Improving your CX through personalization

Actionable ideas to harness the power of technology to create relevant, personal experiences that delight your customers online.

Imagine walking into a store and everything around you – from the lighting, music and color scheme, to employee engagement – is tailor-made for your personal preferences. While some online businesses are not far from making this experience a reality, most businesses have a long way to go.

If you work in ecommerce, you’ve heard about the value of ‘personalization’ as your business becomes more sophisticated. Personalization is relevance. For fair-weather consumers who have endless choices when it comes to their shopping, relevance equals currency for businesses.

How are you making it personal for your shoppers?

First, a few personalization insights from Amazon Pay’s latest study on the connected consumer:

  1. Personalization matters. 54% of consumers rate the level of personalization as an important attribute within their chosen shopping channel.[1]
  2. Trust is the doorway to engagement. 66% of consumers globally said they would purchase more from a seller if they trust them to keep their personal information safe.[2]
  3. Consider AI and voice commerce. 15% of consumers ranked “offers personalized recommendations” as one of their top five reasons for using voice commerce services now or in the future.[3]

Here are five personalization tactics for creating experiences that help your customers feel seen or considered because of who they are or how they act:

#1 Offer login capabilities

Offering a social or commerce login can reduce cart abandonment on your site, as many consumers do not want to create another account or remember another password[4]. It also enables richer user profiles for next level personalization, allowing your marketing team to capture information on new customers like their name, verified email, and zip code.

With automated account creation, once the customer logs in, you can make them feel more at home by showing their name within the site header or offering easy access to their account features. Login capabilities can also enable more personalized browsing experiences and streamline the path to purchase.

#2 Lead with customer preferences

Are you leveraging your customer’s preferences to improve their experience? Once customers have self-identified on your site, you can start to personalize their experience even further with relevant links such as their recently viewed products, preferred categories, or by highlighting existing items in their cart.

Rent the Runway, for example, makes it personal for their customers by helping them pick the right size the first time. They do this by connecting cohorts of comprehensive member profiles and detailed reviews with individual shoppers’ preferences, including sizes and measurements, so they have the right context as they shop across different brands and styles.[5]

#3 Right channels and content

There are many ways to engage with your customers, but a recent survey by McKinsey found that in the US and EU, the top three channels for consumers engaging with brands are personal email, social media, and WhatsApp or other messaging apps.[6] When it comes to what motivates consumers to act on a personalized communication, it’s all about the deals. These price conscious shoppers are always looking for ways to take advantage of an offer that saves them money, followed by recommended products that match their personal taste.

Similar to consumers’ motivations, the top three most appealing types of personalized content for consumers; 1) Products related to interest, 2) Similar product recommendations based on purchase/search 3) Updates on availability/price.[7]

#4 Master trigger based messaging

Consumers in all countries said that 41% of communications they receive still feel like mass marketing messages that were not created with them in mind.[8] The good news is, with some basic trigger-based emails, you can join the minority of businesses that are making it personal.

Start with the basics, developing a welcome series for new customers, and segmenting your customers’ shopping experience or communications by size, style, or category. Then look for ways to diversify your trigger emails. For example, Sephora sends back in-stock and abandoned cart triggered emails to reconnect customers to the products they have browsed. [9]

Reactive welcome and abandonment emails make an impact, but you can also send proactive emails to engage customers based on more passive actions and milestones. For example, you could include birthday discounts and even contextual triggers based on the weather.

Brands can take trigger emails to the next level, by making it personal to their brand. Discern what’s unique about your product, company, and customers that could reflect how, when, or even what you reach out to them with.

#5 Create loyalty

Converting a customer is just the beginning. The real fun is understanding what you can do to win them over and keep them coming back. That where loyalty programs can play a starring role. In fact, 66% of US consumers modify how much they spend on a brand to maximize their loyalty points.[10]

Loyalty programs offer an opportunity to make your customers feel special and exclusive. Similar to trigger emails, the challenge is making your brand stand out through this ubiquitous retail tactic. Most programs offer free shipping, cash-back, or exclusive deals.[11] Consider offering something that is unique to your product. For example, Bed Bath & Beyond offers 50% off professional decorator services. Nordstrom provides access to select brands and special workshops. Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program offers trial-sized products and sets when you reach a certain tier.

When it comes to personalizing the loyalty experience, start by investigating how your customers want to reconnect after a purchase. Maybe your customers want help, need to make a return, or are considering another purchase. User research and voice-of-customer data can provide signals for your loyalty program’s communication approach.

If you are investing in a loyalty program to dive deeper into who your customer is, consider a quiz. DSW provides new users an extensive quiz, helping the retailer understand customers preferences so they can serve them the best products. Some of their loyalty rewards include perks like birthday presents, discounts, and members-only events.[12]

If you only incorporate one of these tips…

The reason 37% of consumers abandon checkout is because a site asks them to create an account.[13] Without account creation, you miss the crucial opportunity to learn more about who your customers are.

By enabling a commerce login on your site like Login with Amazon, when people enter your site, and add Amazon Pay at checkout -- you can skip account creation, letting customers log in to your site or app with just a few clicks using their Amazon accounts. This adds another level of convenience for hundreds of millions of Amazon customers that may be browsing your site. Login with Amazon also lets you leverage a brand customers trust while capturing your customers name, a verified email address, and zip code to start building a more personalized experience.

The wide world of personalization

Personalization at scale can take months and even years of testing to perfect, depending on the complexity of your engagement. From putting the right marketing technology stack in place, to leveraging behavioral data across channels, to validating customer segments, journeys, and preferences. Even when you have the right infrastructure and customer comprehension, it may take time to develop the right trigger signals and messages that resonate with your base.

Being successful with your personalization efforts, does not mean boiling the ocean. Like many new initiatives, it’s an iterative process. Start with one of these tips to generate some immediate results, and then start to invest in the best opportunities to make it personal for your customers.

[1] Amazon Pay, Connected Commerce Survey, 2019

[2] Amazon Pay, Connected Commerce Survey, 2019

[3] Amazon Pay, Connected Commerce Survey, 2019

[4] Baymard Institute, Mobile Checkout Optimization Report, 2018

[5] Sail Thru, Retail Personalization Index, 2020

[6] McKinsey, Study: The art of personalization— Keeping it relevant, timely and contextual, April 2019

[7] McKinsey, Study: The art of personalization— Keeping it relevant, timely and contextual, April 2019

[8] McKinsey, Study: The art of personalization— Keeping it relevant, timely and contextual, April 2019

[9] Sail Thru, Retail Personalization Index, 2020

[10] Bond Brand Loyalty, “Loyalty Report 2019”, April 2019.

[11] Refinery29 “Best Loyalty Programs 2020".

[12] Sail Thru, Retail Personalization Index, 2020

[13] Baymard Institute, Mobile Checkout Optimization Report, 2018