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E-Commerce and Personalisation: A Winning Combination

More and more consumers are now reaping the benefits of e-commerce with its promise of a fast and convenient shopping experience. With the evolution of e-commerce platforms and integrated payment gateways, even start-ups are quickly able to knock up a functioning e-commerce site and watch the virtual cash come flooding in.

Plenty are content to stop there – but not the best!

Personalisation is the key that unlocks high performance sales for many businesses. Could yours be one of them?

What is Personalisation?

In a basic sense, personalisation is simply making products and services personal to an individual buyer. Have you ever seen a child’s eyes light up when you read them one of those personalised fairy stories that features their family, friends and pet dog?

As adults, personalisation becomes more about the various ways in which businesses market and design products and services to suit individual tastes and styles.

Another way of offering personalisation is by alerting customers to discount offers that specifically apply to the products or services they tend to buy. This is exactly what happens in many supermarkets. It’s no coincidence that your favourite brand of cheesecake or the cat food you always choose is on discount. Nor has the shop manager been on the phone for hours securing the best deals for you. it’s just that some clever tech has used your buying history to print out only those coupons that are likely to be of interest to you – sorry if I burst your bubble there!

Why Personalisation Works

By catering your offers based on the customer’s previous browsing behaviour and purchases you help to make their future shopping experiences more efficient and rewarding. It is almost like walking into a clothes shop and finding that the staff have helpfully rearranged all of the shelves so that your favourite styles in your size are all at the front.

Even though much personalisation is managed automatically, it nevertheless gives the impression of care and attention – just like the child with their personalised version of ‘Snow White’ made ‘just for them.’

The power of personalisation is not to be sniffed at. In fact, it has been revealed that customers are on average five times more likely to buy from a company which personalises its products and services.

Is Personalisation Right for my Business?

Personalisation strategies can bring benefits to most if not all businesses but some are particularly suited to this kind of approach.

Your business is likely to see better results if you:

Carry a large selection of stock (Amazon uses its ‘People who bought x also bought y’ feature to good effect here).
Service multiple target audiences with diverse demographic profiles (in plain English, you have people from all walks of life buying from you or using your service)
Satisfy several different buying motives (e.g. some people buy because of your low prices, others because of your wide product range, etc.

In all of the above cases it should be clear that a one-size-fits-all approach would see many people slip through the net. Personalisation is the ideal way to stop this happening.

Getting Going With Personalisation

So what is the best way to start personalising your business offering? There are many different strategies and technologies available but here are three that are definitely worth exploring:

Remarketing. This strategy focuses on turning website visitors into customers by personalising their online advertising experience. Remarketing can be activated on Google Adwords as part of an advertising campaign and works by storing cookies from visitors’ browsers and using the information to serve further adverts to the same customer at various points across the Google advertising network.

Personalisation software. There are many different types of personalisation software (e.g. Barillance, Pureclarity, Adobe Target, etc.). Some are packaged in with analytics software while others come as part of a content management system. These use various algorithms to detect patterns and draw conclusions from customer behaviour.

Email marketing tools. Companies like Aweber, Mailchimp and GetResponse help business owners to build and segment a database in order to run email campaigns. By making full use of the segmenting and automation tools included in these services, it is possible to direct subscribers to personalised content and products.

The above examples only scratch the surface of the vast field of e-commerce personalisation. Hopefully they have given you a starting point for researching the best personalisation tools and strategies for your business.

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