Unlocking the Power of eCommerce Personalization: 6 Actionable Tactics to Revolutionize Your Digital Strategy

In ecommerce, personalization has become essential as customers expect retailers to understand their needs and expectations and offer relevant products. According to McKinsey, 71% of consumers want personalized interactions, and 76% get frustrated when they don’t get them.

To catch up with this trend, digital merchants are looking for new ways to update eCommerce strategies and modify their websites to deliver personalized shopping experiences. This article provides six actionable eCommerce personalization tactics and illustrates how brands successfully implement them in real-life eCommerce settings.

READ: eCommerce SEO – 6 Easy Tips to Drive Organic Sales

What is personalization in eCommerce?

ECommerce personalization is the practice of crafting unique shopping experiences for individual customers based on their needs and preferences. It relies on diverse customer data, such as demographics, location, browsing history, previous purchases and device type. There are several benefits of eCommerce personalization, including:

Enhanced customer experience

With personalization, customers receive product recommendations that match their unique needs. This drives a satisfying shopping experience, particularly when a retailer delivers personalization across all sales channels.

Moreover, businesses can remove friction points from buying journeys by optimizing the purchase experience and using convenience-oriented features, such as pre-filled credit card details and one-click checkout.

READ: How to Minimize Cybersecurity Risks and Balance Customer Friction for Your Online Business

Improved conversions

Personalization addresses customers’ individual needs, thus increasing the relevance of a brand’s offerings to shoppers and encouraging them to make a purchase. According to Netcore Cloud, retailers see an average increase in conversion rates by 45% from personalization.

Stronger customer engagement and brand loyalty

Customers feel understood and taken care of when they get tailored product offers from a brand. A survey by Segment shows that 60% of consumers are likely to become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience.

Businesses cultivating customer engagement and loyalty with personalization can significantly expand their customer base, cut acquisition costs and boost retention rates.

READ: Unlocking Brand Loyalty: Enhancing Customer Experience in the Digital Age

Increased revenue

According to the previously mentioned research by McKinsey, companies that employ effective personalization techniques generate 40% more revenue from these activities than average players.

Competitive advantage

By incorporating personalization into their sales and marketing strategies, retailers can stand out among other brands that fail to meet customer expectations for tailored shopping.

5 effective eCommerce personalization tactics

With accumulated customer data and dedicated software, digital merchants can apply multiple eCommerce personalization methods.

Dynamic product recommendations

eCommerce companies can also recommend specific products based on customer demographics, location and purchase history.

The effective techniques of dynamic product recommendations include showing products similar to what a customer has viewed, cross-department suggestions of complementary products and prompting customers to continue shopping where they’ve left off.

  • Example: Pura Vida Bracelets, an accessory business, introduced two recommendation categories on their product pages, “Products you recently viewed” and “Customers also like”, displaying similar popular products. Within the first year, product recommendations demonstrated an average conversion rate of 7.9%, with more than a 10% increase in overall revenue.

Personalized emails

An effective way to engage customers and increase conversions is to send personalized emails and newsletters with discounts for products that customers have recently viewed. Emailing time-limited offers can add urgency and increase purchase intent.

  • Example: Adidas sends personalized Birthday Style Ideas emails to customers with products they can like. This way, the brand values its customers by recognizing their special day and showing a deep understanding of their preferences.

READ: Email Drip Campaigns — 3 Examples and Best Practices To Boost Customer Engagement

Search personalization

eCommerce website search engines can be enhanced with semantic search capabilities to provide relevant search results to each different customer, with allowance for spelling mistakes and differences in how they can describe the same product.

  • Example: Jenson USA, an online bicycle retailer, segmented its customers into different types of bikers to deliver web search results tailored to a particular user. For example, if a customer has bought a mountain bike, then suitable tires and gear will pop up at the top of their search results. As a result, the company increased its revenue per visitor by 8.5%.

Abandoning visitors retargeting

Cart abandonment is a pressing problem in eCommerce, and personalization can help bring customers back to complete their purchases. Ideally, companies should retarget customers at risk of abandoning the cart with personalized offers through email or messages on social media.

Experts advise limiting your retargeting period from 7 to 14 days to reach out to customers when they are most likely to complete the purchase.

  • Example. Morvelo, a cycling clothing brand, sends customers an email reminding them of the products left in the cart and encouraging them to return and finish the purchase.

