more items and add them to their cart.
  • The number of orders to check how your personalization approaches help you convert more sales.

Speaking of website personalization, online retailers normally apply these impactful ways:

  • Personalized search results and filters - providing shoppers with personally relevant results is the backbone of every eCommerce business. No one would stay with a brand that has nothing to satisfy their needs.
  • Special deals - you can customize the price shown and their time limits to create a sense of urgency for the offers.
  • Online content - online merchants can personalize the content to grab shoppers’ attention and motivate them to take action. Specifically, making changes to featured products, hero images, and blog posts are popular suggestions.
  • Pop-ups - when using pop-ups to leverage your business, brands will personalize both content and the offer. Interestingly, you can trigger pop-ups based on specific criteria like cart abandonment, timing, on-click, and so on.

Personalized Product Recommendations

Whether you are new to eCommerce or not, you have heard about product recommendations. Did you know that product recommendation can boost the average number of products added to the cart by68.14% and the conversion rate by a whopping 320%? Some powerful types of product suggestions are:

  • ‘Best Sellers’ product recommendations - As shoppers trust online peer recommendations, best-selling items are still effective in guiding them to products that fit their needs.
  • Upsell recommendations - This displays items based on merchandise that is currently being viewed. Also, you can use the data of their browsing history and past purchases (if available) to decide whether you should showcase a higher-end alternative to upsell or suggest similar ones.
  • Cross-selling technique - Aside from recommending similar options, digital merchants often introduce complementary items to increase Average Order Values (AOV). This tactic is very popular in the fashion and apparel industry. For example, you can display a complete outfit so shoppers will see how the pieces match together and buy all of them instead of one item only.

Email Personalization

eCommerce personalization is not just on your website. Instead, you can expect an average email marketing campaign to generate $42 for every dollar invested. For SMBs, email remains the primary driver of customer retention and acquisition. A recent study indicated that 81% of SMBs use email as their major customer acquisition channel, and 80% use it for customer retention.

The most common type that e-merchants are using is triggered emails. These emails are automatically sent to a consumer’s inbox based on specific actions. For instance, a subscription, an event registration, placing an order, or abandoning the shopping cart are some things you can quickly list out here.

How to Get Started with eCommerce Personalization for Your Business

Personalization cannot be defined by a specific tactic. In fact, store owners need to combine several ones to create a comprehensive strategy. Each customer is unique, so all touch points should work cohesively to offer an enjoyable and individualized journey.

When you decide to apply personalization to leverage your business, basically, you have to answer these 3 questions:

  • Where should personalization take place? Is that the inspirational content, site search, product recommendation, checkout process, or all of them?
  • What kinds of insights do you need for your campaign?
  • How will you use those details and technology to create a tailored experience?

This might sound challenging, particularly to startups and growing brands. However, personalization in eCommerce is no longer a game for big brands only. Remember that a small personalized touch can make a big difference. Thus, we have compiled a list of tactics for a low-budget plan.

But first, you need to know where to start.

Create Unique Segments

Before you can fuel personalized experiences, it is important to gain a deeper understanding of your customers’ traits and behaviors, in other words, a customer persona. Some points you should try to find out are:

  • Demographics (age, genders, and so on)
  • Where are they located?
  • Which channels do they use to interact with your business?
  • Which brands/products/categories are most interesting to them?
Google Analytics eCommerce personalization

Google Analytics is a free tool that you can use to get in-depth details about your visitors (Source: Google Analytics)

From those details, you can organize all customers into unique segments for better targeting. For example, you could have these 3 segments:

  • A segment for new visitors who are looking for winter clothing.
  • A segment for returning visitors.
  • A segment for potential shoppers from Google or Facebook who leave their cart without payment.

Once you determine the segments of your online store, it's time to embark on the personalization journey.

Geo-location Personalization

Technology has made it easier for shoppers to discover and buy things from all corners of the world. However, the difference in currency and the lack of shipping information can be discouraging factors in the buying process, particularly when they do not know how much it will cost. Therefore, to drive potential consumers closer to making a payment, you had better create target groups of shoppers based on their geo-locations. Once you have created specific segments, make some localized details on the storefront so customers can shop with confidence.

Good American eCommerce personalization

Once a visitor lands on the site, the currency and the product prices are automatically converted based on the shopper’s location. By allowing them to buy their favorite items in their currency, you will reduce customer irritation and checkout abandonment, which definitely boost sales. (Source: Good American)

WatchShop eCommerce personalization

WatchShop wants to send a particular message to American viewers. They wanted to make it apparent that buying in US dollars gets you a better value. That's why they made this popup just for visitors from the United States. (Source: Watchshop)

Recommended tools: Best Currency Converter, Sales Pop Up - Conversion Pro

Onsite Product Recommendations

Featuring product suggestions is a common strategy that provides shoppers with more options that aim to increase AOV. Nevertheless, to really engage, and importantly, turn browsers into paying customers, online retailers must go beyond displaying similar items. In other words, there is a need to optimize it based on customer behaviors.

