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Is a Lack of Onsite Personalization Holding You Back?

By Rosy Kehdi

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

Picture this: You spend days building ultra-targeted audiences 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.

And with the explosion of channels on which to reach consumers, it has become harder than ever to get shoppers’ attention to guide them through the purchase funnel. Only personalization helps narrow the playing field, giving you a leg up when it comes to capturing new shoppers and then converting them into loyal customers.

The data says it all, with 48% of shoppers having left a brand’s website and made a purchase from a competitor because of a poorly personalized experience and 80% of consumers saying they’re more likely to purchase from a company that offers personalized experiences. Additionally, BCG and Google find that greater personalization boosts customer spending and brand satisfaction, increasing the number of items purchased, average order values and net promoter scores — leading to incremental revenue growth of 10% or more.

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 target different audiences.

What to Personalize: 3 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 three potential focus areas:

  • Hero images: Change the hero image on your homepage or other landing pages for visitors that fall into certain audience segments.
  • Pop-ups, Banners and Modals: Create pop-ups, banners and modals that display personalized offers, messaging and exclusive content and only appear for target audiences. Unlike the previous option, the benefit of these lightboxes are that they can appear on any page, so visitors don’t need to hit a specific page to experience the personalization.
  • Onsite Product Recommendations: Help your shoppers discover new products and increase their average order size by displaying individualized product recommendations based on their behavior on your site and the affinity audiences into which they fall.

How to Target Different Audiences: 5 Cuts to Consider

Arguably the most important piece of personalization is deciding who to target. Again, there are countless different ways to develop targeted 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 or Product Preference: Target audiences with a strong affinity for a specific category, brand or product by tailoring the product recommendations on the homepage or other pages to include products in which they’re interested or by creating pop-ups that display product recommendations for new arrivals or recently viewed items that are relevant to them based on past behavior or predicted affinity. 
  • 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 pop-ups.
  • 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: Target 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 for 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 non-personalized 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 an 87% lift in click-through rate and a 4X lift in conversion rate since introducing such capabilities.

Rosy Kehdi

Rosy Kehdi

Rosy is on the Product Marketing team, working on bringing Bluecore Site™ to market. Prior to joining Bluecore, Rosy worked in Account Management at various advertising agencies in NYC. She has a Master's degree in Creative and Media Enterprises from Warwick University in the UK, and a B.S. in Computer Science from the American University of Beirut.