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Is a Lack of Onsite Personalization Holding You Back?

By Sharon Shapiro

Retail marketers who pour time and resources into personalized emails only to send customers to a generic site are leaving value on the table

Picture this: You spend days building ultra-targeted audience segments so that you can send highly personalized emails to your customers. Shoppers who receive these emails get the feeling that you know who they are and what they want, so they click through to your site expecting more of the same. But more often than not, that’s where the personalization ends.

It’s an interesting predicament — why do retail marketers spend so much time personalizing emails only to send customers to a generic site? It’s a mismatched experience that falls flat, especially at a time when expectations for personalized and seamless experiences have hit an all-time high.

The Case for Onsite Personalization

Once upon a time, people went to a local store, found what they were looking for with the help of a store associate and made a purchase. There was no whipping out phones in the store aisles to compare prices with competitors or researching options ahead of time. Today, all of that is a distant memory.

When the only option was the local retailer, the experience was automatically personalized — if you had a question, you asked a store associate and you had a one-on-one conversation based on your needs. Online shopping raised the bar on convenience, but it stripped personalization from the entire experience.

As we dive deeper into the digital age, it’s time to tip the scales back in the favor of personalization. Now that consumers have more choice in where they shop, one of the best steps retailers can take to set their brands apart and add value is to personalize the end-to-end experience. The data says it all, with 53% of shoppers believing that retailers who personalize the shopping experience provide a valuable service and 45% of online shoppers saying they are more likely to shop on a site that offers personalized recommendations. Additionally, eMarketer finds that 48% of US marketers experience revenue increases in excess of 10% from onsite or mobile app personalization.

Getting Started with Onsite Personalization

So how do you actually extend personalization beyond email to deliver a more value-add experience for customers? When it comes to personalizing the onsite experience, you need to consider two components: What on the site you will personalize and how you will segment audiences.

What to Personalize: 4 Focus Areas

There are countless components on your site that you can personalize, but it’s important not to overdo it. As you get your feet wet, consider these four potential focus areas:

  • Hero images: Change the hero image on your homepage or other landing pages for visitors that fall into certain audience segments.
  • Banners: Add banners that only display for specified audiences to the top of web pages.
  • Lightboxes: Create lightboxes for target audiences. Unlike the previous two options, the benefit of a lightbox is that it can appear on any page, so visitors don’t need to hit a specific page to experience the personalization.
  • Redirects: Redirect designated audiences from the homepage to a more relevant landing page. This approach is an easy place to start since it requires no new creative elements.

How to Segment Audiences: 5 Targets to Consider

Arguably the most importance piece of personalization is deciding who to target. Again, there are countless different ways to segment audiences to deliver a personalized experience, so it’s simply a matter of deciding where to start based on the data that you have and the approaches that will provide the most value for your company and your customers alike. The following five audiences are good places to start:

  • Category Preference: Target audiences with a strong affinity for a specific category, brand or product by adding hero images that direct visitors to related sections of your site or by creating lightboxes that display relevant new arrivals.
  • Predicted Customer Lifetime Value: Pinpoint your most valuable customers and create a custom site experience for them by showcasing high value products, creating banners with special offers to join a loyalty program or adding exclusive customer service lines just for VIPs.
  • Discount Preference: Increase your margins by only showing deals to your discount shoppers (or by showing smaller offers to your full price buyers) with personalized messaging on hero images, banners or lightboxes.
  • Lifecycle Stage: Segment customers by lifecycle stage to deliver reactivation and special offers to at-risk or lost customers who return to your site or to encourage non-buyers and one-time buyers to make more purchases.
  • Email-Identified Visitors: Segment visitors based on whether or not you have their email address so that you don’t keep pestering the ones you do have with email collection pop-ups and so that you can be more aggressive with email collections with the ones you don’t have.

Making Onsite Personalization a Reality

If you’re pouring time and resources into personalizing your emails only to send customers to a generic site, you’re leaving value on the table as shoppers wonder what happened to the brand that seemed to know them so well. Following the best practices for onsite personalization described here can go a long way toward remedying that mismatched situation.

For proof of the power of onsite personalization, look no further than Bluecore’s own customers who have achieved a 150% lift in engagement, a 56% lift in revenue per order and a 22% lift in average order value since introducing such capabilities.

Sharon Shapiro

Sharon Shapiro

Sharon leads Bluecore's content marketing program, collaborating with top retailers and strategists to highlight the latest trends in retail marketing, spotlight industry leaders and share advice on how marketers can stay ahead of the curve. She has spent her career building content marketing programs for B2B SaaS companies. Sharon graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in journalism.