Ecommerce Marketing Strategy: Personalizing the Shopping Experience

Personalizing an ecommerce website is a two-way street. Ecommerce stores that gather shopper information without saying what they gather and why run the risk of putting off shoppers who value their privacy. On the other hand, many shoppers love finding an ecommerce website tailored just for them. Transparency and data are equally important.

Wrong: Tailoring an ecommerce experience to a particular shopper’s behavior can be tricky. Some shoppers might be thrilled to discover that you remembered the types of things they like. Others might wonder how you found out what they like without asking. Ecommerce sellers who don’t take transparency steps run the risk unnerving some shoppers.

Right: Your ecommerce website should host a privacy policy statement. It should say what information you collect and how you use it, even if it’s the stuff most shoppers already know you collect like cookies and browsing history. When it’s possible or practical to include the shopper in the personalization process, do it. Asking a user to take a survey to help shape the shopping experience is one example. It’s the difference between asking a person what they like and rummaging through their things to find out what they like.

The takeaway: Personalization is a partnership, and it takes communication. Communicate to the shopper what data you collect and why, and ask the shopper to communicate to you what they like.

Something novel: Give the shopper an incentive to provide more information about themselves. At checkout, you might ask the customer to take a brief survey in exchange for a discount on their next purchase. If the information you glean from the survey leads to just one more sale, the promotion has likely paid for itself already.

How it works with Essent: The Essent SiteBuilder ecommerce platform allows the ecommerce vendor to survey its shoppers seamlessly as part of the checkout sequence. The vendor can use Essent survey engine technology to quickly and easily set the questions it wants for the checkout survey. When the vendor wants to ask new or different questions, the surveys can easily be updated and instantly deployed with a click of a button to immediately update all the sites using the survey. After a shopper completes a survey, the vendor can choose to email a follow-up promotional code. When the shopper uses the promo code on the vendor’s website, SiteBuilder attaches the code to the sales order in the Essent Compass Business Management System. The system then validates the code and supports and tracks it all the way through the critical path. As for the privacy policy page, creating one is as simple as creating any other page in SiteBuilder.

Catch the next installment: This is one installment in a periodic series on ecommerce marketing strategies. See the series overview to read previous installments. Or subscribe to the series to get future installments emailed right to you.

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