10 Examples of Personalization in Online Retail: How to Create a Customized Ecommerce Experience

January 6, 2023
Personalization in online retail

The popularity of online retail and ecommerce has increased dramatically in recent years.

With more and more consumers shopping online, it’s vital that businesses are equipped to meet them there and provide an exceptional digital customer experience.

Personalization plays a critical role in achieving this aim.

In fact, 71% of customers now expect personalized experiences online and 76% get frustrated when brands don’t provide them.

These figures indicate that personalization is no longer a nice-to-have feature.

Instead, it’s an essential strategy for any business that wants to succeed and stay relevant in the ecommerce industry.

Fortunately, we’ve compiled the top ten tactics to help you deliver premium personalization. We’ll cover:

  • What is ecommerce personalization?
  • The importance of personalization in online retail
  • 10 examples of ecommerce personalization
customer video chat with in-store assistant

What is e-commerce personalization?

In essence, ecommerce personalization is the process of tailoring the online shopping experience to the individual customer.

It’s achieved with the use of customer data/cookies (e.g. location, browsing information, shopping history, etc.) and algorithms.

This information is utilized to provide an ecommerce experience that’s relevant to the customer’s specific interests, needs, and preferences.

By doing this, you’ll create a customized digital journey that makes every website visitor feel seen and valued as a customer.

digital touchpoints in a customer's online journey

The importance of personalization for the online retail shopping experience

Since the pandemic-fuelled surge in remote sales and digital customer service, ecommerce personalization has become more important than ever.

It’s why 73% of businesses have decided to increase their personalization efforts over the past two years.

Having an effective personalization strategy is crucial for online retailers because it:

  1. Improves customer retention - 60% of consumers become repeat customers after a personalized shopping experience.
  2. Boosts brand loyalty - 56% of customers stay loyal to brands who “get them”.
  3. Increases conversion rates and average order values - Businesses that excel at personalization generate 40% more revenue.

As well as these benefits, personalization can also significantly enhance the customer experience and set your brand apart from the competition.

online shopping graphic

Top 10 ecommerce website personalization examples for the digital customer experience

Now that we’ve covered the importance of ecommerce personalization, we can delve into the top 10 examples of personalization in online retail.

Let’s explore each of them in turn.

1. Provide personalized recommendations

Product recommendations are a simple yet effective way to provide ecommerce personalization.

Not only does this tactic create a tailored shopping experience, but it can also increase online sales. Case in point, 91% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that provides personalized recommendations.

Amazon is a classic example of a brand that has enjoyed significant success with this strategy. In fact, personalized recommendations account for 35% of all Amazon sales.

You can provide personalized product recommendations with the use of algorithms.

These algorithms gather customer data, such as their search queries and online shopping history, which can then be utilized to provide an individualized selection of products.

When it comes to implementing personalized recommendations, take note of the following tips:

  • Experiment with the placing of recommendations throughout your ecommerce site and use A/B testing to measure their success.
  • Include recommendations on your website home page, product pages, and cart/checkout page.
  • Offer personalized recommendations in your marketing emails as well as on your website.
happy customer using laptop

2. Suggest additional relevant products

In a similar vein to personalized recommendations, you can also suggest additional products based on the items a customer has viewed or added to their basket.

With this strategy, customers are shown products that are similar or related to the ones they’re already interested in.

Online fashion retailer BooHoo, for example, has a "Complete the look" list of complementary clothing items and accessories on every product page.

As well as providing personalization, this strategy can improve the average order value through upsells and/or cross-sells.

It also enhances the online shopping experience by offering customers a variety of options that they might not have seen otherwise.

ecommerce shopping cart

3. Tailor the digital shopping journey

It’s important that ecommerce brands allow the online shopping journey to be tailored to individual customers.

This means going beyond product recommendations and delivering a personalized experience that surpasses customer expectations.

For example, you could utilize virtual clienteling strategies to provide a personable shopping journey that is unique to the customer and continues beyond the purchase.

Alternatively, you could implement self-service tools that allow customers to tailor the shopping journey themselves.

Online fashion retailer ASOS achieves this by offering a Style Match tool on their app, which customers can use to perform a visual search with their own photos.

This feature can be used to find products that match, are similar to, or correspond with, the customer's own image.

Other ways you can tailor the digital shopping journey include:

By creating an ecommerce journey that can be personalized throughout, you'll deliver a memorable shopping experience that differentiates your brand from the crowd.

ASOS style match
Image source

4. Offer consultative customer service

Customer service interactions are a valuable opportunity to personalize the ecommerce customer experience.

But standard customer support doesn't quite make the cut when it comes to personalization - and that's where a consultative approach comes in.

Consultative service is a customer-centric strategy that prioritizes customer relations and individual customer needs.

In relation to ecommerce, it involves using digital communication channels to provide customers with in-depth guidance and personalized advice.

For example, you could deploy video chat on your website to provide individual customers with bespoke virtual shopping experiences and consultations.

Athletic clothing brand Lululemon has enjoyed great success with this strategy. They found that Talkative’s video chat increases the likelihood of a conversion and boosts the average order value by as much as 30%.

You can use this approach across a range of other engagement channels too (e.g. live chat, social media messaging, web calling).

That way, your customers can easily access next-level, personalized service via all their favorite channels.

customer conversations with agent

5. Design a personalized email campaign

It might sound dated, but email marketing is still one of the most lucrative customer contact channels.