Personalized loyalty programs

Online retailers can personalize their reward and loyalty programs to build a stronger emotional bond with their audiences and increase customer satisfaction, ultimately leading to more conversions.

Best practices for loyalty program personalization include personalizing all communications, tracking loyalty points accumulated by program members and offering personalized deals to motivate customers to achieve reward goals by making more purchases.

  • Example. Starbucks uses AI-powered real-time personalization with gamification features in their loyalty app to engage customers. The brand makes product recommendations and comes up with personalized games to reward loyalty program members and encourage them to try new products. The games tripled Starbucks’s marketing campaign results and spendings from customers who redeemed offers.

The bottom line

Modern consumers expect personalized interactions from brands and are likely to become loyal when their shopping experiences are tailored to their needs and preferences. By incorporating eCommerce personalization into marketing strategies, companies can better understand customers, predict their wishes and provide them with the most relevant offers.

eCommerce personalization is a rewarding practice that improves customer relationships, reduces churn rates and acquisition costs, sets your brand apart from others and drives revenue. Retailers that hesitate to adopt personalization today can miss business growth opportunities and lag behind competitors.

 

Alena KuptsovaAlena Kuptsova is a Technology Research Analyst at Itransition, a software development company based in Denver, CO. She analyzes current digital transformation trends and explores the opportunities the emerging technologies bring to businesses across industries.

Introducing ColoradoBiz’s 2022 CEO of the Year – John Street

A cousin of John Street once expressed surprise that such a creative soul would be drawn to a career in business. Street, an accomplished clarinet and piano player who studied business and accounting at Notre Dame, reasoned that he’s “ambidextrous” in terms of interests and aptitudes, and that, besides, business lends itself to plenty of creativity.

John Street is the co-founder and CEO of Pax8, a cloud-commerce marketplace that enables outsourced IT service providers to efficiently manage clients’ cloud operations. It’s the fifth “significant” startup Street has launched or led in a career of business-building going back to 1986, and he says, “It’s turning out to be the best of the bunch.”

READ — Denver Ranks 10th in Fastest-Growing Startup Cities List

The Greenwood Village-based firm, founded in 2012, has grown from 550 employees in 2020 to 1,300 nearing the end of 2022. Revenues have multiplied similarly, as the company is on track for sales surpassing $1 billion in 2022. Pax8 works with 25,000 managed service providers who serve more than 250,000 small and medium-sized businesses worldwide.

“The concept behind Pax8 was that traditional IT distribution really wasn’t built for the cloud era,” Street says. “We kind of pulled apart the supply chain itself and said, ‘How do you do this better?’ In building an aggregator marketplace, you have to build real critical mass until it starts to hockey-stick north, which is what has been going on with us since about 2018.”

John Street
John Street. Shot by Jeff Nelson

Street says the thinking that spurred Pax8’s launch a decade ago was that people would increasingly work remotely, and they would become more dispersed. He foresaw small business becoming more powerful “because of democratization of software and the way it’s delivered and used, the way it’s delivered to the cloud,” he says.

“I really thought people would work more remotely because it would be good for the environment,” he says. “I was thinking it would become a global warming issue. Why drive to the office when you can work from home? The pandemic really accelerated everything by years for us. I think we essentially accelerated everything by about three years. But I think this movement was going to happen anyway.”

READ — Guest Column: CEO of Atlas Real Estate — Is Working Remote Worth the Missed Opportunity?

John Street, 66, is a Denver native, though he moved as a sixth grader to Atlanta with his family. After college, he volunteered for the Peace Corps in the Philippines, then went to work as a CPA. All of this laid the groundwork for him to run a business.

“I’m really sort of living the life goal I set for myself when I was a teenager,” he says. “Somewhere along the way I got it in my head that I really wanted to run my own business. The first was a long-distance business back in the ’80s, Telephone Express. I’d never really thought of myself as an entrepreneur per se. I really got into the business because it was opportunistic. But before I ever did that, I went through business school, I did four years in public accounting. I wanted to build a lot of operational knowledge of what I was doing before I attempted to run my own business. I did a lot of things to build experience before I got into my first CEO gig as a 29-year-old.”

