Successful eCommerce brands know that there is no better way to make an online customer feel special than through a personalised shopping experience. This understanding is not limited to luxury brand marketers — most online merchandisers try to make their consumers feel like royalty, and it works.
When a customer feels a connection to a brand, sales and loyalty both increase. ecommerce personalisation can offer a slew of benefits that energise an existing customer base and increase profitability far more efficiently than trying to acquire new customers.
Almost 90% of consumers say that they are influenced by ecommerce personalisation, and almost 90% of marketers say that ecommerce personalisation has boosted revenues (source). Ecommerce personalisation obviously offers plenty of benefits.
Personalisation is key to ecommerce success, but remains a challenge
Despite all the benefits of personalisation, more than half of online companies have yet to implement any ecommerce personalisation program. Why? Because ecommerce personalisation can get tricky, and there are many factors which require consideration:
- Data issues – limited data on new customers and an overwhelming amount of data for established customers.
- Results must be available fast – but must still be high quality. The system must respond to new input in real time.
- Effective personalisation is mathematically complex – Determining statistical significance at scale and on a one-to-one level is a huge mathematical challenge.
- Legacy CMS and back office systems – represent a major roadblock for some businesses.
The bare necessities
Enterprise-grade ecommerce personalisation involves several moving parts, requiring brands to connect, consolidate, analyse, and activate their data in real time. Though, this can only happen when the following technological components are present at the core.
Unified dataset. Information from every touchpoint along the customer journey must be made available to create a single source of truth from which to take instant action. Therefore, businesses employing several point solutions in the marketing stack may consider replacement with that of a holistic personalisation platform, as essential data from these tools often get stuck in silos, making it nearly impossible to leverage.
Open architecture. Integration with various tools from the marketing technology stack, no matter what the vendor, should happen seamlessly to enable powerful personalisation use cases. A high level of flexibility can reduce engineering time and generate a significant amount of value in new profit by accelerating a business’ rate of deployment.
Decision logic. Automation of analysis and delivery are necessary to increase efficiencies, scale operations, and ensure each customer receives the optimal experience. As the number of tests and variations increase along an experimentation roadmap, assessing the impact becomes an incredibly data-heavy task, a feat which can only be scaled with machine learning. It is important to stress that segmentation is not personalisation, it is lumping audiences together in clusters, rather than personalising right down to the individual shopper.
How to win with ecommerce personalisation
What are the primary things a business needs to consider before deciding on the right ecommerce personalisation solution? Personalisation technology selection means knowing what to look for and how it’s going to deliver on business goals. With so many possible implementations and a great deal of variation between the capabilities each can provide, getting answers to the questions below is absolutely critical to moving forward in conversations with a vendor.
Once the full extent of their capabilities are known, a proper evaluation can be conducted with all relevant stakeholders involved, including marketing, engineering, product, and analytics. After which, suitable options should be strongly considered and weaker ones eliminated.
CX is only as good as the personalisation partner you keep
While the right fit is heavily dependent on a vendor’s capabilities, many other important factors impact the decision to ultimately opt for one provider over another. Like whether or not the same vision for personalisation is shared, a company’s future needs align well with the current product roadmap, proven use cases are available to demonstrate expertise in a given industry, and that the resources and infrastructure exists to support a growing program.
Technology is merely a vehicle through which customer experiences are formed. A true partner in personalisation has the power to transform entire digital strategies, augmenting efforts in the development of new ideas and implementations, establishment of workflows and processes, analysis and refinement of campaigns, as well as the advancement of innovative initiatives.
The more informed about a vendor and how it operates, the greater the potential an original investment in personalisation will be returned, and more importantly, produce dividends.
The importance of personalisation in ecommerce
Ecommerce personalisation tools increase sales, customer engagement, and customer loyalty. 45% of consumers say they are more likely to shop on an ecommerce site that offers personalisation. Setting up a truly effective personalised ecommerce experience may be seen as a complex proposition involving lots of moving parts, but with the right set of tools at hand, it is much easier to achieve. Overall, ecommerce personalisation is simply the only way to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced ecommerce environment, and luckily, it is always possible to start small.