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Last updated Thu Apr 04 2024

Get Ecommerce Personalization Right: 10 Tactics & Examples

What will the future of online shopping look like?

We know one thing for sure–a successful online shopping experience is impossible without personalization. 

But don’t wait till after.

Ecommerce personalization is often about trial and error, so get to building your strategy now. 

This short guide with ten tactics and examples will help you start on the right foot. 

In this post:

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What is Ecommerce Personalization?

Ecommerce personalization is a set of practices involving customer data analysis aiming to customize online shopping experiences of individual customers. The data includes browsing and buying history, demographics, location, average order value, and more.

You can personalize a myriad of shopping experiences, such as product recommendations, upsell offers, and discounts. 

But more on that later.  

First, let’s figure out why you should put your resources into ecommerce personalization in the first place. 

Want to see how ecommerce businesses personalize shopping experiences with product recommendations?

See these 20 product suggestion examples

Benefits of Ecommerce Personalization

Ecommerce personalization is an ongoing investment. 

There’s no way around it. 

However, it’s a rewarding one, too. 

Here are just a few perks you’ll definitely enjoy (especially in terms of the ROI):  

  • Better online shopping experience. Reportedly, 64% of marketers rate this benefit as the top one, followed by higher conversion rates (63%) and improved engagement rates (53%). 

  • Higher conversion rates. Speaking about better conversions, 68% of respondents made unplanned purchases because of tailored product recommendations. 

  • More high-quality leads. From the data in the previous point, we can conclude that providing customized product offers can also boost your lead generation efforts. 

  • Improved average order value. Brands excelling in personalization get 40% more revenue and consequently grow faster. 

  • Improved customer loyalty. About 60% of consumers will become returning customers after a personalized shopping experience.

Seems like personalized ecommerce is a worthy investment, right? 

Indeed, so let’s move on and figure out how to get the ball rolling the right way.

Tip:

If you're just starting out, I recommend implementing at least some form of ecommerce personalization on your store right away to improve conversions.

Even one app can be enough for a quick start. Take Wisepops for example: thanks to audience targeting, built-in Shopify properties, and targeting of Klaviyo segments, you can personalize marketing messages on your store for specific visitor groups, down to a page level—with one app.

How to Apply Ecommerce Personalization?

Creating a personalized ecommerce experience is a rather involved and multifaceted process. 

So, to help you get a better understanding of it, we’ve organized it into this graph:

Ecommerce Personalization

Long story short, the success of your personalization strategy will depend on how specific your goals are. 

All further steps–collecting data, using it to segment the customers, and even tracking the results–depend on your chosen goal and the objectives you set to achieve it. 

Your choice of personalization tactics falls under the same rule. 

Speaking of tactics, what exactly can you personalize in a customer’s online shopping experience with your brand?

Here are the most common instances:

  • Product suggestions

  • Promotions & discounts

  • Interactive tools

  • Website browsing experience

  • Relationship with brand (loyalty programs)

Obviously, profiling and personalization in ecommerce require lots of different customer data (see examples in Step #2 of the graph above). 

Here it is crucial to know how to handle this data according to laws and regulations.

A note on data privacy laws

Processing and transferring personal data in the EU is governed by GDPR–General Data Protection and Regulation. 

In the U.S., there is no principal legislature of this kind. Yet, there are several federal and state laws, such as The Privacy Act of 1974, HIPAA, and the California Consumer Privacy Act, that instruct businesses how to collect consumer data legally. 

Regardless of your business’s location, all data protection acts require you to ask customers to opt in and opt out if they want. 

1. Guide new visitors with product quizzes (Ekster)

A product quiz is an interactive tool that helps tailor your product offer to the customer’s needs. 

Essentially, such quizzes guide a visitor through a series of questions to understand their preferences, behaviors, budget, etc. 

By the way, this content is GDPR-friendly, too (the customer voluntarily provides the data). 

So, what should a quiz include to provide highly personalized product offers?

Consider this example from Ekster:

quiz popup

This quiz intends to help the customer choose their ideal wallet:

quiz

While completing this quiz, you can notice the following elements:

  • Precision in questioning. Consumers have to answer very specific questions, such as about the wallet’s material, preferred color, or how many cards or cash they usually carry. 

  • Product demonstration. Consumers don’t answer questions “blindfolded” – each question is followed by images of Ekster’s products. 

  • Consistency in questioning. Every new question is tailored based on the answer to the previous question. 

That’s it. 

If you follow these three requirements, you’ll have a perfect product quiz offering a highly customized product selection. 

Just don’t forget to make the purchase easy – after answering so many questions, what your customer expects the least is delayed gratification. 

Tip:

The easiest way to implement product quizzes is to embed a Typeform survey into a web page.

You can drive traffic to that page with a website popup, embed, or banner, for example.

2. Offer free shipping for orders exceeding a certain amount (Black Ember)

Shopify states that 80% of consumers expect free shipping for orders that surpass a certain amount. 

So, if you offer that to some of your consumers, it could increase their loyalty. 

Not to mention that this tactic also falls under the umbrella of personalization and customization in ecommerce. 

What’s a great way to do it, especially if you want to automate this task?

