11 Greatest E-Commerce Personalization Tactics

Insights Авг 02, 2018 Luna Shirley 9 min read

We believe that e-commerce personalization done right lies in removing obstacles to purchase and it’s essentially a manifestation of the use of a famous marketing mantra:

We’ve selected 11 of our most adored e-commerce personalization tactics which could help out, especially fashion online retailers, in increasing their customers’ profitability through personalization.

Solving Challenges With E-commerce Personalization

The following e-commerce personalization tactics are focusing on solving issues online retailers are facing.

1. Get Rid of Selection Paralyzation

Your large product selection may paralyze your customers and in the end, they could leave your site without actually buying anything. This well-known effect in retail can easily pummel your conversion rate.

Is it happening to you?
Uncovering product paralyzation can be slightly difficult, although if you have a wide selection of products and you are seeing a high number of detail visits within a single session without any purchases, it may be an indication that it’s happening to you.
If you are observing this behavior during consecutive sessions, that’s a sure signal that your customers may be suffering from product paralyzation.

How to solve it with personalization?
There are several ways you can make sure that it’s not happening to you based on how deeply you’ll want to personalize the content on your e-shop.
The first tactic you can use is to hide your products or even categories behind the “see more” button. If you are using Exponea, you can calculate the affinity of your visitors towards individual products or even categories and only show them the ones with the highest match while hiding the others under “see more”.
The second tactic which you can utilize would be to create a special page which could be called “picked for you” with only a few products from each category with the highest affinity match towards individual customers.
In case you aren’t using Exponea, selecting best-sellers could be a good option as well.

2. Make Sure Your Customers Are Onboarded

Onboarding customers is quite a challenge especially for fashion online retailers with a wide offering or special functionalities. The chance of turning customers who are unaware of what you even offer into loyal customers is minuscule, so let’s woo them with an amazing onboarding experience.

Is it happening to you?
It’s highly doubtful that it’s NOT happening to you unless you have a complex onboarding scenario in place.
To verify the penetration of features or product selection within your customer base, define the identifier which would mean that the customer is successfully onboarded. It can be as simple as page view or complex as a frequency of feature interaction.
Then segment your customers based on the percentage of complete onboarding. If the percentage is less than you’d feel comfortable with, which could be perhaps. 50% of all customers, let’s solve it.

How to solve it with personalization?
The solution is quite simple if you combine onboarding newsletters and website content modification.
The gist is to create a sequence of onboarding messaging which will be gradually sent to your customers as newsletters. They should contain an information on features or product selection for which the said customer still needs to be onboarded.
The same can be done on your online store, where you’ll be modifying the content to show one of the onboarding banners, ideally ones which you consider the most important in the sequence.
In Exponea, this can be done fairly easily through scenarios and weblayers, without it or a similar tool, you most likely won’t be able to communicate only the relevant onboarding messages towards your customers and thus you will need to lean on unsegmented communication which increases the chance of marketing blindness.

3. Highlight Champions, Hide Mules

At least 30 % of all products are returned when ordered and this personalization tactic addresses it by identifying clear champions and pushing the probable mismatched products to the back of the selection.

Is it happening to you?
Run an analysis to find out the percentage of returned orders or products. Your goal should be to ensure that the percentage is as low as possible and anything higher than the industry average should be a high priority concern due to costs involved with returns.

How to solve it with personalization?
The first step is to segment the behavior of your customers based on return personas:

  • The Wardrober: Wears the clothes once and returns it right after.
  • The “Try it on” Customer: Orders multiple clothes just to try them on, returns most, if not all of them right after.
  • The Fitting Roomer: Orders various sizes of the same item and returns the ones which don’t fit.

Then segment out the orders of these customers, rank your current product offering based on the return percentage and enhance your product catalog with these percentages.
Make sure that your product catalog has product margins or at least margin levels (high, medium, low).
Now you should be able to build a full category product page based on product recommendation model, taking into consideration:

It’s a fairly complex tactic possible in Exponea. Sadly, it may be difficult or outright impossible without it or a tool of similar capabilities.

4. Give Out Discount Only To Incentivize Purchase

Understand when to give out a discount to actually incentivize your customers to make a purchase rather than to give out those “€5 discounts” to everyone who just glances at your homepage — discounts are a fantastic tool to ensure a purchase, although it can be a costly decision to give them out to everyone.

Is it happening to you?
The surest way to see whether your discounting strategy is hurting your business is to do an A/B test. Offer a discount voucher (i.e. summer sale voucher) to one group and nothing to the other.
Then ideally after 30-45 days analyze the purchases of both groups. Take into consideration the margin, discount amount, shipping costs and costs of those returned. Since discounts impact the perceived value of ordered products, return habits may be impacted as well.
If you see the negative impact of discounts, let’s deal with it!

How to solve it with personalization?
If you have the insights on customers’ purchase history with more than 2 purchases, you should be able to find the average time between their purchases. This should help you identify the time frame in which to offer the discount. The rule of thumb is about a week or two sooner than that of the average.
For customers without 2 or more purchases, you will have to use a global average with a slightly more generous time frame.
Leverage Exponea’s in-session predictions to calculate the probability to purchase within the customer’s session. This will help you to ensure that you don’t give the voucher needlessly.
If you aren’t using Exponea, an alternative solution is to offer the voucher using an on-exit banner for the customer after a certain number of product pages were viewed within a single session indicating an interest in purchasing, although indenting to exit the site.