Red Dress cross-selling eCommerce personalization

Apart from showcasing similar items, Red Dress focuses on cross-selling their products by using a section to show relevant items to complete the look when a visitor is viewing the black and white plaid pants. (Source: Red Dress Boutique)

Equal Exchange upselling eCommerce personalization

As 93% of online shoppers love free shipping, it would be great if you remind them how much more they need to spend to get free delivery. Right under the shopping cart summary, Equal Exchange displays best-selling products so consumers do not need to spend time looking around for additional products. (Source: Equal Exchange)

Building onsite product recommendations that fit where consumers are in their journey will lead to a more intuitive and hyper-personalized experience.

Recommended tools to add personalization on Shopify: Frequently Bought Together, Free Shipping Bar

Build A Dynamic Message Based On Specific Actions

To unlock your revenue, it is critical to display relevant messages to maximize efficiency. Let's take a look at these eCommerce personalization examples to see how brands are deploying it.

Customized homepage based on UTM tag eCommerce personalization

(Source: Woodhouse)

Many online retailers are using UTM tags for tracking organic and paid traffic. However, not all of them know that they can make use of UTM tags as a powerful tool to level up personalization in eCommerce. Once you define which sources your shoppers are coming from, it will be easy to personalize your homepage via a specific campaign parameter (utm_source). For example, Woodhouse is a fashion brand that shows a custom homepage banner for a group of visitors landing on the site via an email newsletter.

In another situation, you may find out that a large number of customers leave your site after viewing specific pages. As a store owner, it is important for you to create an appealing experience to keep them staying with your brand and drive conversions.

Ask & Embla eCommerce personalization

(Source: Ask & Embla)

To entice every potential customer who visits your store, have you ever thought about using an exit pop-up like Ask & Embla has been doing? On their product pages, they show a pop-up message to remind shoppers to subscribe to their newsletters so they can get a 15% discount. This special offer targets both new and returning visitors who have not placed an order before. Aside from collecting potential shoppers, the exit-intent pop-up can drive more engagement and sales later.

Recommended tool: Justuno Pop Ups Bundle Upsell

Personalized Search Results & Collection Pages

On any online store, search functionality is a crucial piece that brings a 1.8 times higher conversion rate. Returning relevant results is difficult due to spelling errors, broad search terms, or differences in how shoppers describe a product. Hence, your search engine should use the keywords in context to create personalized and merchandising-driven selling experiences.

GAP collection page eCommerce personalization

(Source: GAP)

GAP ensures that their shoppers will see the most relevant results to their own preferences. On the Sale collection page, the brand allows visitors to choose their favorite items based on categories, shops, and accessories while helping narrow down the results with the horizontal filter options.

Yummy Bazaar search synonyms eCommerce personalization

(Source: Yummy Bazaar)

It is highly recommended that you use popular search queries and their synonyms from your shoppers to craft the names for your products. Take Yummy Bazaar as an example here. When shoppers search for ‘sugar-free milk tea', the search results return ‘Taiwanese Milk Tea, No Sugar Added Sun Moon Lake Tea’ and ‘3:15 PM Milk Tea, No Added Sugar Earl Grey Taiwanese’ at the top. It is clear that the search algorithm understands 3 synonyms - sugar-free, no added sugar, and no sugar added.

Recommended tool for personalized search and product filtering: Product Filter & Search by Boost Commerce

Personalized Email Campaigns

eCommerce personalization is not just on your website.

Here are some personalization strategies to increase the impact of your email marketing.

The first type to execute is segmentation based on demographics and interests to send more relevant and tailored offers and recommendations to your customers. For example, summer has come and it’s time to promote their special offer with an order of $60+ for the season. Farmacy Beauty sent out an email to subscribers to reveal a full skincare routine of essential picks.

Farmacy Beauty email eCommerce personalization

(Source: Farmacy Beauty)

Another tactic to personalize your emails is sending out dynamic content that changes based on the behavior, preferences, and interests of the user. Let's see how Grammarly provides a personalized email to keep users engaged and promote their product.

Grammarly email eCommerce personalization

Grammarly sends a weekly writing update to each user. In this report, they can see how their writing performs compared to others in terms of productivity, mastery, and vocabulary. Also, the email informs users how many advanced issues are in the pieces to encourage customers to upgrade their free plan to Grammarly Premium. (Source: Grammarly)

Regarding behavior-specific email segmentation, cart abandonment emails are worth your try. A study reveals that sending three abandoned cart emails results in 69% more orders than a single email. Therefore, this type of eCommerce email is one of the most effective to win back customers.

Sugarbearhair email eCommerce personalization

SugarBearHair sends out an abandoned cart reminder with information about the product in the cart and a clear CTA. (Source: SugarBearHair)

Recommended tool: Automizely Emails & Pop Up

Which eCommerce Personalization Strategies are Right for Your Business?

Personalization distinguishes your brand from the competition and establishes a connection between you and your customers. Remember that successful eCommerce personalization results in improved AOV, increased customer loyalty, and enhanced overall sales for brands. Although you have a limited budget, the above-mentioned tactics will certainly help you leverage your business.

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Cici Nguyen
Email Marketing Specialist
June 17, 2024
6 min read