What is Individualized Ecommerce?

By ​Karlie Morien

January 30, 2019

Today’s world of online shopping is booming. Sales are reaching new levels and the ecommerce industry is showing no signs of slowing down. With such success, you can imagine how competitive the industry has become and why you would need a competitive edge.

Sure, you’ve been making every effort to personalize your brand, but what have you done for your individualization strategy?

Knowing what role individualization plays in the ecommerce space will allow you to drive your brand forward. Once you have the concept of individualized ecommerce down, you can begin to learn how you can use it in the future and how to implement it in your overall strategy. Let’s look at what goes into ecommerce individualization and how it applies to you.

Individualized Ecommerce Defined

To understand individualized ecommerce—or, ecommerce individualization—you must first be prepared to look beyond everything you know about personalization. Why? Well, because they’re separately, though related, concepts. Individualization is a particularly advanced form of personalization that can allow a brand to expand on the other methods in their arsenal.. Also referred to as 1-to-1 personalization, individualization can transform your entire process when used in conjunction with optimization and segmentation.

Ecommerce individualization allows you to fully customize a shopping experience for an individual, not just a segment of people. With this tool, you can implement changes to the user experience within weeks, offering up relevant information for each unique shopper that will help drive conversions.

The crucial aspect of ecommerce individualization is that it is seamless for the end user. This level of individualization requires you to take everything you know about a customer and provide them with a shopping experience that is one step ahead of them, from the homepage to checkout.

Individualized ecommerce should be carried out at each point of interaction so that you can extend the connection you’ve spent time and effort to build. Not all retailers have adopted this strategy, so partaking in ecommerce individualization will certainly give you a competitive edge.

Examples of Individualized Ecommerce

Sometimes it is best to see a concept in action in order to really understand how it works. Ecommerce individualization has brought success to many brands, but it can’t be achieved without careful strategizing and thoughtful approaches. Let’s take a deeper look at a few examples of individualized ecommerce.

Office Depot Knew Ecommerce Individualization Would Boost Conversions

Office supply retailer Office Depot knew that as their ecommerce sales continued to rise, there was an opportunity to get to know their customers better. The brand understood that different customers need different information, as determined both by their membership in broad segments (such as business customers versus consumer shoppers) and by their own personal intent and history with the brand. To increase conversions and bump up revenue, the retailer decided to streamline the presentation of product information on their website. In order to do this, they took advantage of dynamic content.

Using the Monetate Intelligent Personalization Engine, Office Depot came up with a plan to present each individual customer with the content best suited for them. The AI capabilities of Monetate’s solution helped the retailer decide which product descriptions, reviews, related recommendations, and more should be presented to which customer first. Within 4 months of deploying this method, Office Depot saw a $6.9 million increase in revenue.

Lovehoney Realized They Had to Get Personal

Lingerie and adult gift retailer Lovehoney understands that connecting with their customers on an individual level means they had to get deeply personal. Due to the nature of their products, Lovehoney sometimes encounters difficulties when trying to get to know a customer. However, they have found that social proof goes a long way in driving conversions.

To reach customers searching for that sense of confirmation, Lovehoney paired up with Monetate and LeanConvert, a customer experience optimization consultancy. They used what they knew about individual customers’ history with the brand to customize the experience: now, when a customer who frequently abandons their cart or a new customer visits the website, Lovehoney presents them with a live feed of data to show them how often a particular product has been viewed over the last 24 hours. This tactic helped normalize and tailor the purchasing experience based on that individual’s level of comfort with the product, which resulted in a 4 percent uplift in conversions for the company.

Country Attire Wanted to Reach New Heights

As an online retailer, Country Attire knew that investing in a personalization engine would be a wise choice. They knew that their customers have clothing tastes of all kinds, as they carry a wide variety of brands on their site. While Country Attire had previously relied on A/B testing, they wanted something that would help them target customers individually.

Once they began using Monetate’s personalization platform, they began targeting individual customers with tailored promotions and free shipping, depending on their specific location. Overall, Country Attire saw a 32 percent increase in revenue per session and a 28 percent increase in conversions.

How Can You Use Ecommerce Individualization to Grow?

So, now that you’ve seen a few examples of what ecommerce individualization is and how it works, how can you use it to improve your brand? And what do the potential gains look like?

For starters, Kinsta reports that ecommerce is expected to bring in $3.3 billion in sales in 2019 alone. And Gartner predicts that smart personalization engines used to recognize customer intent will enable digital businesses to increase their profits by up to 15 percent. This means that individualized ecommerce will eventually become a brand imperative in order to drive conversions, boost sales, and set yourself apart from the rest of the pack.

According to a study from Janrain and Harris Interactive, approximately 3 out of 4 customers become frustrated with a website when content appears that has nothing to do with their interests. Furthermore, more than half of consumers are alright with giving out personal information if it is being used to their benefit—and responsibly—during a shopping experience.

Ecommerce individualization allows you to extend your reach in a way that lets customers know you want to connect with them on a deeper level. By focusing in on an individual, not simply a broader segment, you’re able to shape their user experience in a way that won’t feel intrusive or impersonal. Instead, it will feel familiar and truly customized. How you choose to carry it out, however, is up to you.

Implementing Individualized Ecommerce

By now, you might be wondering how to begin implementing individualized ecommerce. Before you do that, however, there are a few things to consider:

  • Current Strategy: For starters, take a look at what you are currently doing to speak to customers on an individual level. This will help you understand where to start and where to improve.
  • Behavioral Data: Next, take a good hard look at your behavioral data. Can you identify any trends that can clue you into user intent at particular moments of the buying journey? For example, high rates of cart abandonment with certain types of products, types of day, or groups of customers might be a sign that elements of your checkout page experience could use more tailored personalization. Do an audit of your site through a behavioral lens to identify some spots where you might be able to make improvements by offering individualized experiences.
  • Personalization Engine: Once you have a better idea of where you would like to head with your user experience, consider using a personalization engine to get you there. A personalization engine will help you take the data you have on customers and use it to link interactions together for a seamless, customized experience across multiple platforms. (Which will have a big payoff, considering 85 percent of customers complete a purchase on a different device than the one on which they initiated their shopping experience.)

Forging Ahead with Individualized Ecommerce

Individualized ecommerce creates meaningful relationships with customers old and new. Through this concept, you’re building connections that keep customers loyal and ultimately help you grow customer lifetime value. The moment you start personalizing your brand on an individual level is the moment that you have changed the way your customers view you—for good.

If you would like to learn more about how to get started with a Monetate solution, head over to our product page. Or, if you would like to speak with an expert, contact us today.

Karlie Morien is the Director of Market Development at Monetate. She joined the company in October of 2016, and comes from a background of software sales and business development. She lives in Phoenixville, PA and you can likely find her cooking for her two daughters, ages 8 and 10.

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