How Ecommerce Personalization Can Increase Customer Loyalty and Boost Sales

Guide to ecommerce personalization
Bernard Meyer
Bernard Meyer
Content Growth Marketer
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Ecommerce personalization is the process of tailoring the content, recommendations and offers a customer sees based on their previous buying and browsing behavior, along with their demographics and personal data. 

As a result, the customer sees content that’s more applicable to them and their circumstances, and brands can ensure that their audience is seeing the most appropriate content. 

71% of consumers feel frustrated when their shopping experience is impersonal. Moreso, 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized, and a whopping 91% of consumers say they’re more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations.

Product recommendation from target
An example of product recommendations from Target

You’ll see examples of ecommerce personalization every time you make an online purchase—you just might not realize it. If you’re still thinking about what personalization ecommerce is, here are some ecommerce personalization examples to help you to understand some of the key touchpoints:

  • Personalized product recommendations 
  • Personalized search results
  • Redirects to a geographical site and geo-located offers
  • Homepage or product pages that give personalized detail
  • Cart-abandonment emails
  • Personalized ecommerce emails based on user behavior
  • Onboarding quizzes
  • Upsells and subscription offers
  • Reminders to reorder a product
  • Showing product recommendations and upsells
  • Delivering personalized offers to returning visitors
  • Weather-sensitive content (depending on what you sell)

Buyers are often looking for a more personal experience that delivers exactly what they need when they shop online. They want it to be convenient, tailored and easy for them to find what they want.  By adding the human element of personalization, it adds authenticity and connection to the buyer journey. 

In fact, 84% of consumers say that being treated like a person rather than a number is very important to winning their business.

This connection is likely to have become even more important as buyers have missed out on that ‘in-person’ experience of buying in-store during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that ability to touch and feel products. Personalization can make it feel less computer-driven, and more like there’s a human touch in there.

Let’s take a deeper look at what personalization in ecommerce is, how it can benefit you, and the best practices and examples you need to know to make your personalization efforts successful.

Benefits of Personalization in Ecommerce

Good ecommerce personalization should meet the needs of its users, give good recommendations and be used where the return justifies the investment. The great thing about personalization is that it isn’t one-sided—personalization has benefits to the buyer as well as the ecommerce retailer. 

When used correctly, personalization in ecommerce has the following benefits for both parties:

  • The buyer gets useful content, product recommendations and offers directly
  • The buyer discovers new products that they want to use or will be useful in everyday life
  • Cart abandonment emails serve as a reminder to purchase specific items—our lives are busier than ever and it’s easy to get distracted mid-purchase
  • The buyer has a positive customer experience 
  • The retailer can capture the buyer’s attention with content that they’ll automatically be more interested in
  • Stop information overload and analysis paralysis with the buyer having too many choices to sift through—you’re delivering them the information that you know they’re looking for.
  • Improved loyalty and overall sales

In fact, clothing brand Black Halo used automated emails that incorporated personalization as part of their marketing strategy. They used a welcome email series, cross-sell emails and cart, browse and product abandonment messaging. 

The results? Black Halo increased their revenue by $20,000 in just the first month of implementing this automation.

Black Halo automation
Black Halo’s ecommerce personalization strategy used automation to get $48 for each abandoned cart message, and $7.46 for each SMS sent.

How to Use Personalization in Ecommerce

In order to take advantage of personalized ecommerce email and other messages like SMS, you’ll need to get an ecommerce personalization software like Omnisend. Essentially, you can use automation—triggered messages that go out when a contact performs a certain action or matches certain criteria—to provide a highly personalized experience.  

There are lots of touchpoints in the buyer journey where you can choose to personalize your buyers’ experience to convert sales. You also want each of these points to work together so that your omnichannel messaging, browsing data, landing pages and recommendations all complement one another, and drive to the same goal.

The main questions you need to ask when you’re thinking about ecommerce personalization is:

  1. Where should personalization occur in the process?
  2. What information will you need to create that personalization?
  3. How will you use technology and insights to create this personalization?

Mapping out your buyer journey on site, as well as understanding your buyers and their motivations, can be really helpful to identify the areas where you can incorporate personalization and use it as a conversion tool. Go as detailed and granular as you can to really nail the detail. 

One of the most important things when it comes to effective personalization is segmenting your audience appropriately, and then using automation and personalized recommendations (and other communication) more effectively. Let’s look at each in turn.

Segmentation for better personalization

The first step of any sort of personalization—well, real personalization, and not the “First name” kind—is to segment your subscribers.

When you segment your customers—based on behavior (recommended) or demographics—you are able to better define and therefore better target your audience.

