The goal of any ecommerce business is clear: as you draw your target audience to your website, you want to simultaneously convert them into customers. With billions of people online, Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is the new cornerstone of businesses operating online.
“Your conversion rate is the easiest way to increase profits for your business and that’s why it’s so important to optimise it.”
~ Neil Patel
What does conversion optimisation look like in practice? In many cases, it requires technical tactics involving website metrics and integration with your existing sales funnel. But there’s one that meshes particularly well with new ecommerce customer expectations: personalisation.
In this article, we want to ask: does personalisation lead to better CRO or should you put your emphasis elsewhere?
The Science of Conversion
Some marketing efforts are aimed at gaining more traffic to your site. In contrast, conversion optimisation is about getting more visitors to take action on your site – without necessarily increasing traffic.
There is a wide range of conversion rates. Average sites see about 1% to 3% conversion, while top-performing sites can see up to 9% conversion. Clearly it’s an area to focus on.
Usually the goal of CRO is a purchase – but it could be to sign up for a newsletter, share a post, or respond to any number of calls to action.
Whatever the purpose, CRO requires solid methodology and dedicated technology for success. Some approaches track bounce rate or focus on cart abandonment – but others hone in on customer experience.
How personalisation improves CRO
The CRO definition above makes it clear that personalisation is a subset of CRO strategies. After all, the whole idea of personalisation is to qualify leads. If you look at them as items on a list, CRO comes before personalisation. But if you look at them as building blocks, personalisation may just take the top spot. And here’s why: personalisation extends beyond straightforward conversion optimisation into customer relationships.
When introduced across channels, it can increase trust in your brand, lead to better customer service interactions, and even be a springboard to authentic advocacy from your customers. If CRO is the science of conversion, personalisation is the art of connection. And customers are looking to connect with brands in a personal way.
These are three ways personalisation improves CRO:
- It puts what your customers want right in front of them. Have you ever spent hours looking for the right product? So have we. A personalised approach avoids the need for a lengthy search.
- It speeds up the sales cycle. Ecommerce sites rarely make a sale on a customer’s first visit to the site. Personalisation shortens the sales cycle by providing a better experience the first time around.
- It introduces trust to the customer-vendor relationship. Customers are no longer just looking for products. They want to connect with a brand. Personalising your content builds this trust.
Personalisation attempts to move away from the traditional sales funnel approach. For ecommerce businesses, it leverages digital technology for the benefit of both marketing and sales efforts.
According to revered consulting firm McKinsey & Company, personalisation can be considered marketing’s Holy Grail (their words, not ours): “Done right, personalisation enhances customer’s lives and increases engagement and loyalty by delivering messages that are tuned to and even anticipate what customers really want.”
The same report highlights the efficiency of personalisation. It reduces acquisition costs by up to 50 percent, and saves 10-30% of marketing spend.
Personalisation is becoming the new expectation. 86% of customers said that personalisation impacted their purchase decisions. In response, nearly 70% of businesses have started to prioritise personalised experiences.
So what are some ways you can introduce personalisation to your ecommerce brand?
5 Tips for Improving Personalisation on Your eCommerce Store
#1: Start With Your Customer, Not With Technology
Steve Jobs once said, “You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” The same is true for introducing personalisation to your brand. Before jumping headlong into a tech solution, make sure you have a foundation first.
Ensure your website is easy to navigate. Look at customer reviews to see how you can improve service. Make sure you have a mobile-friendly site. With these factors in place, you can plug in the right personalisation features for your customers. It could be a new intuitive search function – or it be honing your communication with user behaviour and information.
#2: Develop a Marketing Stack That Prioritises Personalisation
Just because you don’t start with tech tools doesn’t mean you won’t need them. Do your research and find a handful of marketing and sales tool that will fit the bill for your purpose. Predictive personalisation solutions (PPS) now takes personalisation further, into the homes and lives of each individual consumer you have. the facility to be able to better predict (than they can) what each consumer is most likely to buy next.
Based on their buying history, and impressions; immeasurably valuable data, which you have and your competitors don’t, it present those perfect product selections in front of them at the ideal time, calculated most likely for a purchase to happen. PPS converts this into an invitation to visit that products page on your site site to buy it, no other solution on the planet can do this so well. What’s more, email service providers don’t deliver this AI solution which delivers twenty times greater return, instead they offer their segmenting alternative.
#3: Show Customers What They Want to See
Personalisation isn’t just about using your customer’s name or birthday for some targeted emails. It’s about making sure you get the products your customers want to see. Search history, past purchases and customer profiling are all important in this area, and the right personalisation tool will put that data to use. Another option is to revamp the way customers search for products, finding a more intuitive approach.
#4: Utilies User-Generated Content in Your Marketing & Sales Efforts
This is less about personalisation in the CRO sense, and more about the personal connection we’ve talked about. Did you know that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation? That’s not for nothing.
UGC like customer reviews or use cases can be a fantastic way to replace some of your marketing language with something more genuine. It will give you new marketing material to work with and help you get to know your customers. You can choose to incorporate reviews or other UGC on your landing pages, social media sites, call-to-action pop ups and more.
The Bottom Line: Personalisation is CRO Best Practice
As an online business, your primary goal is to convert your target audience into visitors, and then visitors into customers. In that sense, CRO comes before personalisation. But which should you prioritise?
Here’s the thing: it’s not a matter of what comes first. It’s a matter of what you are able to accomplish, and what will have the best results the fastest. For ecommerce sites, personalisation can represent a huge step forward in Conversion Rate Optimisation.
“Look to create custom content that pushes the boundaries of the technology you have access to, and remember to always test your results. The more personalised your content, the more you’ll stay ahead of the curve and impress customers with the content you’re delivering just to them.”~ Neil Patel
Personalisation is about taking what you know about your customers and using the tech tools you already have available to you. CRO may be the cornerstone of your ecommerce business, but personalisation can be the cornerstone of improving your CRO, and deliver a whopping 20-fold increase in ROI So what’s stopping you from jumping in?
Further articles on ecommerce marketing available here. Free 30-day PPS trial available here.