Providing personalized services has been a sales tactic for a long time now, and in the world of offline services, it has become so common that few ever notice it, but many respond to it. The same positive response is also received in the online environment, the only difference being that the concept hasn’t yet gotten all so common.
In fact, personalizing a website in the digital world of 2019 has become one of the biggest opportunities, and greatest challenges of businesses operating online. Creating customized experiences adds great value to customers who want to benefit from both the convenience of online shopping and the enjoyment of personal attention.
What is & why do you need website personalization?
Website Personalization is a process in which businesses create customized or personalized experiences for all visitors landing on their website. So, instead of everybody being presented with the same content, regardless of their interests or needs, companies use web personalization to present users with unique experiences. They do so by using data and targeted audiences, which helps translate the face-to-face interaction and attentiveness of in-store assistants to the world of online shopping.
Website personalization can take many forms, from targeted offers, promos or banners based on the users browsing history, to weather based content depending on the location of the users. Location-based news and videos are also a good example of website personalization today, as people are looking to consume information at the same time they’re doing their shopping online.
Challenges of personalization in 2019
One of the main challenges of website personalization in 2019 is shifting the concept from offline to online. Many businesses, across multiple industries, have been successfully operating offline for years, some of them even bringing customer service to an art form. However, they had to add an online presence to their operations, and now they’re faced with having to also translate personalization to digital. This applies especially to businesses in retail, travel, and media.
Bringing the same level of customized experiences from face-to-face interactions to the virtual world can be indeed difficult, and here are 3 reasons why this happens to businesses who’ve mainly operated offline:
- Data is non-actionable: the way companies collect data when they operate offline is different than online businesses, and they also tend to collect abundant volumes of data, both of which make it very difficult to act on it
- Target audience is unclear: the people who shop offline are often not the same with online customers, so target audiences can differ for a business who operates in both worlds
- Measurement is difficult: the impact of personalization is hard to measure, even when you know perfectly who your target audience is, mainly because there’s no direct way to measure the aggregate, over time, across an entire website.
The importance of website personalization
Although it is definitely a demanding task, consuming and difficult process, website personalization is, without a doubt, very important in the digital world. This comes directly from consumers. In the beginning, most online users were satisfied with the speed of the process and oftentimes closed their eyes to little “imperfections” in quality or delivery. The more speed became common, the more quality became important.
Today, when consumers have both speed and quality from almost all business online, their expectation has shifted. Now, they want a personal digital experience. They want to shop online but feel as if they were shopping in a store, experiencing the same level of personalization. Therefore, the main reason why web personalization is so important is that you want to meet your customers’ expectations. In fact, you want to exceed them, which is why many business owners and technology leaders have made personalization a top investment priority.
Facts about eCommerce personalization
Amongst the plethora of businesses who operate online, eCommerce companies have the most at stake when it comes to personalization. eCommerce personalization refers to presenting users with individualized products, offers, and other types of content based on their personal data, such as demographics, or historical behavior.
By doing so, eCommerce platforms make sure that each user is presented with products that are most relevant to them, or offers that are most enticing, therefore increasing the chances of conversion. The importance of web personalization is also best reflected in eCommerce websites, with latest trends suggesting that customers want more, not less personalization. Here are some quick facts:
- 74% of people hate being shown irrelevant content
- 48% of users register increased time on a page when the content is personalized
- 90% of digital marketers believe eCommerce personalization is the future of online marketing
Another interesting fact is the type of personalization that generates best results. A study conducted in 2015, even when customized experiences were a fairly new concept, showed that 68% out of the total revenue for online businesses studied came from “visitors who viewed this also viewed” personalized product recommendation.
That’s another reason why it’s so crucial to personalize, because no business wants to miss out on that share of revenue.
Website Personalization Solutions
There are definitely challenges of website, and specifically, eCommerce personalization, but we’ve seen how important it is, and there are certainly also solutions to most of these challenges.
First, segmentation is critical to any strategy of web personalization. Identifying your audiences can be achieved now by real-time targeting based on visitors’ actions on your site. Their dynamic customer profiles can also help at this stage. Segmentation should also take into account the type of device they are using.
Secondly, you need to constantly be aware of your customers’ experiences, in order to meet their needs, avoid sending them away, and make sure the return is worth the investment. This means that your experiences need to be planned. The more you know and understand your visitors, the more you’ll be able to create compelling experiences tailored to them.
Lastly, online businesses need to constantly measure ROI. Like we said above, measuring the impact of personalization can be a challenge, but by constantly measuring the performance of different experiences, and continuously adjusting and improving will take you one step closer.