The Era of Personalized Marketing and What it Means to Your ECommerce Website
Users are hyperconnected across multiple devices, from smartphones and laptops to wearables like FitBits and the Apple Watch, and even home systems like the Alexa-powered Echo.
This digital disruption has led to a data revolution that has changed the buyer's journey as we knew it.
Hyperconnectivity is churning out more data about individual buyers than ever before, and e-Commerce stores would do well to learn how to tap into it to maximize conversions.
Enter Personalized Marketing
Buyer personas, marketing channels, and messages have become increasingly narrower in recent years. So narrow, in fact, that marketing efforts are starting to look like they were created specifically for individual consumers.
We're not talking about putting a person's name on an email or direct mailer. Small personalization efforts on a one-size-fits-all marketing campaign isn't cutting it like it used to (if it ever did). Instead, companies are finding favor in crafting experiences on the individual level, on the consumer's terms.
It sounds tedious and complicated, and truthfully it is. That's why many companies have shied away from using personalization techniques despite their effectiveness. It's time-consuming. It's expensive. It's involved and requires extensive research.
But studies show it's absolutely worth it.
80% of marketers agree that personalized content is more effective than non-personalized content. It's estimated that companies who fully engage with personalization will outsell their non-engaged competitors by 20%, a number that could be the difference between remaining profitable or going out of business.
Personalization Vs. Segmentation
Historically, personalization was largely driven by segmentation. Companies would divide their customer base into market "segments" of users who shared interests, buying habits, or other characteristics. For example, a company might send an email offer only to those who made a purchase in the past 30 days. The email might contain "personalized" nuggets that indicated only shoppers of the last 30 days were receiving such an offer.
Truth be told, segmentation is a powerful marketing tool. It's been shown to increase profitability, improve customer retention, and deliver a higher level of service. But segmentation will never be interchangeable with personalization, nor is it the more powerful option.
Personalization today has created an entirely new definition of segmentation - breaking a customer base into individual buyers.
Shoppers love when brands are able to make relevant recommendations. They want companies to know their interests and preferences. Personalization has been shown to increase revenue. It can lead to loyalty, impulse buys, and more frequent purchases.
That's not to say that segmentation doesn't work anymore - it does. But if consumers are clamoring for more personalized experiences (and they are), e-Commerce stores would do well to listen.
What Does Personalized Marketing Really Look Like?
Personalization in marketing has reached new heights in recent years. Not only do consumers want to control their content at the right time on the device of their choice, they expect it.
They want the flexibility to start shopping on their mobile device and finish the checkout on their desktop. They want a seamless experience between mobile and desktop without losing functionality. They want to see relevant products in advertisements, not just ones that fit their typical demographic.
But what does this look like in action?
In some cases, personalized marketing takes the form of products.
Look at Coca Cola's Share a Coke campaign that printed real names on its beverages. It prompted people to search for names of friends or family members. It made them feel good about buying a drink with their own name on it. The company even included common titles, such as mom, dad, champion, or other buzzwords.
Lays did the same things with their Create a Chip campaign, which allowed customers to customize their own flavor of potato chip.
More commonly seen are personalized experiences, such as those delivered by Stitch Fix or Third Love. These shopping experiences hand-curate items for each individual. Users answer a series of questions to determine the best products for their needs, and the stylists do the rest.
Stitch Fix built its brand on allowing consumers to have their own personal stylist based on their unique interests. They take it a step further by fostering ongoing communication with the stylist so he or she can become better at selecting items for each customer.
Personalized recommendations are the most common form of personalization, and it's becoming more widespread as AI and automation continue to expand. Amazon, Facebook, Walmart, and other top players are king when it comes to recommending relevant products. They leverage user data to create a blend of email marketing, retargeting campaigns, and on-site advertisements tailored to the individual.
Studies show that almost half of consumers have made an impulse purchase due to a product recommendation from a company.
What the Personalization Trend Means for Today's E-Commerce Websites
The "build it and they will come" mentality doesn't work in today's competitive e-Commerce world. Buyers are only interested in what applies to them, and the more you can find out about their interests the better off your bottom line will be.
The good news is that personalized marketing isn't just for big e-stores with big budgets. Even small businesses are able to harness the algorithms that take the guesswork out of personalized marketing. Using retargeting in your marketing strategy is one of the easiest ways to take advantage of personalization techniques, and you can spend as little or as much as you like.
Email automation to deflect shopping cart abandonment or make personal recommendations is also achievable on small budgets. Some studies show personalized email offers can increase conversions up to 30%.
Personalization is becoming a consumer expectation, yet only about 15% of marketers are taking full advantage. Just like social media, email, and branded websites, personalized experiences may eventually become the norm, but for now there's plenty of room to make it your e-Commerce store's competitive advantage.
Author: Alli Hill is a content writer for NoStop Blog Writing Service with experience in SEO, marketing, and social media. A longtime daydreamer, wordsmith, and creative, Alli thrives on good books, Pinterest, fresh stationary, and plenty of caffeine. Originally from South Carolina, she now resides in Georgia with her husband, two children, and golden retriever.