Personalization is a buzzword in the eCommerce world. It's been around for years and it continues to be a major topic of discussion among people in the industry. But why? Is personalization really a game-changer or just another marketing trend that will go out of style soon? In this article, we'll take a look at what makes personalization so effective and discuss its potential impact on business performance moving forward. Then we'll provide some tips on how you can leverage this powerful strategy to boost your own bottom line.
What is personalization, exactly?
Personalization basically means tailoring the content you present to your customers based on their needs, interests, and behavior. This can be done in a number of ways, but the most common approach is to use data collected about your customers (e.g., their location, browsing history, past purchases) to show them content that's more relevant to them.
For example, if you own an online clothing store, you might use personalization to show a customer who lives in a cold climate items from your winter collection first, or someone who frequently buys from your site items that are similar to what they've bought before.
You can also use personalization to present different content to different groups of people based on who they are. For instance, you might have a separate section of your website for new visitors and returning visitors, or use segmentation and targeting to show different ads to people from different locations.
When personalization is done correctly, it can be a powerful way to improve the user experience and drive better results. However, if not done correctly, personalization can come across as intrusive or even creepy, and cause users to disengage.
Some examples of when personalization has led to high-performance results include:
- Tailored content recommendations on websites like Amazon and Netflix, which has been shown to increase conversion rates and time spent on site.
- Location-based push notifications from apps like Foursquare, which can encourage users to visit nearby businesses.
- Dynamic pricing on sites like Kayak, which can lead to increased bookings.
The data-driven approach to personalization is becoming increasingly popular in the eCommerce world because it's effective at driving sales. Research has shown that companies that use some form of personalization are more likely to see significant increases in revenue, conversion rates, and user engagement than those that don't incorporate this strategy into their marketing mix.
So, what makes personalization so powerful?
Here are a few key reasons:
It builds trust and credibility. When you show your customers that you understand their needs and preferences, you build trust and credibility with them. This, in turn, leads to repeat business and loyalty over time.
According to Epsilon, 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand when the brand provides a personalized experience.
It's efficient. Personalization is a very efficient way to market to your customers because you're only showing them content that's relevant to them. This means they're more likely to be interested in what you have to offer, which leads to higher conversion rates.
It boosts brand awareness. When you use personalization, people are more likely to remember your brand because they have a positive association with it. This is especially true if you use personalization to provide a great user experience.
It creates a competitive advantage. Personalization can give you a significant competitive advantage because not many companies are doing it yet. Those that are using this strategy are seeing impressive results, so you'll have your pick of customers as long as you get on board with personalization.
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How can you leverage personalization in your business?
If you're ready to start reaping the benefits of personalization, there are a few key things you need to do:
1. Identify your goals and objectives. Before you start implementing personalization into your marketing strategy, it's important to identify what you hope to achieve with it. For example, do you want to increase sales or boost engagement? Defining your goals will help you make clear, informed decisions about how to achieve them.
2. Get the right tools and technology in place. This includes access to detailed data about your customers so you can segment them and show them targeted content based on their preferences and behaviors. There are a number of different platforms out there that can help you do this, so it's important to choose the one that best meets your business needs. Some good options include Marketing Cloud or HubSpot, both of which provide powerful tools for gathering customer information and creating effective marketing campaigns. With the right technology in place, you can begin to build meaningful relationships with your customers online, ultimately driving better results for your business as a whole.
3. Create a plan for implementation. You should create a step-by-step plan for implementing personalization into your marketing strategy, including how and when you'll engage with different customer segments, what content you'll use, and how you'll measure the results. A thoughtful approach to personalization requires answering these questions clearly and deliberately. By carefully crafting your personalized strategy, you can ensure that your campaigns are targeted, effective, and relevant for your audience. Whether you're trying to drive conversions or build brand loyalty, a clear strategic vision will help guide your efforts and make the most of your time and resources.
4. Test, test, and test some more. In order to effectively market your business online, it is crucial that you continuously test and iterate your marketing efforts. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that will always work best for every company; instead, you need to try out different segments, messages, and images and see what resonates with your target audience. This process of experimentation will allow you to fine-tune your marketing strategy and optimize your campaigns for maximum impact. So be sure to keep testing new ideas in order to stay ahead of the curve and capitalize on all the benefits that online marketing has to offer. After all, personalization is an ongoing journey rather than a destination – so stay curious, stay committed, and keep experimenting.
What falls into the creepy department?
The omnichannel nature of marketing today means that customers interact with brands through many touchpoints as they navigate through their purchasing journey. They may appreciate it when they receive emails from a brand that are directed specifically to them based on their browsing history, but when do brands cross the line?
Some examples of when personalization has not been successful include:
- The now-defunct Google Buzz, which automatically created public circles of contacts based on email interactions, leading to privacy concerns.
- In 2012 Forbes reported that through 1st party data analysis, Target had determined that a teenage girl was pregnant and sent her coupons that would be likely to appeal to a pregnant woman.
As technology advances and is making it more possible to create tailored experiences for each individual customer, the line between delighting and freaking out is growing ever blurrier. When creating marketing campaigns, it’s important to remember that while you’re reaching your entire audience, you’re still talking to each customer individually at any given time.
The Bottom Line
Personalization is a powerful marketing tool that can help you increase sales, build brand loyalty, and improve customer engagement. However, it's important to keep in mind that personalization is not a one-size-fits-all solution – what works for one company may not work for another. The key is to experiment and find what works best for your specific business, using a combination of data-driven insights and strategic intuition to drive better results. With the right tools and technology in place, consistent testing, and iterative experimentation, you can successfully implement personalization into your marketing strategy and reap the many benefits it has to offer.