That first CEO role came in 1986, when Street moved to Colorado Springs – where he lives now with his wife of 38 years, Mary — and helped turn Telephone Express into the Rocky Mountain region’s largest long-distance service provider. In 1995, he founded USA.Net, which launched the world’s first web-based email service and at its peak had 33 million users. In 2002, he founded MX Logic, which became one of the world’s largest providers of email and web security by the time it was acquired by McAfee (now part of Intel) in 2009. From 2009 to 2018, he served as chairman of MS Biotec, an agricultural biotech that pioneered the use of natural microbial organisms in feed animals to increase the efficiency of their digestion.

Street’s interests and influence extend beyond business. He’s chairman emeritus of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, which he’s credited with leading out of financial hardship onto firm footing.

John Street

He’s also executive producer of “Jumpin’ Jazz Kids – A Swinging Jungle Tale,” a Grammy finalist in the Best Children’s Album category in 2013 (his clarinet playing can even be heard on the recording), and he’s co-producer with Steve Barta of the newly released orchestration of Claude Bolling’s classic work “Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano.”

Street is asked about the qualities required of an entrepreneur with his seemingly inexhaustible ideas and interests vs. a CEO in charge of a company with more than 1,000 employees.

“I kid people that I need to start a company that takes grain and cooks it and boxes it up so I can be a ‘cereal entrepreneur,’” he jokes. More seriously, he adds, “I kind of distinguish between entrepreneurs, who are really setting out to solve something, and guys who get into business for themselves who are just sort of being opportunistic.

“I would have stayed with my telecom stuff, but in the ’90s, voice-over IP was a huge disruption to this whole long-distance business we were in,” he says. “We sold that company and we pivoted into internet, and I can walk you through long stories of that, but I do think you’re kind of either an entrepreneur or you’re not, and the label of ‘serial entrepreneur’ has always struck me as a bit funny.”

Street is known for setting aside one day a week away from Pax8 to just think – about the world, about business, about company culture.

“Some days I walk around, some days I play the piano a lot,” he says, adding that he’s a fan of puzzles, particularly the Sudoku variety. “The one thing I appreciate more now than ever is that the good CEOs have a really good vision of things. There are a lot of CEOs who are good business transaction people, but if you’re really going to run a transformative business, which Pax8 is, you need to have really good vision, and in order to have better vision, you can’t be so narrow that you’re just looking at your own particular thing. You need to know what’s going on in the world.

John Street Piano2 3426
John Street. Shot by Jeff Nelson

“So I read a lot,” he says of those designated “thinking” days. “I’m not thinking about Pax8, I’m thinking about what’s going on in the world and how the IT industry itself is fitting into this.”

Some of Street’s thinking outside the workplace is more structured or intentional. One of the many boards he serves on is the Institute for Cultural Evolution, a Boulder-based think tank co-founded by his friend Steve McIntosh, a leader in the integral philosophy movement. The organization explores how integral philosophy can mitigate the effects of hyper-polarity in American society. Whole Foods Market co-founder John Mackey is another board member.

“We really have different worldviews going on, and I could go on a lot about this, but we really need to evolve,” Street explains of the think tank’s work. “We’re in kind of a funny time period for the U.S. We have a traditional worldview, and we have a modern worldview, and it’s hard for them to find a common ground. We have to imagine a higher plane, where we take the good of each of the worldviews and kind of leave the pathologies behind.”

John Street has found the think tank applicable to his own business. “It gives me sort of a bigger global view of what I’m doing with Pax8,” he says. “It’s letting me think a lot about where we are headed with work and labor and full employment and things like that, because Pax8 itself is really poised to be a large company in the future, and could be around for decades.”

 

Make sure to check out our 2022 CEO of the Year finalists, too!

Cory Kwarta — CEO, Swisslog Healthcare
Broomfield

Bart Valdez — CEO, Ingenovis Health
Greenwood Village

Kristi Alford-Haarberg — President & CEO, E2 Optics
Englewood

Grant McCargo — Co-founder & CEO, Urban Villages
Denver

Bill Henricks — President & CEO, AllHealth Network
Englewood

Gerry Agnes — President & CEO, Elevations Credit Union
Boulder

Elycia Cook — CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado
Englewood

Claudia Samuel — CEO, Samuel Engineering
Greenwood Village

Seth Anderson — CEO, Weifield Electrical Contracting
Centennial

Mike TaylorMike Taylor is the editor of ColoradoBiz.

eCommerce SEO – 6 Easy Tips to Drive Organic Sales

With the commencement of digitalization, the prevalence of eCommerce sites has skyrocketed. Research suggests that the e-commerce market in the US is expected to reach $875 billion by the end of 2022. But as many players have entered this luring market, competition has increased two-fold. Amidst such competition, every eCommerce site has to optimize its site to drive more sales. However, unless and until you aim to rank your site among the top position in SERPs, you might not gain enough sales.

