Guest Blog, Annabel Daly: Personalisation – the next step in modern-day eCommerce…
Ask any eCommerce retailer how they strive to get ahead of their competitors and they will invariably tell you the same things. Some may focus on organic SEO, aiming to rank higher than the opposition for what they consider to be key customer search terms, whilst others may plough more time and monetary investment into pay-per-click advertising or email marketing.
It’s so easy, however, to think of our customers as one large populous of people rather than considering them as individuals. Technology is evolving, and today, more than ever, personalisation is coming to the fore.
According to Adobe’s Real-Time Marketing Study, 77 per cent of marketers consider “dynamic, personalised content” to be very important for successful eCommerce websites. So what exactly does this involve?
eCommerce personalisation can be broken down into three core categories: site search, product recommendations and automated email marketing.
Site search should be commonplace in all eCommerce sites, but a personalised solution enables you to quickly react to customers’ ever-increasing demands in seconds. For example, your Autocomplete feature should be more than just relevant search terms or products; it should have the ability to correct spellings, add synonym rules and allow content search, rather than just products. One step further, to avoid the dreaded “no results” page, is to show product recommendations and therefore encourage conversions.
Sometimes known as “personalised merchandising”, product recommendations allow you to personalise content areas for your website, such as the homepage banner or “you may also like” recommendations. These should be responsive, supportive of multiple content types (e.g. images or HTML) and varied – for example, based on your basket or previous purchases. The team at PureNet have recently released new software, PureClarity, to enable these systems to run themselves and determine the best content for the aforementioned content areas.
Finally, as mentioned previously, email marketing can be instrumental in driving conversions, but you can get one step ahead with personalised, automated email marketing. What differentiates personalised email marketing from traditional email marketing is the ability to upload bespoke templates. Whereas automated emails may be sent to those who have abandoned their basket for example, personalised emails give you the freedom to insert product recommenders or personalised content.
The benefits of personalising your eCommerce site are virtually limitless. As a site owner, you should be wary of personalising not only your product recommendations, but also your content in general, ensuring you are targeting relevant customers and appealing to their interests.
Of course, the statistics speak for themselves: 75 per cent of us admit we prefer to use a retailer with a personalised experience. Moreover, from an email perspective, personalised emails improve click through rates by 14 per cent and conversion rates by 10 per cent – a true testament to the ROI of this marketing technique.
In the increasingly competitive world of e-Commerce, a business owner who makes his or her customers feel special is far more likely to succeed. Optimising your website for personalisation can be time-consuming, but ultimately will achieve a huge return on investment in terms of time and money.
Annabel Daly is group marketing manager for Magento eCommerce and portal agency, PureNet. Annabel has worked within the eCommerce industry for many years across internal and client marketing, with portfolios including Krispy Kreme, The Royal British Legion and Illamasqua. Annabel has a particular interest in innovation including personalisation and conversion-focused design.