Personalization has become standard across the ecommerce industry, and most digital customers expect their experiences to be personalized to some extent. Organizations that haven’t yet worked personalization into their digital shelf strategy are behind on their ecommerce digital transformation — and likely leaving money on the table, too.

According to Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that offers a personalized experience, while 90% find personalization appealing.

While building an ecommerce personalization strategy takes a commitment of resources, it’s well within the reach of organizations large and small. The key is to adhere to a focused, step-by-step approach to planning and implementing ecommerce personalization.

What Does an Ecommerce Personalization Strategy Look Like?

Personalization can be defined as tailoring shopping experiences to the individual shopper. But what does that actually look like when building an ecommerce personalization strategy?

There are a few simple ways brands can get started with ecommerce personalization.

One is to use customer data to tailor the emails they receive by putting their name in the subject line or suggesting products they’re likely to be interested in.

Another powerful approach is to tailor the customer’s experience on your product pages. Showing shoppers related products and using data to highlight products relevant to their interests can help your consumers find exactly what they’re looking for — and when they’re shown what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to make a purchase.

Personalization helps customers feel seen and serviced as they engage with you digitally. This is invaluable for improving an otherwise impersonal experience like online shopping, helping customers feel excited to engage digitally with your brand.

Take the following five steps to start introducing some personalization into your brand’s ecommerce experience:

5 Steps to an Ecommerce Personalization Strategy
Understand Shopper Behavior

1. Understand Shopper Behavior

The first step to developing an ecommerce personalization strategy is understanding how shoppers interact with your digital shelf. Even the most basic analytics engines can give you essential information like time on page, bounce rates, and click-through rates (CTRs).

Analyzing how users engage with your products online can tell you:

  • What a typical customer journey looks like;
  • Which items people are most likely to purchase together; and
  • What might cause customers to abandon a sale.

Assessing shopper behavior is the first step to understanding how you can best tailor your product pages to their needs. From there, you can dive deeper into consumer demographics and how they relate to behavior.

2. Understand Audience Preferences

Collecting data on how shoppers interact with your ecommerce site can help you develop data-backed theories as to why they take the actions they do. If shoppers frequently leave the site after conducting a product search, it could indicate that the search page is too difficult for them to navigate. If the data shows that hats and gloves are often viewed in the same session, that may imply that people like to purchase their winter gear together.

Collecting demographic data can help you dig even deeper into these preferences. Finding patterns in common among shoppers of the same age, gender, location, or any other demographic can create a clearer picture of the types of consumers who shop in your online store.

3. Segment Audiences

With a foundation of data and a deep understanding of how people interact with your site, you’re now ready to create some audience segments that can serve as a starting point for personalization.

Audience segmentation is a tried-and-true marketing strategy, and doing it for ecommerce personalization is essentially the same process as doing it for anything else. To start, look at your conclusions about user preferences by demographic and then use those insights to build personas. You can also create personas based on shoppers’ familiarity with your brand by separating new customers from loyal fans.

Once you’ve established enough personas, you can begin considering what a shopping experience tailored to each persona would look like.

4. Customize Shopping Experiences

Now you’re ready to begin rolling out some personalized experiences. Start simple with straightforward recommendations for related products or items that are especially relevant to each audience segment. If you’re also personalizing your email marketing, set up a process for segmenting your email list and tweaking copy for each group of recipients.

It’s best not to try to do everything at once. Starting with these basic personalization strategies can help you measure success, change personas or product recommendations as needed, and gradually grow in a sustainable way.

5. Measure and Improve

After your initial personalization strategies have been rolled out, collect data on their performance. Are there some audience segments that respond better than others? Do product recommendations drive conversions at the desired rate?

Assess this data to determine what is working and what is not, and then use those conclusions to look for opportunities to improve your ecommerce personalization strategy. Personalization is not a one-time project, but rather an ongoing initiative that will evolve as long as your organization continues to grow.

This basic process can get you started on your personalization journey, but staying focused and strategic can eventually give you opportunities to expand into exciting new initiatives, whether that means establishing a seamless omnichannel experience between in-store and online or offering customers truly individualized products.

To learn more about creating personalized, engaging product pages that drive sales, download the “Product Page Best Practices for Brands” guide.

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