5. Make Sure the Price is Right

Not everyone can buy a Gucci purse. If your online store offers a wide assortment of products with highly varying price ranges, you may run into a mismatch between what you’re promoting and your customers’ budget.

Is it happening to you?
You can find out if you have a discrepancy between what your customers are viewing and what they end up buying in the end using a fairly simple analysis.
Average the product price viewed and products bought and then segment your customers based on price range difference.
At Exponea, we use the following segments:

If you find out a high percentage of customers within > 50% & > 100% segments, you have an issue to deal with.
Note: To absolutely pinpoint the root of an issue, you can run the averages across the categories.

How to solve it with personalization?
You can enhance your onsite product recommendation models with the price range to match your customers’ price sensitivity. Such an enhancement should positively impact your recommendation model’s conversion rate.
Another interesting tactic could be to create a special newsletter which would contain discounted products now in the customers’ price range. This tactic leverages that discount which can be a driving factor for purchase rather than the product’s starting price for 35% of UK customers.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

When working with our clients, we sometimes come across the lack of actionable data for e-commerce personalization and with data privacy being a paramount concern, gathering data from fresh visitors who haven’t become customers yet, is challenging. At least that’s the perception, which is not entirely correct.

Is it happening to you?
Create a segment of all of your visitors (not customers). Analyze the datapoint along with consents which you have available from them. Do you have enough data to provide them with a relevant, personalized experience? If your answer is no, let’s deal with it!

How to solve it with personalization?
The solution to this challenge is deceptively simple — why not simply ask your online store’s visitors about their preferences?
Promise them a top-notch personalized experience, help them find the clothes which flatter their figure, in their favorite colors and styles.
You can achieve that through a simple visual questionnaire whose output would be a search query or you can gamify the experience for example by showing the percentage of people who picked these exact answers.

Improving Customer Experience With Personalization

When the previous tactics were solving issues, these e-commerce personalization tips are focusing on increasing the quality of life of your customers. Basically, they directly contribute to an increase in conversion rate.

1. Bring Context To Every Visit

The concept behind this personalization tip is to utilize data from previous sessions to help your customers’ pick up where they’ve left off.
Since Last Visit
How to make it happen?
Highlight the number of new products since their last visit and enable customers to view only the items which they haven’t seen yet or are new since their last visit.
You can do that in Exponea by modifying the content of your online store and counting the number of new products in catalog since the customers’ last visit.

2. Your Size in Stock

According to 64% of customers, size is the main reason for returning a garment. Make sure that you give your customers a heads up if their size is in stock.
In Your Size
How to make it happen?
If you already know the sizes of your customers either through their previous purchases or most frequent filtration options, you can use those insights to highlight or prioritize products on category pages which are in their sizes.
On product pages, you can pre-select their size or warn your customers that they might have picked the wrong size.
You can achieve it in Exponea through content modifying. If you’d like to do it yourself, you’d most likely have to custom modify your online store’s front-end.

3. Make Sure Everything Fits & Flatters

Not every garment flatters everyone in the same way. Still, this simple fact is often currently overlooked when selling apparel online. Yet visualizing the fit is one of the top trends for fashion e-commerce in 2020.

How to make it happen?
Even though aspiring for the perfect fit & recommending a flattering look may be rather ambitious, enhancing product catalog with product styles, matching them to body shapes is now possible.
Although most of this personalization tip is based on enhancing your database, Exponea can help you by building and launching a simple questionnaire which will help you determine your customers’ dimensions.

4. It’s All About The Context

Not everyone who interacts with your online store has the same experience with you. Some are first-time visitors, others are loyal customers. Make sure that you treat them based on their experience with you.

How to make it happen?
This is called customer lifecycle management and is quite often centered around a deep RFM segmentation where you rank your customers based around RFM scores and communicate towards them slightly differently since each individual stage is characterized by distinct behavior and needs.
Any customer analytics tool with a segmentation capability should be able to help you with RFM analysis. Yet Exponea can setup campaign scenarios for each stage in order to promote customers’ lifecycle towards the loyal customer stage.

5. Ideal send time

Even today, emailing is still one of the most effective marketing channels for e-commerce businesses, but what’s holding it back? Other newsletters which pile up on top of your customers’ inboxes pushing your newsletters down. Let’s solve it!
Google Promotion
How to make it happen?
The solution is actually very easy, at least in theory. Send a newsletter to your customers at the time where it’s ideally at the top of their inboxes.
Exponea users can use our algorithm. It utilizes customer data such as:

  • The most frequent times of your site’s visits
  • The time when your customers tend to open the emails
  • When they click on links within newsletters
  • Which devices they use to access your site and when
  • When do they actually make their purchases

If you’d like to create such an algorithm yourself, it will be a lengthy process tweaking it. Although almost anything’s better than sending all of your newsletters to your customers at the same time without taking their behavior into consideration.

Watch a 3 Minute Demo of Exponea in Action