From email nurturing to product customization, there are many different types of personalization used in online marketing today.
But for improving customer engagement, encouraging brand loyalty, increasing conversion rates, and upping the order value, website personalization is one of the most powerful tools available.
The antithesis of a one-size-fits-all mentality, website personalization refers to the process of delivering a unique experience to individual visitors based on their preferences and past browsing behavior.
By offering website visitors content related to their past website behavior, buying patterns, demographics, and other data insights, your website can meet the needs of the customer and boost customer engagement.
What Is Website Personalization?
Website personalization is the real-time individualization of a website to suit each visitor’s unique needs and guide them through a custom conversion funnel. It can relate to multiple channels including on-site, in-app, mobile web, and so on.
Studies show that the majority (86%) of customers say that personalization has an impact on their purchases. Also, a quarter of customers think that personalization “significantly influences” their purchase decisions.
With statistics like that, it’s not surprising that mega-brands like Amazon, Netflix, Nike, and others are massively personalizing the customer experience for their customers.
This article will take you through the benefits of website personalization, the strategies that some of the big brands are implementing, and examples of techniques you can easily implement on your website.
The Benefits of Website Personalization
Brand loyalty, customer engagement, and conversion rate optimization are just a few of the ways that website personalization can benefit your business and help you meet your business goals. Let’s find out why.
A personalized website will improve the relationship your customers have with your brand and improve engagement.
The data you gather from your customers will allow you to tailor the message they see and offer them different types of content. Thus, you can create a marketing strategy that is more personal and effective across all of your channels.
Engage Your Customers
You can nurture your customers on your website by creating targeted and relevant offers, content, products, and CTAs. You can use personalization to engage and accelerate customers through the buying cycle.
By understanding the browsing data on your website, you can gain a clearer understanding of your buyer personas, demographics, and their buying behaviors. You can use this data to understand your customers’ preferences and increase your conversions.
Increase Order Value
As well as having a positive impact on conversion rates, website personalization is instrumental in both upselling and cross-selling. By segmenting your customers based on browsing behavior and buying patterns, you can offer them products, offers, and discounts tailored to their needs.
The Basis for Segmenting
Website personalization works by segmenting your customers, and there are tons of ways you can group your visitors together in order to target them specifically. Some of the most common data points to use include the following:
- Demographics: Age, gender, education, ethnicity, etc.
- Geographic information: City, country, closest local store, current location
- Weather: Current weather and temperature in the location
- Season: Current season in the location
- Holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving
- Time: Month, the day of the week, the time of day
- Device: Device type (tablet, mobile, desktop) or brand (Apple or Android)
- Buying cycle: First-time visitor or returning visitor (have they abandoned a cart or added a product to their wishlist?)
- Engagement: Visitor website behavior on the site and their preferences
When it comes to website personalization, Amazon is arguably the best of the bunch. It’s hardly surprising given the level of data available at its fingertips.
Fortunately, there are tons of tips we can steal – ahem, learn from – just by taking a look at what Amazon does.
Amazon has a huge product database, which, of course, is a massive strength. But from a customer’s perspective, without an excellent user experience, it could be difficult to find what you’re looking for.
Welcome, website personalization.
The Amazon homepage is an epic example of how the company uses your previous browsing behavior to personalize your experience and encourage you to purchase more items.
The screenshot below shows a section of the homepage presenting products “Related to items you’ve viewed.”
Image credit: Amazon
The homepage even welcomes me by name and displays easy-to-access products that I have recently viewed.
Image credit: Amazon
Amazon goes far beyond sending you personalized emails to remind you to purchase items in your cart. It uses algorithms and data insights to personalize the homepage you see and customize product recommendations based on your search and buying history.
Above, we’ve touched on a couple of ways the homepage is tailored to meet the individual customer.
But Amazon doesn’t stop there. Its product pages and shopping cart also deliver dynamic, data-powered messaging in real time.
Consider the “frequently bought together,” “customers who bought this item also bought,” and “wish lists” prompts. These are carefully crafted based on browsing data from you and other customers.
Guess what. These prompts work: 44% of customers buy from such recommendations.
Yet another behemoth brand, Netflix is a powerhouse of personalization.
Netflix customizes your homepage by giving you personal recommendations for movies and TV shows based on what you’ve watched. That’s no surprise.
But did you know that it goes even further and even personalizes the thumbnail images to display the actors or actresses you’re familiar with?
In fact, Netflix creates multiple different landing cards (video thumbnails) for each of its titles. Each image shows a different character, and the one that is clicked most often becomes the accepted image.
Image credit: Netflix
Netflix has more than 300 million customers, which means it has mountains of customer data at its disposal. It uses this data, along with 250 yearly A/B tests, to inform its website and content personalization.
By creating split tests, it presents users with two different experiences and measures the response. Changes could be made to the design of the screen or how a user navigates to a show, for example.
Netflix knows when you pause a movie, when you stop a movie halfway through,the items you’ve saved to your watchlist, and so much more.
All of this knowledge is used to create a homepage that is perfectly tailored to your browsing behavior. It’s also the reason why no two Netflix users will ever have the exact same content on the page.
If you’ve ever partially watched a series, Netflix will periodically prompt you to watch it again.
How to Implement Website Personalization
Using the data above, brands can create relevant, timely, and valuable offers and promotions. Here are a few examples of how you can implement website personalization.
Website pop-ups get a bad rap, but they don’t need to.
The key is for them to be insanely valuable and relevant to your customers, so they can be hugely effective.
They can quickly grab a shopper’s attention and get your message across. What’s more, if you exchange your offer for the customer’s email address, you can use it for future retargeting and remarketing purposes.
Here are a few examples of how you can create personalized pop-ups that are valuable to your website visitors:
- A welcome message or offer for first-time visitors
- A welcome back message for returning customers
- A pop-up that is triggered after a specific engagement on the website (e.g. scrolling for a period of time, a number of pages viewed, or a specific link clicked)
- Exit-intent pop-ups to encourage customers to stay and reduce cart abandonment rates
We’ve seen how Amazon and Netflix do this, but a major way that businesses can adapt their website is by modifying the content. Here are some examples of how this can work in practice:
- Images: Websites can tailor the visuals depending on a customer’s segment. For instance, if you’re browsing the website on a sunny June day in the UK, then you may be presented with a sunscreen offers.
- Order of products: Depending on your browsing behavior, the order of products can be altered to present ones you are more likely to be interested in first.
- Recommendations: Like Amazon, e-commerce stores should offer product recommendations or “often bought with” recommendations to increase conversion rates and order values.
- Social proof: Consider adding a notification for how many items are left in stock, how many people are viewing the item, or any other urgency.
Marketers can hugely improve the buying journey of their customers by implementing a website personalization plan.
Your website visitors and customers want the best online shopping experience, which can be provided by tailoring the message specifically to them.
Website personalization leverages your visitors’ behavioral data, referral source, and geographical location and then provides a custom experience of product recommendations and content.
Clever website optimization can increase brand loyalty, improve customer engagement, and, importantly, vastly improve conversion rates and increase order values.