Consider onsite notifications

A social media-style feed with marketing messages for websites. It’s a simple and non-invasive way to personalize their shopping experience.

Let's see an example:

A customer is browsing a product list and adds an item to the cart at Black Ember, an online store. At that moment, they receive a notification that they unlocked free shipping (note that the notification says "international"—thanks to targeting, this campaign is displayed only for non-US visitors like me):

upsell

When opened, the notification looks like this:

free shipping onsite notifications

And—

Here's how this campaign performed (within 14 days) along with a supporting one:

free shipping notification

Setting up such a notification to appear automatically is really simple—

Basically, you just need to choose the free shipping threshold and define the value of the products added to the cart that would trigger the notification (like $50 in the example below):

more targeting

Onsite notifications can be used in many ways to personalize the shopping experience and sell more (here's how to use onsite notifications).

If you'd like to know more, check out this case study:

logo
Black Ember drives 4,000+ visitors to pages with a few newly launched products

3. Gamify a visitor’s first shopping experience with your brand (Faguo)

What is gamification in marketing?

Simply put, it’s the act of turning any activity into a game. 

Ecommerce site personalization can also be gamified, for instance, with spin-to-win popups

Basically, you let a customer spin the wheel of fortune and try their luck in winning one of your products. 

As a result, you achieve two goals:

  • A customer gets a fun, interactive, and personalized experience;

  • You get a qualified lead and a potential sale if the wheel had discounts

A good example is this popup from Faguo, a successful online clothing store:

To participate in a giveaway, visitors only had to share their names, emails, and agree to receive a branded newsletter.

Results?

Over 48K new leads and a whopping 17.5% CTR:

If you'd like to try spin-to-win popups, like this one consider these giveaway ideas and get a good popup app (let me recommend Wisepops—the same app that Faguo used):

Unlimited free trial, no cc needed.

Or maybe you need more tips and details about that successful popup campaign first?

Then check out the study:

faguo logo
Get more details:

Faguo case study (also available in French)

4. Diversify online shopping experience with onsite notifications (Asphalte)

Onsite notifications display messages to website visitors in one place—a neat-looking feed.

The idea behind onsite notifications is similar to the social media feeds, as we've talked about earlier, but unlike browser push notifications, for example, they are non-intrusive. 

The best part?

Onsite notifications integrated into your ecommerce website design give you endless personalization opportunities. 

You can use them to share:

  • Announce sales;

  • Share targeted discounts;

  • Get more product pre-orders;

  • Get loyalty program signups;

  • Raise awareness of product launches;

  • Notify about “soon out of stock” and “back in stock items.”

Consider the following example. 

Our client, Asphalte, uses notifications to send messages about pre-order campaigns:

notifications for apparel marketing

Has it been effective so far?

Benjamin Mateo, Asphalte’s Head of Growth, shared that it had become a powerful lead generation and visitor engagement tool:

Picture of Benjamin Mateo

“[Onsite notifications] are revolutionizing the way we reach our customers. A new lever for us – powerful, personalized, and easy to plug and play with Shopify.”

Benjamin Mateo, Head of Growth, Asphalte

The results of Asphalte's campaigns speak for themselves:

  • Visitors who interacted with notifications converted 3.5 times more. 

  • Those who clicked on notifications viewed 2.5 more pages. 

  • Only 11.5% of visitors who engaged with notifications contributed to 42% of Asphalte’s revenue.

Learn more in the case study:

asphalte

Asphalte case study (also available in French)

5. Upsell with personalized product suggestions (Codage Paris)

With upselling, you’re encouraging customers to add an extra item to their order (sometimes even more expensive than the one they have in their cart). 

The key thing here is to make the upsell personalized without sounding pushy. 

Codage’s upsell offer serves as a great example – if a customer’s shopping cart totals 170 EUR, they get two free products. 

Time limited offer increase aov

Here’s how you and your customer can benefit from this offer:

  • A customer receives a highly customized proposition based on their order value. 

  • Increasing their initial order value will get them free products as a treat. 

  • As a result, you encourage a customer to continue shopping with your brand, vis as vis, upselling. 

Even though making this campaign might sound a bit complicated, it's really not.

Let me demonstrate using Wisepops.

Your steps:

  • Choose a product to give away (could be a replenishable item that customers use often, say, a serum)

  • Create a popup design to share the offer (this means adding an image of the product as well as the text with details of the offer)

  • Set this campaign to be displayed only visitors who view serums (this means adding "serums" to the page targeting options if the URL of that product category contain this word + how many product pages visitors should view until they see the offer)

Here's how the page targeting options would look:

setting

Prefer to learn how to make this offer by doing?

Take a look at these targeting options first and then grab a popup app:

Get some design inspiration, too: Examples of popup designs

Now, let's see how you can you encourage them to keep shopping when they come back to your website.

6. Offer exclusive access to new products through email signups (OddBalls)

Suppose a customer landed on your website for the first time, browsed the products, but had no intent to buy anything. 

How can you make sure they don’t walk away?

A great option is to further personalize their experience with your brand by giving them early access to purchasing new products. 

The quickest way to make it work is by adding an onsite notification.  