Hence, to help your business grow substantially, we have compiled a few tips to optimize your site and drive more sales. If implemented properly, these tips can help you increase sales drastically.

READ — Content Marketing to Engage Employees

Tips to Drive Organic Sales

1. Keywords

The first and foremost thing you should focus on is keywords. Start your search on what type of phrases or keywords your target audience uses to find the content they are searching for. Here are some basic strategies to get the best results.

  • Analyze the search terms used by your potential customers for the products/services you are selling.
  • You can use various tools, or you can use Google automated suggestions to find such keywords.
  • For eCommerce sites, Amazon is considered to be the replica of Google. So to find the keywords people use to search your products, you can search them on Amazon. Notice which long tail keywords or short keywords are being used.

2. Improve Your site speed

The longer a website takes to load, the higher the bounce rate for that site will be. Furthermore, a higher bounce rate is unhealthy for a site as it conveys to the search engine that more users are leaving the website within a few seconds of opening it. This will downgrade your ranking, resulting in decreased sales and affecting your overall business. Research suggests that 40% of visitors do not wait more than three seconds for a website to load. So every business eCommerce site should aim for a higher loading speed. To get this done, you can also take help from an SEO Virtual Assistant who will help you get a faster-loading website with minimal errors. Here are some tips to increase your website speed:

Host your files on CDN

This method can save 60% of your bandwidth. A vast global network of servers hosts your files through the use of CDNs.

Choose a high-performance hosting server

The administration and operation of your website are significantly influenced by the hosting company you choose. That affects the speed of its pages. The greatest error an eCommerce business can make is accepting subpar hosting in exchange for a reduced monthly fee.

Reduce redirects

Having too many redirects on your website can increase the loading time of your website. So avoid using a number of menus and internal links.

READ — A practical marketing guide for your business

3. Optimize your product page.

Your site might have different product pages to help your customers buy the right type of product without much hassle. Thus you have to optimize each product page in the following manner:

Heading

Every product page heading should contain the keyword that should be marked with an H1 tag. Heading tags help search engine bots to identify the most important information on your product page. But if you put more than one H1 on the same product page, the bots might get confused, affecting your website SEO negatively.

Images

You should use at least one HDR image of your product to showcase what your product actually looks likes. But uploading is not a task to be done here; you also need to optimize alt text as well as rename the file name as per what the image is all about. For example, if your image is of red shoes, then you can use alt text describing the red shoes in the image using the keyword.

4. Clean your broken links

Check if you have any broken links on your website. Remove all the broken links, as they have historically been viewed negatively by SEOs. However, they have an influence on consumer experience in addition to website performance. With the help of SEO tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz, you can easily identify broken links available on your website. Try to remove the majority of such links, but if you are not able to track all of them, it is not the end of the world, as you have the option to take help from eCommerce SEO experts who have extensive experience in tracking such links and updating them.

5. Go for Backlinks

Incorporating link-building into your SEO strategy has become crucial today. You need to build some high-quality backlinks if you want your e-commerce site to rank better on search engines. Earlier, Google used to notice the number of backlinks available on the site to check its authority. This criterion made brands focus on getting a number of backlinks on their website rather than seeing the quality of the backlinks. But as time has changed now, Google focuses on the referral sites of the backlinks. For example, getting a backlink from Amazon is more fruitful for any eCommerce business than any other website. This is the reason brands should now focus on getting high-1uality backlinks.

6. Create Unique, high-quality content

It might be challenging to avoid creating different content for the different products on your site. However, it is crucial for e-commerce websites to prevent duplication of the content if you want to compel more customers to buy the products you are offering. Try to be specific and sell out the USP of your products rather than writing what other brands have written. Hire product description writers and get your product description content unique and revenue driven.

READ — 12 ways to repurpose social media content for email marketing 

Conclusion

Getting your website ranked amidst such cutthroat competition is a very tedious task. Therefore, brands have to be smarter than ever in making their website rank at the top so that they are able to reach more customers. To do so, having complete knowledge of eCommerce SEO is imperative for brands, and in addition, they need to implement the strategies in the right manner to yield the best results.

