eCommerce personalization strategies to make your sales soar

6 minutes
eCommerce personalization strategies to make your sales soar
In this article

Retailers in the eCommerce market are always looking to stand out. And with so much industry competition, why wouldn’t you want to? 

On top of that, customer loyalty and retention are key benefits of personalization in online shopping.

Hyper personalization is now the norm as more and more companies discover that a one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t work. 

To meet customers’ ever-evolving demands, businesses need to find new and innovative ways to keep them happy. And eCommerce personalization is the way to do just that.

Here, we’ll explore what “personalization eCommerce” means, some useful eCommerce personalization tools, and how to implement your own personalization strategy to make your sales soar. 

What is eCommerce personalization?

ECommerce personalization refers to practices that a business considers for its online store that improves its internal shopping experience.

Customer data points such as these all factor into a business’s eCommerce personalization strategy:

  • Demographics

  • Product preferences

  • Browsing history

  • Intent

  • Previous purchases 

  • Device usage (e.g. smartphone, tablet, desktop computer) 

For instance, an eCommerce business can define its audience and customer segments. Then, it can personalize content based on both (including implicit and explicit data, such as third-party data), which customers eventually consume.

Finally, the business can test and individualize that personalized content based on a customer’s journey (and experience) through tracking.

What is eCommerce personalization for business-to-business (B2B)?

Most companies already know their target audience demographic. As a result, they may not think personalization is relevant when tailoring their eCommerce strategy. 

But whether you’re aware of your target audience or not, finding ways to improve your personalization strategy is always a good idea. 

Your business should always be open to adopting an eCommerce headless content management system (CMS) — specifically for B2B companies. A headless CMS is a cloud-based system that organizes and stores content without assuming where or how it’s delivered. 

This back-end content creation helps your business quickly generate digital experiences for customers. It means less work for you and more personalized experiences for your customers — a win-win situation. 

Why is personalization important in eCommerce?

Overall, personalization is important in eCommerce because it ensures any offer you present to customers is relevant to their wants and needs. 

When retailers provide customers with personalized experiences, those customers are more likely to make a purchase. According to research by Epsilon, personalization leads to an 80% higher likelihood that a customer will complete a purchase. 

What’s more, if your brand fails to deliver a personalized experience, customers are more likely to buy from a competitor that offers a more uniquely tailored shopping experience. 

It’s common to believe a customized shopping experience is the same as a personalized one. But that’s not the case. Let’s explore the difference. 

What is the difference between customization and personalization?

The main difference between customization and personalization lies in who has control over tailoring the shopping experience. 

With customization, customers can build their own tailored experience. With personalization, eCommerce companies control that experience. Brand marketers work to create a personalized shopping experience by anticipating what a customer might want or need. If brand marketers are fortunate enough, they’ll be able to use data such as customer purchase histories or tracked customer behavior to better inform their personalization tactics and overall marketing strategy.

eCommerce brands can leverage customer data to provide an enjoyable and easy experience while also presenting offerings that a customer wants based on their data. This drives customer loyalty and increases profits, among many other benefits. 

[Related: The complete guide to eCommerce accounting: Selling across borders]

Benefits of eCommerce personalization

Personalization in eCommerce makes all the difference when a customer has to choose between your brand and a competitor’s brand.

Here are the top benefits of eCommerce personalization.

Increased customer loyalty

Personalizing customers’ shopping experience increases their loyalty to your eCommerce business.

It shows them that you’re paying attention to their interests, which makes them more likely to continue buying from you and easier to upsell or cross-sell moving forward. 

So if your business consistently gives customers what they want and expect, you’ll end up with a base of loyal customers advocating for your brand. 

Increase conversions

When a customer visits your eCommerce store website, the experience that greets them immediately factors into whether they’ll purchase from you. 

Customers don’t necessarily want the same experience you give to everyone else. A generic shopping experience with irrelevant offered products isn’t enjoyable, and it might even make them want to leave your store. 

To prevent this, use conversion tactics (e.g. product recommendations) when a customer is looking at their cart before checking out. By presenting items related to their interests, you can increase your conversion rates, potentially increase your average order value, and reduce cart abandonment. 

Additionally, some products are more fitting for certain customers. Using customer data allows you to display particular products and, which leads to fewer empty carts and more sales conversions

Better brand engagement

Knowing where and what your customers prefer to shop leads to better brand engagement. The more you know about your customers, the more accurate and personalized their item showcase will be. 

They’ll then trust you to display items that reflect their interests and continue to seek your store for their wants and needs. 

Think about it. Would you rather waste time on an eCommerce site searching for what you need or browse a site that easily and quickly displays product pages that fit your needs and interests (optimized based on purchase history)? Likely the latter.

Improved user experience

Although this might seem like an obvious benefit, it’s still important to point out. 

Personalizing your eCommerce store improves your customers’ experience because it makes shopping more enjoyable for them. And your business can take advantage of certain features to make their experience more enjoyable with each visit. 

