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3 Steps to Personalize your eCommerce Customer Experience

Your eCommerce business can prioritize marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) all day long. But in the end, a positive customer experience is what’s key to achieving success. Here’s a few reasons why: 

  • Because 9 out of 10 customers read reviews before making a purchase. 
  • Not only are customers reading reviews, but they’re also trusting them. 79% of shoppers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • 93% of customers say online reviews influenced their purchase decisions. 

If you provide an exceptional experience for your online customers, they’ll leave positive reviews and thus influence other shoppers to buy your products. Plus, the customer experience is essential when it comes to customer retention as it costs more to earn new customers than to keep current ones. 

When it comes to gaining new customers and retaining current ones, make your eCommerce experience a priority. One sure way to improve your customer experience is to use personalization on your site. 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase when your site and marketing efforts are personalized.

Learn how to improve your eCommerce customer experience using personalization below: 

What is eCommerce Personalization?

Personalization is the process of delivering tailored experiences throughout the customer’s online journey. Personalization includes showcasing:

  • Content and product recommendations
  • Specific deals or offers based on previous actions, browsing history, demographics, and other data

After you know more about your audience you should divide your customers into smaller segments. Doing this will help you to provide experiences that meet their individual needs, aka personalization.

3 Ways to Personalize your eCommerce Customer Experience

By personalizing your site, you increase customer loyalty, sales, and conversions. Now, let’s look at what personalization strategies you can do to improve your eCommerce customer experience.

1. Upsell, cross-sell, and downsell at checkout (and after, too) 

These are three common strategies to increase your eCommerce sales. Each technique uses a different method to increase your customer’s average order value (AOV). Here’s how they differ:

  • Upselling: This is a strategy that suggests products that are more expensive than what your shopper has purchased or put in their cart.
  • Cross-selling: When it comes to pricing, cross-selling suggests items that are very similar in price to what customers have bought or interacted with in the past.
  • Downselling: Suggests items that are less expensive than what a shopper has purchased or put in their cart.

These three strategies are most effective when used before, after, and during checkout. When you introduce upselling, cross-selling, and downselling near their checkout, consumers are excited about their purchase and more likely to add additional products to their order.

So what does upselling, cross-selling, and downselling look like? A common example can be found in food orders. For example, when you’re checking out on a food delivery app, before you checkout, the app pulls up other items you might want to add to your order. 

The brand Everlane exemplifies downselling by encouraging shoppers to add additional items to their order at checkout. You’ll see in the example below that once a pair of jeans was added to the bag, Everlane immediately recommended other complimentary products in a “before you go” section:

By making it simple and easy to add products to the shopper’s order, and by doing it at a time when they’re ready to buy, your eCommerce store will see an increase in how much your customers are spending on average. 

2. Send cart abandonment emails or texts

eCommerce retailers lose $18 billion in sales per year due to cart abandonment. To decrease cart abandonment, your brand can optimize the customer’s checkout experience. Yet it remains common: for example, we know most shoppers browse on their phones with mobile searches accounting for over 67.2% of all eCommerce. However, mobile users have the highest rate of cart abandonment at 85.65%.  

At this point, cart abandonment is inevitable. But just because your customer abandoned their cart doesn’t mean you can’t follow up with them. In fact, one extremely popular example of eCommerce personalization includes sending cart abandonment emails and SMS text messages.

These messages are meant to re-engage shoppers after they’ve abandoned their cart. As an eCommerce retailer, emails likely make up a large chunk of your marketing strategy. Cart abandonment emails are especially effective with a 44.1% open rate, and a third of clicks (29.9% of clicks) lead to a recovered sale. While SMS text message reminders are less common, they are becoming more and more popular as well since consumers typically only have one phone number (as opposed to multiple email addresses). According to SaleCycle, SMS has a CTR of 36% compared to 3.2% on email.

Cart abandonment emails and texts can manifest in a variety of forms. Here’s an example of an email campaign and timeline your company could use:

  • Cart reminder (a few hours after the cart abandonment)
  • Follow-up email / text to remind (a few days later)
  • Discount on abandoned items (a few days after message two)

The key to these cart abandonment emails and texts is that they need to be personalized by including the items the shopper left in their cart. Check out this article for more examples and ideas on how to master your personalized approach. 

3. Create offers based on user experience

When users interact with your site by browsing items, you learn a lot about their likes and dislikes. For example, to learn more about your shoppers, you can look at some statistics, including:

  • Posts & pages that have a high conversion rate
  • The most popular posts & pages visited
  • Customer purchase history

With eCommerce website personalization, your shopper’s behavior triggers the offers and products you show them. One popular eCommerce platform that uses this strategy is Etsy. For example, a customer with a history of searching for crystals might be served suggestions for other similar products when logging back into Etsy a few weeks (or even days) later. 

After searching for a specific product, Etsy stores data to be able to personalize the experience on its site moving forward. This is an effective way to engage with shoppers, show them you’re paying attention to their personal preferences and interests, and increase brand loyalty and conversions.

Personalization Isn’t Simple, but It’s Essential

Even though personalization is a hot topic, it requires a lot of effort and optimization to get right. But at the end of the day, it can make or break your eCommerce sales and conversions—making it an important strategy to implement. When your eCommerce customers feel like you’re taking their individuality and preferences into account, they’ll feel loyal to your brand and will keep buying products and leaving positive reviews. 

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