Mike Wilson is a content strategist at SunTec India with a specialization in eCommerce SEO and PPC. He has 5+ years of experience as a B2B content creator and has written numerous informative pieces to help sellers make sense of the continuously evolving eCommerce landscape.

Pivots your eCommerce business should make, post-COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we do business. For eCommerce companies especially, the challenges caused by the virus meant shake-ups in day-to-day operations while meeting changing customer needs.

When the virus finally begins to ebb, eCommerce companies will need to pivot—or continue to pivot—to meet the needs of a changing economy. Luckily, however, the pandemic should have been great practice for a flexible digital business strategy.

While the coronavirus continues to affect businesses in Colorado and across the world, you can analyze and apply the following strategies to enhance your eCommerce approach.

Here’s what you should know.

1. Embrace Remote Work

The trend towards remote work for all kinds of employees does not appear to be going away anytime soon. According to a poll by Gartner, at least 48% of employees will likely work remotely at least part-time after the pandemic, making digital collaboration an essential aspect of any business approach.

Modern eCommerce companies need to fully embrace remote work and accept that it isn’t going away anytime soon. Instead, the tools, policies, and practices needed to make remote work efficient should now be defined and honed.

This means training employees in digital communication tools, setting clear communication expectations, and implementing goal-oriented tasks that employees can thrive with under little supervision.

2. Streamline Management

Ensuring your success in the uncertain economic conditions to come will be contingent on your ability to streamline all aspects of your management style. This includes changing employment norms, shifting customer concerns, reducing costs, and improving systems at every turn.

For example, many companies are moving away from full-time workers and opting for a workforce of contractors or contingent employees instead. This can save companies serious cash since this method ensures you only pay for necessary work.

At the same time, the nature of roles within a company is changing as well. Now, the emphasis is on adaptable skillsets and creative encouragement. Empower your workers to offer suggestions and make changes as needed to maintain productivity.

3. Construct a Social Safety Net

The pandemic has seriously shaken up norms in terms of accommodations made for employees. Lately, many businesses have taken a much more flexible and humanistic approach to navigate employee needs and wellness. Such empathy and accommodations will be expected from post-COVID workplaces.

The best way you can support your workers is to institute policies of care and flexibility. This means a supportive social safety net that offers access to resources from healthcare to childcare.

There are many ways an eCommerce company can go about providing these—from insurance plans to simply understanding employee’s needs. Either way, the productivity and success of an eCommerce company are dependent on its ability to improve employees’ health and well-being—now and into the future.

4. Enhance Marketing Efforts Through Social Media

The success of eCommerce companies is also tied with their marketing success, which relies on content and social media. These two tools—often used hand-in-hand—allow for greater outreach and customer engagement where customers increasingly live: online.

The use of content marketing, for example, is a growing necessity. With unlimited search engine optimization (SEO) and visibility offered by a quality content marketing approach, eCommerce businesses must be on top of crafting content for the digital age, whether that be through video or social media.

The popularity of video content on platforms like Instagram and TikTok is exploding all the time. For small businesses looking to grow in a post-pandemic world, using social media platforms to disseminate your content is an absolute must. Analyze your media demographics to create the best possible messaging for your social media pages. Although utilizing these social media platforms will inevitably improve your marketing campaign, going more digital will also require more security steps as well.

5. Focus on Changing Customer and Employee Needs

The future of digital business will require changes to maintain the safety of data and efficiency of results. The pandemic has caused a massive increase in cyber attacks, creating a huge demand for trained cybersecurity professionals. At the same time, expanding internet services to rural users is a necessity for growing online businesses.

Luckily, a group of some of the top business leaders in Colorado has come together to project a “road to recovery.” This plan calls for better technology training as well as resources across Colorado that will help citizens navigate challenges. ECommerce companies can emulate this plan to increase their chances of success.

By striving to train or hire employers with advanced technological skills, eCommerce businesses can build in the kinds of security and innovative ability to survive any economy. Supporting efforts to increase broadband access can help in these endeavors.

While the pandemic brought substantial changes to business processes, eCommerce companies can pivot for success in the post-COVID world. This will entail embracing the changes that have already occurred while managing a flexible and empathetic work environment for your workers.

ECommerce decision-makers can start now by analyzing and re-evaluating their business processes. Remember, a people-first approach may be the best way to achieve the results you want from the post-pandemic economy.