Your site can remember some customer preferences and more accurately (and efficiently) direct them to what they want. These capabilities exist even upon their first visit to your online store. 

Displaying product pages they want to see, remembering payment information for faster checkout and updating product recommendations with bestsellers, upcoming promotions, or discounts all improve their overall shopping experience. 

Advantage over competitors

Not all eCommerce businesses take advantage of personalization strategies. If your business does, you immediately have a competitive advantage. 

Your brand can differentiate itself from other brands that don’t offer personalized product showcases and other methods that improve the shopping experience.

Additionally, customers often change their minds about the products they want. Leveraging data helps you stay on top of their current interests. In turn, those customers will likely visit your site more often than your competitors’ stores. 

And then, those customers might even become brand advocates — thanks to your efforts in going the extra mile. 

Enhanced understanding of customers 

Personalization also enhances your understanding of your customers because it requires you to collect some of their information. 

That information gives you insights into their location, demographics and much more so you can make increasingly accurate product and service recommendations. 

This also helps you determine which products are popular and selling well and which aren’t. In this case, you can start or stop selling certain products, which improves the overall efficiency of your operations. 

Use Airwallex to personalize your checkout

An important part of eCommerce personalization is modifying the checkout experience for customers. 

For instance, if you’re a business selling products on Shopify, Amazon or another platform, you can plug an Airwallex account into it. This allows customers to pay the way they want, wherever they are in the world. 

With more than 30 local payment methods — including WeChat, Alipay and Bankontact — the customer checkout experience is equally fast, easy and compatible with many platforms.

And the easier you make shopping for them, the more likely they are to continue searching for and buying products from your store. 

[Related: Airwallex launches online payments app on Shopify]

Tips to create your eCommerce personalized shopping experience

Simply including the name of a customer in your email marketing campaigns isn’t enough – the bar for personalized email is much, much higher. Most customers know this is a generated method of connecting with them. It doesn’t “feel” real. 

But with specific tools, marketers are better equipped to offer the modern customer what they expect. 

Here are some tips to consider when perfecting your eCommerce personalization in marketing. 

Targeted, localized, relevant content

A customer is far more likely to return to your eCommerce website if you target and localize your content to specific people. 

Some ways to localize content include modifying the demographics, language, city and state (general region), and even the interests relevant to a particular customer. 

So whether you’re creating relevant content for an eCommerce website banner, blog post, product description or something else altogether, you can localize it to increase the chances that a customer will return to your site and shop. 

Recommend and upsell products

Product recommendations are a great way to personalize your eCommerce store. 

Let’s say a customer purchases a set of dishware from a home goods store via its website. Your online eCommerce store can then generate personalized recommendations based on the home goods product that particular customer purchased.

For instance, you could recommend related products, such as kitchen utensils, tablecloths, cooking supplies, recipe books, and dining room decor. 

Targeted product discounts

If you’re in the business of eCommerce, you likely have (or certainly should have) a content management system (CMS) and customer relationship management (CRM) system. 

As stated earlier, a CMS is a software solution that helps you manage content on your website and other digital assets. And a CRM is a software solution that manages your company’s interactions and relationships with its existing and potential customers. 

The goal of a CRM is to improve your business relationships by staying connected to customers and streamlining processes on your website and other technologies — all to improve profitability. 

With quality CMS, can create and offer relevant products and discounts based on what a customer has purchased in the past. This is a very successful tactic to personalize your customers’ shopping experience.

You can also create low-priced bundles of related products. If the customer purchased each product separately, the total cost would be higher. This tactic not only prompts a larger purchase but also exposes customers to a greater product range.

Adjusted navigation 

When a customer visits your eCommerce website regularly, you can then identify particular items they’re looking for or at least interested in. 

Adjusting your eCommerce website navigation helps customers find what they’re searching for faster. This saves them substantial time and likely a bit of frustration because they can easily and quickly carry out their purchase from start to finish.

User-generated content

Word of mouth (WOM) is one of the biggest drivers for scoring new leads. This is another reason you should want your customers’ experience to be as appealing as possible. 

If a customer completes a purchase and is happy at the end of their journey, they’ll likely share the news with a peer. They may even post input online, where others can read and share it on a wide scale. 

Utilizing user-generated content helps you leverage feedback about your products and further boost their popularity. 

[Related: 4 habits of highly successful eCommerce businesses]

CMS: Why does it matter? 

Sales and marketing professionals often manage both content and products on their eCommerce platform. However, most eCommerce platforms don’t have an enterprise-grade CMS in place. And that particularly hurts your personalization efforts.

There are certainly many dynamic eCommerce platforms with a range of great qualities, but those qualities mostly focus on product catalogs or a streamlined checkout process. 

Thanks to advances in modern eCommerce CMS, you can either use internal CMS features for your eCommerce store or integrate a CMS into your eCommerce software. You can also use a combination to have the best of both worlds. 

