In our last post, we wrote about the advantages of personalization for e-commerce sites. This time, we would like to show you how to gather data that will help you understand the journey and preferences of your visitors, and use this information to create a personalized experience.
The first thing you will need to provide in a personalized experience for your customers is information about them. Although most of your visitors won’t share personal data with you the first time they arrive at your site, there are a lot of things you can do to improve their impressions without knowing the email addresses or dates of birth.
What you certainly know is where they come from, and with a little work, you can show content to them accordingly.
If you run search advertisements or social media campaigns, you’ve probably already optimized the landing pages of your ads to serve the visitors in the best way possible.
You can do the same for pages that perform well in organic searches, and improve their copy if it is outdated or not as valuable as you’d like it to be. It’s also a good idea to study your visitor’s journey and suggest a next action they should take on any given page.
The behavior flow report in Google Analytics can show you how your visitors travel from one page to another and inform you about the places where their journey ends.
Taking into account the device your visitors use, or changing content according to the location of your users, or the time they arrive at your site, can also improve conversion rates.
Your content can reflect the actions your visitors take on your site too. Users who searched for something on the page, purchased an item, or took the first step to do so, should see different promotions, recommendations or reminders than the ones your new visitors see.
If you can get your visitors to log in to your site, you’ll be able to take website personalization to the next level. Our company, SpringTab, for example, uses Facebook’s Single Sign On solution to collect information about the preferences of the visitors and help website owners create recommendations based on the favorite brands or activities of their customers.
Most of the personalizing web applications allow you to create profiles for your visitors or sort them taking into account most of the factors I’ve mentioned above. Some personalization companies let you use third-party data, as well as its own database in order to refine your profiles and learn more about your potential customers.
After you manually segment your users or let your software do this job for you, the applications will allow you define which areas of your website should display different content according to the purchase history, geo location, interest, or other personal attributes of your users. This is what we are going to study at next.
Where to display dynamic content, and how to personalize the visitor’s journey?
In this part of our post we’re going to introduce 10 personalization methods that popular e-commerce sites use to improve the users’ experience and take advantage of the behavioral and personal information their visitors provide.
We are certain that you will find some that suit your audience and the products you are selling.
- Create a pop-up for the new visitors.
Displaying a small pop-up for new visitors could give you the opportunity to convince them to stay longer or return at a later time. You can either use this part of your screen real estate to offer discounts, or to educate your customers. If your site has unique features, or you are selling complex products, this tactic could be remarkably useful.
- Offer coupons that are tailored to your visitors.
You can greet returning visitors the same way you welcome new ones. For them, you can provide discounts on products that are related to their previous purchases. You can also remind them about items they left in their cart the last time. To make your reminder more persuasive, combine it with a time-limited offer!
- Use dynamic keywords.
If you’re using Google AdWords, you’re probably familiar with the option that lets you insert the exact keywords people are searching for into the headline of your text ads. You can use the same technique to make pop-up windows, offers, and other messages more relevant on your site for people, who found your site on SERPs.
- Simplify navigation.
Visitors rarely purchase items during the first visit to your site, and tend to view quite a few items before they decide to buy one. You can save them from several clicks if you display the recently viewed items. Additionally, you can also call their attention to product or category pages where they spent a longer time during their previous visits.
- Take into consideration the location of your visitors.
If you deliver products to more than one countries, accepting local currencies or displaying content in different languages will very likely increase conversions. If your software is capable of real-time personalization, you could also create recommendations that take into account the typical weather at a visitor’s location. This way, you can, for example, offer waterproof clothing, if it’s rains a lot where they live.
- Connect your content with products for micro-conversions.
There are many ways your e-commerce company could benefit from creating e-books, guides, how-to articles, manuals, or any other content that could answer the questions your consumers might have about your products. Useful content can both help to improve your rankings in Google and connect with buyers when they are just considering a purchase of a product.
And there is one more reason to write this type of content: If you can discover from on-site searches or behavioral data that one of your visitors has shown interest in a product, you can offer him or her related guides as downloadable content in exchange for an email address.
Maybe your visitors are not ready to make a purchase the first time, but that doesn’t mean they won’t give you an email address and come back later if they like what you send them.
- Use sociographic information for more persuasive offers.
It’s very likely that you have a higher chance to convince a single young man and middle-aged housewife about the merits of the same product if you call their attention to different characteristics of the item. Use what you learned about your visitors’ interest and personality to create different images or product descriptions for the various segments of your users to increase your conversion rates!
- Ask a question.
Sometimes you can recommend more relevant products by simply asking a few questions about your visitors’ preferences. How useful this method is, of course, depends on the type of products you are selling. But if you can significantly narrow down the selection for your visitors, or you need information that your analytic tools can’t provide, it might be a good idea to try this approach. For example, you could ask your visitors about the price range of the products they are interested in, or the style of the clothes they are looking for.
- Pre-fill forms.
Fill out the required fields in the check-out process or in other forms you use on your website with the data you’ve previously collected about your users! As longer forms are known to decrease conversion rates this one is a no-brainer.
- Don’t forget about retargeting and newsletters.
As retargeting visitors with display campaigns is usually more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, it’s a good idea to remind your users this way about the products they were interested in but left in the cart. And if you happen to know the email addresses of your visitors, you can also send them newsletters in these cases.
Which techniques will have the best effect on your site, of course, depends on the nature of your products and the capabilities of your software. In any case, it’s always a good idea to test before you make permanent changes to your site.
We hope you’ll find some of the tips we shared in this post useful. If you’d like to read more about this topic check out this post on e-commerce personalization examples. For this article, we collected several use cases that might inspire you even more to create personalized experiences.