To get really in-depth with how to segment your subscribers, you should read How to Use Email Segmentation for Smarter Ecommerce.  

Trigger-based communication (automation)

When you’ve set up your segmentation, you’ll next need to decide what kind of messages you’ll be sending out for better ecommerce personalization (leading to better engagement and sales).

This is where automation, or trigger-based messaging, comes into play. If you’re using the recommended behavioral segmentation, then your messages should go out based on your subscribers’ behaviors. So manual campaigns won’t work in any practical sense.

You can set up popular automation workflows like the welcome series, order confirmations, post-purchase messaging, cart abandonment and more. Each of these, based on Omnisend’s own ecommerce personalization statistics, have their own proven conversion rates:

2020 Automated Email Marketing Conversion Rates

Type of AutomationConv RateLift Over Campaigns
Welcome51.94%700.85%
Cart Abandonment33.89%422.60%
Lapsed-Purchaser21.27%227.94%
Post-Purchase18.21%180.81%
Product Abandonment17.53%170.22%
Browse Abandonment17.32%167.01%
 Birthday10.57% 62.96%
From Omnisend’s Ecommerce Statistics Report 2020

Personalized recommendations

The next best practice when it comes to ecommerce personalization is to use automated personalized recommendations—those recommendations that are based, again, on your subscribers’ past behavior. 

For this to work best, you’ll need to use it within your automation workflows so that it gets to the right subscriber or customer at the right time:

Personalized recommendations

For some marketing automation platforms, like Omnisend, you can even enter a Personalized Recommendation block into your emails right from the Content Editor to make it even easier to deliver personalized experiences:

The personalized recommendation block inside Omnisend’s Content Editor
The personalized recommendation block inside Omnisend’s Content Editor

The final thing that you absolutely must do with personalization in ecommerce is to check your analytics, and then revisit your strategy and personalization. How do your buyers interact with the personalized recommendations and touchpoints along their journey? What interactions convert more consistently than other types? Are there points where you’re missing the opportunity to make those conversions?

Ecommerce gives you the benefit of a huge amount of data on your customers and clients, as well as information about their time on your site—make sure that you’re using it to make decisions that will benefit your business.

Examples of Personalization in Ecommerce (with Tips)

Let’s run through some real examples of where ecommerce personalization is working well and see if you can take any inspiration from some of the best ecommerce personalization examples around:

Make it easier for your visitors by remembering their preferences

Online clothing retailer ASOS is split by gender and product type (as well as geographically). Their site remembers how you last looked at the site and automatically drops you back into the category that best suits your interests.  

In the example below, you see a gender-neutral home page, but after you’ve shown interest in women’s clothing, the homepage shows a page focused on women’s clothing:

This can be done by taking into account demographic information like gender and location when you segment your buyers, and also by correlating with purchase and visit data.

Send personalized (and automated) emails based on visitor behavior

Ecommerce giant Amazon does this consistently and extremely well. Their automation follows up with emails based on what you looked at on site, what you left in your basket and your most recent purchases. 

They’re believed to have a 60% conversion rate on product recommendations that they send through to their customers inbox. This is extremely easy to do using Omnisend, as it automates the entire process so you can let your automation work on autopilot.

Cross-sell and upsell products across your site and marketing interactions

When you’re adding products to your website, you can usually select complementary products to cross-sell and upsell to customers. It might be a matching set or something that will help you to use the product you’re currently adding to your basket. 

Cross-sell vs upsell

Retailer Target does this well on its site—if you search TVs on a desktop, you’ll get results for a matching stand or wall mount as a “frequently bought together recommendation.”  Beauty brand Sephora has a slightly different approach, promoting hot-selling products:

Here are some more details on How To Use Product Recommendations on Your Ecommerce Site so that your recommendations make sense, are useful to the customer and, most importantly of all, that they convert to more sales.

Recommendations

Ecommerce personalization is a big deal when it comes to engaging visitors, building up a relationship with your customers and converting sales, whether that’s through personalized ecommerce email, product upselling or abandoned cart emails. It makes a real difference to customers, who value ecommerce personalization in a big way, and can even help you to attract visitors to your site through boosting where you sit in search results.

It doesn’t have to be tons of extra effort either—you can automate your personalization with Omnisend, so once it’s set up you can sit back and see the benefits, like thousands of other ecommerce stores we’ve worked with to help develop personalized online shopping.

Even better, you can currently try Omnisend for free for 14 days, no credit card needed.

Bernard Meyer
Bernard Meyer

Bernard is a content growth marketer with a passion for good research, helping ecommerce businesses with their marketing automation needs, and beating absolutely everyone in Mario Kart 64.