In fact, 59% of consumers claim that their buying decisions are influenced by marketing emails.

In order to design a successful email campaign, you need to collect subscriber data and use it to personalize your email content for each recipient.

It’s important that all communications are addressed to the recipient by name - but email personalization doesn’t end there.

To take your email personalization to the next level, you should also:

  • Segment your subscriber list into categories (e.g. by location, age, gender, etc.). This will enable you to provide more relevant content and develop targeted campaigns for each group.
  • Use email automation tools to send personalized reminders to customers who leave your website with items still in their basket. This doubles up as a cart abandonment solution as well as a personalization technique.
  • After a purchase has been made, send friendly follow-up emails that include personalized recommendations based on the purchased items. You can also use these communications as an opportunity to ask for customer feedback.
  • Collect your customers’ dates of birth so that you can email them personalized discount codes or promotions on their birthdays - this could be the only incentive they need to treat themselves to something from your store.
  • Add variety by sending valuable, product-related content. For example, if a customer purchased food items from your store, you could send them relevant recipe ideas.

When you’re devising a personalized email campaign, don’t be afraid to experiment with different strategies and content types.

Ultimately, what works best for your business will depend on your goals, industry, and target demographic.

customer handshake

6. Offer continuous shopping for returning customers

Continuous shopping for returning customers is a great way to personalize and enhance the online shopping journey.

It works by utilizing a customer’s browsing history, preferences, shopping cart history, and previously viewed items from past sessions.

As a result, a customer can leave your site, come back at a later time or date, and pick up exactly where they left off.

This is a valuable strategy because it helps to create a seamless customer experience.

It also provides maximum ease and convenience for customers which is advantageous as 70% of consumers are willing to pay more for a convenient experience.

happy customer using engagement channels

7. Create a personalized bestseller list

Consumers are naturally drawn to popular products.

It’s why bestseller lists are included in so many ecommerce websites.

These lists can be more than a generic list of products ranked by sales. When used with a twist, they can also become a tool for personalization.

The key here is to get creative and find an approach that works best for your customer base.

For example, you might segment bestselling items based on location. That way, customers will see the products that are most popular in their immediate area, making the list more relevant to their circumstances.

This tactic is particularly useful for fashion retailers catering to multiple climates or sports brands selling team merchandise.

Additionally, if you have access to a customer’s data (e.g. age, gender, etc.), you can use this information to display popular products among their demographic.

By leveraging your bestseller lists in these ways, you’ll add an element of personalization that will get optimal results and add value to the customer experience.

customer emojis

8. Include user-generated content

User-generated content is simply content that is created and shared by your customers (e.g. testimonials, reviews, photos/videos of purchased products in use, etc.).

It shows potential customers what your products are like in a real-life and how other, like-minded customers are utilizing your brand.

This is an effective personalization tactic because consumers are influenced by what their peers are doing and buying.

Plus, it helps create a fear of missing out which is a great incentive for customers to convert.

To get the most out of user-generated content, you should allow customers to post reviews with images/videos attached on your website - and make it easy for them to do so.

By displaying this content on your ecommerce site, you'll provide potential customers with valuable information that may influence their buying decisions.

magnet attracting customers

9. Customize promotional offers & discounts

All customers enjoy a discount or a promo deal - but they like them even more when they're tailored to their individual preferences or interests.

You can achieve this by displaying pop-up offers on your website that are relevant to a specific product category that the customer is browsing. That way, you can target specific customers with different deals.

Alternatively, you can send personalized offers via email. A surprise voucher or discount code is a fantastic way to get results with this tactic.

By personalizing promotional offers and discounts, you'll not only make your customers feel valued - you'll also entice them to convert.

ecommerce customer shopping on mobile

10. Utilize retargeted advertising

Retargeting ads can be expensive, but they’re a valuable investment.

They work by using web browser data (a.k.a. “cookies”) to target customers that have previously viewed items or shown purchase intent on your website.

The result is a personalized advertisement that appeals to the specific interests and preferences of the customer.

These ads are far more lucrative than their impersonalized counterparts. In fact, the average click-through rate for retargeting ads is ten times higher than a regular display ad. 

On top of that, research by Adlucent found that 71% of consumers favor ads that are tailored to their individual interests and shopping habits.

By retargeting customers with personalized ads, you’ll provide customers with far more value than if you simply bombard them with generic advertisements.

It's why personalized ad campaigns are so successful in increasing engagement and boosting online sales.

customers going through sales funnel

The takeaway

Creating a personalized customer experience is an essential endeavor for any ecommerce brand wishing to stay relevant in today’s market.

The examples detailed in this article provide a solid foundation to build upon in your efforts to tailor the online retail journey, optimize the customer experience, and drive digital sales.

But, if you want to get the most out of these strategies, you also need to invest in the right technology.

After all, how can you expect to provide optimal personalization online if you don’t have the best platform to connect with your customers?

That’s where Talkative comes in.

Our solution was specifically designed to power superior customer service and personalized experiences at every digital touchpoint.

We provide a complete suite of engagement channels that’ll enable you to connect instantly, and effortlessly, with all your digital customers.

As a result, you and your customer-facing teams will be fully equipped to engage and convert more customers than ever before.

Want to learn more? Book a demo today and discover how you can provide bespoke ecommerce experiences with Talkative.

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