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What Personalization Means for Ecommerce Stores

June 1, 2020

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What Personalization Means for Ecommerce Stores

What is an ecommerce store?

An ecommerce store is a business that sells products or services online.

The modern brick-and-mortar retail experience can be decidedly impersonal, especially if you’re in an enormous box store surrounded by miles of merchandise. 

That’s because a Walmart or Target store doesn’t know what any individual customer wants. 

For now, they mostly have to target customers (no pun intended) via indirect routes like demographic analysis and segmenting

These can still be effective, but an ecommerce marketing strategy gives us a better way to use our tools. 

Ecommerce businesses have the advantage of being able to go a layer deeper and create real personalization in their shopping experiences. 

In ecommerce, customers say what they want all the time, whether directly or indirectly—and it’s on ecom merchants to seize the opportunity to serve the customer exactly what they want. 

Statistics indicate that customers really do want a personalized experience from an ecommerce store, so personalization in marketing is no longer just one strategy of many. 

It’s an essential element for improving marketing ROI and offering a satisfying product.

So, what does personalization mean in terms of concrete ecommerce marketing tactics for your business? 

These three key points will help give you a better understanding. 

3 Ecommerce Marketing Strategies To Know

1. Personalization means collecting the right information.  

Your customers give your business a wealth of information about themselves and their interests every time they visit your website, so it’s up to you to collect that valuable information. 

There are three broad categories of customer data that will probably be relevant to your business: 

  1. Demographic: The customer’s age group, income, marital status, family status and other information that allows you to assign them to a market segment. 
  2. Behavioral: What the customer buys, what the customer leaves in an abandoned cart, what the customer clicks on in a PPC ad. When the rubber meets the road, what actions does the customer take? 
  3. Brand Interaction: Emails opened, social media posts liked and shared, customer service contacts. How does the customer continue to interact with the brand before or after they’ve made a purchase? 

There are lots of different ways to gather this data, and they don’t have to be invasive or creepy. 

Try some of these methods:

  • Giving customers opt-ins, such as the opportunity to follow your social media accounts or sign up for email marketing.
  • Providing customers with surveys to fill out about their experience or what products they’d like to see.
  • Using data tools like a Facebook pixel to collect data from site visitors.
  • Observing and analyzing PPC data to refine your campaigns.
  • Creating quizzes, games or interactive browser apps that (transparently!) collect user information. 

You can often entice customers to take the extra step of signing up for the list or clicking the “like” button through the promise of special offers, exclusive content or giveaways for subscribers.

Remember that when it comes to data collection as a part of your ecommerce marketing tactics, the goal is always to create a win-win through transparency, where the user consensually offers their data in return for an enhanced experience. 

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2. Personalization means opening two-way communication with the customer. 

“Know your audience” is the concept behind pretty much every effective eCommerce marketing strategy. 

And since marketers now know so much about their audiences thanks to the Internet, there’s really no excuse now not to know the exact person you want to see your advertising message. 

Maybe, more importantly, you can often show that person the exact message that they want to see—because they’ve already told you what they want. 

This is when your business can start using all of that great data to make a real difference. 

You can turn your eCommerce marketing strategy into a conversation with your customers through techniques such as:

  • Using the powerful demographic and audience targeting tools offered by major PPC ad platforms like Google and Facebook to zero in on your audiences and create customer persona profiles. 
  • Segmenting customers into stages of the sales funnel through smart keyword research and strategies and then targeting those keywords in your PPC and on-page optimization efforts. 
  • Using personalized email marketing to reach customers, communicate with them by name and provide curated offers relevant to their interests. 
  • Maintaining an active social media presence that engages with customer comments, sharing interesting and relevant content and collecting information about the webs of interests and social connections that improve personalization.

3. Personalization means offering a more tailored and continuous experience. 

Online shoppers today demand more from the businesses they patronize. 

They want an experience that’s designed just for them, and they want it to be consistent and reliable any time they visit. 

No biggie, right? 

Most customers see it as a big plus when an eCommerce site offers a tailored user experience. 

There are many ways to do personalization, including: 

  • Implementing recommendation algorithms. Recommendations create golden opportunities for cross- and up-selling, and Amazon and other eCom giants have built their success on them. 
  • Creating targeted landing pages for PPC and email offers that play to the intended audience of each different offer. 
  • Offering a range of shipping, delivery and pickup options, including in-store pickup and expedited shipping. 
  • Offering customization options for products. 
  • Using location data to shape the customer experience and offering them options more relevant to their physical location. 

Continuity is another thing that many customers expect from their eCommerce experience. 

When we mention continuity, we’re talking about tactics like:

  • Using CRM systems to manage customer information effectively and using it to fine-tune the customer service experience. 
  • Offering customers the option to securely store their data to speed up future checkouts. 
  • Adding options like one-click ordering for products that individual customers buy frequently. 
  • Running retargeting campaigns for eCommerce that encourage customers to resume checking out with a cart they previously abandoned and making it easy for them to do so. 

Personalization In Marketing 101

With many eCommerce leaders now investing heavily in Big Data and AI technologies, the road to true personalization in eCommerce is just getting started. 

By understanding and applying these basics of digital personalization, you’ll help create a foundation for your business to continue improving and finetuning its personalization as eCommerce becomes steadily more customer-centric. 

What is personalization in marketing?

Personalization in marketing is a method of using data collection and two-way communication to offer a more tailored and continuous experience for customers.

Ronald Dod is the chief marketing officer and co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end e-commerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.

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