3 Ways You Can Use Personalization to Boost Ecommerce Sales

April 12, 2017 Rieva Lesonsky

If you own an e-commerce business, your site probably uses personalization tactics such as displaying "top sellers" or product recommendations based on customers' prior purchases. But smart e-commerce retailers are taking personalization to new levels with marketing automation tools that make it easier than ever to get personal, according to a recent report.

Personalization can help you upsell customers, close the sale and generate repeat business. Here are three levels of personalized recommendations your e-commerce business can try.

Personalization Level I:

Use programmatic advertising to serve customers display ads featuring products they viewed on your website. You've undoubtedly seen these ads: If you're shopping for new running shoes online, for example, next time you go online you'll see ads for the products you looked at and similar shoes. This type of advertising is automated and doesn’t require you to know individuals’ information or email addresses, so it's easy to execute. Seventy percent of retailers in the study currently use programmatic.

Personalization Level II:

You can also boost sales by serving up product recommendations on your website. You may already display similar or complementary products alongside product descriptions when a customer is browsing. More than half (52 percent) of e-commerce retailers in the survey also display product recommendations on a customer's shopping cart page. This is an excellent tool for showing customers additional products they may not have discovered while browsing, and it captures customers at a moment when they've shown their intent to buy. You can also display complementary products on the shopping cart page or as the customer browses. For example, if someone is comparing different running shoes or has put a pair of running shoes in their cart, you could display running socks.

Personalization Level III:

Take a cue from companies that are going beyond cart abandonment emails to also include browse abandonment emails. Browse abandonment messages provide product recommendations based on products a shopper has browsed on your website or products in their cart. They can help direct shoppers to related or similar products they may not have seen in their initial visit. The report describes browse abandonment messages as “a digital version of a personal shopper.” Unlike with cart abandonment messages, which are intended to close the sale, the goal for browse abandonment messages is simply to get customers back to your website to shop more — although this may also end in a sale.

How can you make browse abandonment messages work for you? The report offers these tips.

  • Include personalized recommendations.
  • Send more than one email.
  • Time your cadence correctly. The report recommends sending the first email within one hour of abandonment, and subsequent emails one day apart.

In 2016, the study reports, 14.5 percent of retailers used automated browse abandonment messages. While this is still a small percentage, it's a major jump from previous years, and the report predicts that browse abandonment messages will grow in popularity in 2017. Getting in on the ground floor by implementing browse abandonment messages now could give your e-commerce business an edge on the competition.

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