Website personalisation is to customise an individual’s experience when they arrive on your website so that each customer has an experience that suits their needs. For example, when they log in referring to them by name, showing them personalised recommendations, or providing them with relevant messaging.
Brands like Amazon have paved the way for this, and so when you log in, you are referred to by name, there is a section called ‘new for you’, they have your most recently viewed items and featured recommendations. Not only this, but they highlight categories which you are most likely to buy from and show you bestsellers and top picks.
Why is it important?
Increased conversion rate
By personalising the experience for an individual visitor, you can increase your conversion rate dramatically. A study from 2015 by Millward Brown Digital has shown that Amazon Prime members convert 74% of the time, and 13% for those who are not Amazon Prime members. This conversion rate is high by any standards - the average conversion rate globally in the first quarter of 2017 was at 2.7%.
This is a huge difference, and a study by Accenture has shown that 74% of consumers are more likely to buy from a shop that knows who they are.
In Australia, more brands are focused on gaining new customers, but there is huge value in loyalty and 82% of brands agree that focusing on loyalty is more cost effective in the long run. The good news is that personalisation can improve a customer’s loyalty to your brand by up to 42% according to a case study from 2016, where Betabrand used personalisation to increase their returning customer rate.
Higher average order value
Personalisation can increase your average order value by up to 10% when you use personalised recommendations, according to a study by Salesforce. They found that a customer is more likely to spend more time shopping on your site if they click on a personalised recommendation - on average, someone who clicked a recommendation spent 12.9 minutes browsing, while someone who didn’t spent an average of just 2.9 minutes.
What personalisation techniques should you use?
With all of that in mind, what is the most effective or impactful way of personalising a website to get your visitor to convert? Of course, referring to someone by name when they log in is the most obvious and easy way to start. Showing the customer that you know who they are is a basic starting point, but these are some other ways that you can show the customer you know who they are, and make them feel valued.
1. Product recommendations
Personalised product recommendations are probably one of the most effective ways of increasing sales. There are different ways you can do this - either by utilising their past purchases to show them similar products, or showing them what other customers bought who got the same item as they did. Showing a customer relevant products, instead of bombarding them with everything you’ve got is more effective.
Personalising offers means you can change the pricing, put a time limit on it, and provide images to support whatever offer you have for the individual customer.
3. Calls to action
Making sure that you give someone a relevant call to action means less frustration for your customer. Imagine being on a website, and it asking you to do something you have already done. By personalising a call to action, it is more likely that someone will do what you are asking them to do.
Personalising emails including with products, send times (if you know they are on your website at 10 pm at night, sending them an email at 10 am in the morning is going to be less effective), post purchase emails, loyalty club emails, the option to email a shopping cart to themselves is a great way to personalise.
Personalising incentives for reward programs can be a great way of getting people to remain loyal. Offering them advance access to sales, a points system where they can build up their points to redeem them at a later date, automated push messages, or personalised discount codes (for example, a coupon for their birthday), are all ideas for personalising the reward program.
6. Inline content
In the same way that Amazon does, when a user logs in to your website they should have personalised content, whether that is categories that they are interested in, hero images, or blog posts (if you use them). They should all be relevant to the user.
How do I start personalisig my site?
Data and finding a good marketing automation tool is key to getting this right. A quick google for personalisation and ecommerce throws up hundreds of results and solutions out there that businesses can take advantage of. They will track the data for you, but it’s important to think about which data you should be tracking for each individual user so that you can set it up in a way that works for your business.
The more data that you have about someone the more effective the personalisation will be, so it’s important to track not only demographics, email, name, location, but more in depth data including things like lifestyle, social cues, online behaviour and purchase history.
At a minimum, these are the things that you should be tracking:
- Pageviews - seeing which pages a customer visits
- Which ads and popups they interact with
- Location (so you can personalise based on seasons)
- Link clicks in emails
- Retargeting ad interactions
- Favourite categories
- What a customer searches for to get to your site and what they search for on your site
A quick word on surveys
Surveys can be a great way of finding out more about your visitors and their likes and dislikes, and you can use this to improve your personalisation. However, it’s important to note that with surveys it can be difficult to get a good response rate, so it might be worth incentivising it to get more replies.
By segmenting the data you have collected, you can start to create small groups for more accurate targeting. Looking for patterns is key here. Once you have found those you can start to create smart lists and tags, and filters and triggers so that each person will have a personalised experience.
Smart lists relate back to your chosen personalisation tool. It is effectively a list system, for example - a first time visitor would go on a list to receive retargeting ads. If they take a different action, they can move to a different list. It’s a way of segmenting people in a targeted way, and keeping track of them and what funnel they are in.
Tags and filters
In order to personalise your website to a visitor something needs to be triggered so that your website can be personalised for the visitor. The trigger is usually one of the data points you have collected (For example, a new user signing up to the loyalty program will mean that when they log in they will get shown information about any upcoming presales).
You will need to set these all up in your marketing automation tool. To do this you need to decide what criteria you want to use to trigger the campaign personalisation.
With these steps in place, your conversion rate, loyalty, average order value and time spent on site should see a definite increase. The biggest hurdle for most brands and advertisers is data, but the more data you have about an individual the higher the chances of someone buying on your website. Demographic data is no longer enough to attract a loyal customer - more and more people expect a website to be more personalised these days. They are telling you exactly what they want with their behaviour on your website, and it’s more important than ever before to listen.