How to leverage personalization to boost sales

Slowly but surely, digital-savvy companies have been pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

Through these companies, today’s customers have higher expectations than ever. Personalization goes much further today than just slapping their name on an email opener and calling it quits. Is this still the extent of your personalization efforts? Then it’s time to look into some other ways to personalize your customer’s experiences, since personalization has been proven to increase your sales. But where should you start? In this blog we’ll give you an overview of the systems that can contribute to a personalized customer experience.  

The importance of personalization

As we can see in this infographic by marketingprofs, personalization helps upselling, cross-selling and overall customer retention. 68% of companies have made it their top marketing priority, yet 53% of them lack the basic tools needed to make it a success across the board. Furthermore, businesses that filled in the Boston Consulting Group’s survey indicated that they are expecting an annual revenue growth between 6% and 10% due to their personalization efforts.  

The seed of personalization: data

As companies like Starbucks are presenting their customers with tailored games through their loyalty programs, many are still stuck with email marketing. And that’s perfectly understandable. Personalization requires an incredible amount of data. Not only do you need a lot of data, that data needs to be as good as error-free. To start out, have a look at the data you have. What’s in your Analytics software, your CRM, your marketing automation tools… Bring it all together and try to identify certain trends. It always helps to have a clear view of your customers. A buyer persona can help you achieve this. If you are still in the process of drafting your personas, you can find our Osudio Persona Template here. Once you have defined your personas, you are ready to start using them to define general rules. However, more and more companies are going beyond general rules. They are looking at more specific things to personalize on, like the websites that someone has recently visited or certain life events. If you’re a retailer and know a certain customer has recently had a baby, it might be a good idea to congratulate him or her with a coupon for some baby clothing or diapers. While these are all great at driving revenue, you might want to hold off on applying them until you’ve become more familiar with personalization.  

Starting at the core: your products

Depending on the CMS your business uses, you might also be able to leverage its power in your personalization efforts. For example, Sitecore allows you to change a page’s content depending on a user’s profile. If you sell pet food and know a visitor has a dog, you can choose to only show dog food on your homepage. However, getting your product data all sorted out is the first step in using them to create a fitting product experience for your customer. You can try to personalize as much as you want, but if your products aren’t labeled properly, then it’ll be hard to show the right products to the viewer. When your organization has access to a PIM system, that should not be an issue. Contentserv goes even further. It goes to great lengths to help its users personalize. Contentserv’s PIM allows you to define personas and assign certain products or even different product pictures to specific personas. When your system identifies a visitor as someone who is part of one of your personas, they will be shown the correct products in the correct setting. Are you interested in seeing how Contentserv allows you to personalize your website and provide tailored product experiences? Sign up for our joint webinar here, where they will tell you more about their vision on product experience in 2019.  

Keeping things simple

Personalization can also be found in smaller things on ecommerce websites. If you notice that a certain person tends to buy the same product every month, why not give him a coupon to encourage him to keep doing so? Another scenario: Profile A always buys product X and Y. So, if a customer that fits profile A’s description buys product X, you might want to show him a recommendation for product Y. Cross-selling or even upselling shouldn’t be too much of an issue anymore. You can also play with the customer’s cart. Often, it’ll be loaded with products that they just won’t buy. They’re effectively window shopping online. Most websites already save the carts when people leave, but they often forget to capitalize on it. Show them a clear notice of their cart when they return as a reminder. While we’re on the topic of carts, why not personalize a banner based on what’s in it. An easy example would be your free shipping requirements. Do you notice that the basket isn’t quite full enough to warrant free shipping?

Display a banner with the message that they still haven’t met the requirements for free shipping. Add a few targeted product suggestions and you’re good to go. You can also use the information you have on users to make their life a lot easier. If you’re using forms, let them autofill as much as possible. This will make it easier for the customer to buy, which in turn will increase the chances of conversion. Or try simply offering different imagery and copy based on the location of the user. The possibilities are endless. That’s why you should have a clear vision on which experience you want to offer your customers.