Here’s a great example from OddBalls (they promoted a product that was about to launch):

campaign wisepops dash
danmodified

“Our challenge was to generate sign ups for a completely new product type of ours that we had not previously launched before. This was a new way for us to engage in creating sign ups for the business.”

Dan Mitchell, Ecommerce Manager OddBalls

Such a message plays with exclusivity, giving a consumer the feeling of being a part of a private community your brand caters to first. 

Besides promoting products, you can also use such onsite notifications as lead magnets, which has proven to be effective. 

For instance, the notification helped OddBalls collect 693 emails and delivered a 25% CTR and a 3% CVR. 

oddballs-logo
Case study

OddBalls generated £50K in sales with onsite notifications: OddBalls success story

7. Incentivize returning visitors to continue shopping (Stumptown Coffee Roasters)

So, a customer returns to your website, and you see from their previous behavior that they either purchased something before or left some items in the cart and never acted on it. 

What you can do is incentivize them to continue shopping with your website based on the previous behavior you picked up. 

Stumptown Coffee Roasters did it with this popup for visitors who viewed a product, left, and returned to the website later:

returning campaign

This popup can cater to both returning customers and those with abandoned carts. 

If you’re dealing with an abandoned cart situation, you can take this experience up a notch and further personalize it by offering a discount for one or several of the products in the cart. 

This way, you overcome possible objections to cart abandonment.

The following ecommerce personalization solution also helps reduce the cart abandonment percentage in addition to making a customized offer. 

email capture popup template
See more examples of creative website popups from succesful businesses:

8. Add discount bars to your website (Charlotte Bio)

Similar to onsite notifications, you can use bar popups.  

A bar is a popup type that appears above the website header. 

You can use it for a variety of offers:

  • Flash sales

  • Discounts

  • Promotions

  • Product launches

  • Free shipping notifications

Charlotte Bio, a cosmetics store, regularly makes use of a bar popup. 

For instance, in the following example, the popup shares a message about a -40% off flash sale in the form of a countdown. 

Charlotte Bio used this bar in addition to desktop and mobile popups, and it served as an ecommerce personalization method to customize the onsite experience:

marilou bertrand

“We added the bar with the countdown to reinforce the sense of urgency for those who did not apply the code in the popup, which was key to success.”

Marilou Bertrand, Director of Digital Marketing, Charlotte Bio

How effective was it?

Here’s the data for the popup bar:

website bar performance

Together with the mobile and desktop popups, the overall campaign generated 17% of the monthly sales in just six hours.

charlottebio
Get more details:

8. Bring dormant customers back with re-engagement messages (Huckberry)

There are many reasons why customers go dormant, from poor customer service to expensive shipping.

Many of these reasons lead to card abandonment, which we mentioned in the previous tactics. 

However, all the strategies we shared were about onsite re-engagement efforts. 

What about those customers that never returned to your website? 

Here, you’ll need to take out heavy artillery and launch an email reactivation campaign. 

In this instance, ecommerce product personalization can answer different incentives:

  • Creating a sense of urgency;

  • Instilling FOMO;

  • Reassuring the customer about the product’s value;

  • Offering a discount;

  • Upselling by offering related items. 

Or, you could mix and match. 

For example, Huckberry first takes advantage of FOMO:

huckberry

To seal the deal, the recipient gets a customized product selection in addition to the ones that are already in the cart:

related products

Another personalized offer you can try to reactivate a dormant customer is to suggest sending them a product from their cart for a free trial. 

This way, they get to use the product, see its value, and pay for or return it later. 

So, we’d say, no matter the reason why your customers went dormant, make sure your personalized offers let them see and appreciate their experience with your brand. 

Related content from our blog:

How to write effective product descriptions

9. Integrate UGC into product pages (Urban Barn)

One of the best ecommerce personalization strategies brands sadly often disregard is adding UGC to diversify online shopping experiences. 

But here’s the thing. 

You need to really be creative when applying UGC in ecommerce content personalization. 

One way is to add product reviews to facilitate customer purchase decisions. 

Urban Barn took this idea one step further and added a social feed with images showing how customers used a particular product in their home decor. 

reviews

Essentially, it’s a collection of social media posts under the hashtag #myurbanbarn tailored to show a specific product on its page. 

How can it improve personalization?

Harnessing user-generated content and similar ecommerce marketing strategies show a customer how a product looks in real life. 

So, no matter whether it’s a decor item or a piece of clothing, a buyer can feel more sure that they are not buying a cat in the sack.  

More content from our blog:

AI tools for ecommerce

Wrapping Up

When used right, ecommerce personalization can truly be a game-changer. 

Remember that a thorough, calculated approach to customer data and correct goal setting are key to creating shopping experiences that resonate with your customers’ personal preferences. 

If you manage to succeed in that, you’ll be able to choose the right personalization tactics that will increase and retain customer satisfaction in the long run. 

mariia

Mariia Kovalenko

Mariia Kovalenko is a seasoned digital marketing professional with experience in content and link building. With a passion for research, digital marketing, content management, and literature, Mariia brings a unique blend of creativity and analytical thinking to the digital landscape.

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