For instance, you can use your preferred CMS for content management and personalization features. You can then use an eCommerce system to catalog products and create capabilities in your shop.

How CRM works with CMS

A CRM and CMS are two software systems that serve substantially different purposes. However it’s possible for them to work together to carry out an effective, personalized marketing campaign.

Your CRM will help you manage your customers and clients through a sales funnel. And your CMS will help you manage your marketing, website, online store, and various other digital assets.

So when your CMS sufficiently builds an organized and engaging website, it’s easier for your customers to navigate and interact with it. Your CRM will then record and keep track of those interactions across the site

You can then see areas of your site that receive the most traffic and interaction, as well as the least, and then leverage that information to improve your site. Improvements are made through your CMS. 

Omnichannel personalization: How can a headless CMS help?

Taking advantage of your opportunities in the eCommerce realm involves having an enterprise-level CMS with headless capabilities. 

A headless CMS has the ability to deliver content through API calls, meaning it can deliver content to an array of channels and devices without limitations. A CMS that’s headless allows marketers to send content (including that of products) to mobile apps, smart speakers and much more.

One example of this is delivering content to mobile devices where it’s used on social media platforms. In turn, your content reaches a larger audience and can be displayed in an engaging way. And because social media is a prominent concern for eCommerce brands these days, displaying content on it is vital to optimizing your personalization strategy.   

Headless capabilities create a smooth omnichannel personalization strategy. That strategy should include important features: 

  • Offline personalization. Connecting a customer’s purchase history and digital behavior to your physical store allows you to deliver personalized messaging through push notifications. These notifications most commonly appear at checkout. Their offline purchase data can be linked back to their account. This leads to a greater ability to improve personalization with future offline (as well as online) purchases. 

  • Device personalization. Extend your eCommerce website’s personalization to mobile apps and wearable devices such as smartwatches by sending relevant push notifications via geofencing.

  • Omnichannel personalisation. Your customer data platform should include every interaction that customers have with your brand including discovery, purchase and loyalty factors. Then offer a consistent, individualized experience for your customers as they move from online to offline (or vice-versa). This leads to an experience that feels connected regardless of the number of newly created touchpoints. 

[Related: Key performance indicators for emerging eCommerce businesses]

ECommerce personalization examples

These three eCommerce businesses have used personalization with definite finesse — and great results.

Offer discounts to first-time visitors

One way to engage customers is with discounts. Offering buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deals, 15% off their first order, or even seasonal specials such as back-to-school discounts and more. This makes it more likely for a customer to follow through with an initial purchase. 

For example, Adidas offers a 15% discount for initial purchases with a rewards sign-up. Here’s a list of other brands that offer first-time discounts

Provide recommended searches 

Consumers often get overwhelmed when online shopping through big retailers. It’s hard to know where to start with such a large selection of goods! 

This is where search recommendation comes into play. 

Recommended searches help customers narrow down their choices. Why? Because the recommendations are based on a customer’s data while also combined with data from their first or past purchases. 

The home goods brand, Industry West, uses crowd logic on their homepage to make recommendations. The terms, “best seller” and “trending now” influence customers to explore those items.

Utilize exit offers

It’s quite common for a site visitor to click the back or exit button before carrying out a purchase. In this case, your brand can use exit offers to personalize a customer’s shopping experience. 

This is essentially a last-minute effort to guide a customer back into making a purchase. And while this effort may come off as desperate, you can frame your wording and the presentation of the offer to make it more appealing to potential customers.

This technique is most effective if the offer is customer-centric and personalized based on the customer’s data. 

One example of a brand that utilizes exit offers is Express Gifts. It uses Coveo-Qubit to detect exit behavior and convince online shoppers to complete their onsite purchases. 

[Related: How to build a successful eCommerce subscription business]

Reach more global customers with Airwallex

Online retailers are quickly learning that personalized content is the key to a memorable customer journey.

From the initial visit to the final checkout, a great customer journey must include content that appeals to the customer’s intent and needs. Thanks to headless CMS capabilities, eCommerce businesses can meet those needs for current channels as well as future touchpoints.

So, if you’re ready to personalize your checkout, push into new markets, and reach thousands of new global customers, take the first step by starting a Global Business Account with Airwallex

We offer over 60 local payment methods including WeChat, Alipay and Bancontact at checkout, empowering your customers to pay the way they want wherever they are. You’ll seem like a local business without a second thought. Plus, you won’t scare off customers by forcing them to figure out complex currency conversions. 

You can also quickly open 11 foreign currency accounts with the click of a button. Look forward to scaling internationally whilst avoiding high fees and administrative burdens.

And last but not least, integrations! Airwallex integrates with Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento using a simple “plug-and-play” API. You can also integrate with Xero for automated reconciliation.

To boost your sales with easier payouts, sign up with Airwallex today.

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