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Predictive personalisation, is ecommerce-marketing's hottest potato

Predictive personalisation, is ecommerce-marketing’s hottest potato.

Predictive personalisation is ecommerce marketing’s hottest potato. What’s the biggest, most well-known “secret” in e-commerce marketing? Make people know, like, and trust you. The problem? Making people know, like, and trust you either takes a long time or costs a lot of money.

Also, it’s not very actionable advice. What would you say if we told you that there is a shortcut to make people know, like, and trust you? That you could do it in less time, and without spending massive amounts of money on branding? Here’s what we mean – most people want to buy from people or brands they know. However, they would much rather buy from people or brands who know them. 

The answer is personalisation. But not the definition that lumps groups of people together called segmentation, or worse where well-meaning people assume it means getting a customer’s name right, that’s lame.

Personalisation done right will help you sell more, grab huge chunks of visitor retention, add enormous value to you email strategy (without having to offer discounts), improve your customer retention rategenerate more loyal customers, grow your average order value, and kick a huge hole in the value of product returns.

Would you be surprised to learn that your customers expect you to know who they are when they return to your website? Accenture surveyed over 8,000 consumers about personalisation, and 91% answered that they are more likely to shop with brands who recognise, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.

This is important because most ecommerce brands are trying to catch the same fish as everyone else. The standard ecommerce playbook is made up of email and influencer marketing, affiliate programs, and Facebook, Instagram, and Google advertisement.

Attention is already a precious commodity. And contrary to popular belief, our attention spans are not declining. We are just becoming better at filtering out — and quicker to dismiss — what’s not interesting to us. This is where personalisation comes into play. 

A quick overview of predictive personalisation

Most people talk about personalisation like it’s just some random tactics you can apply on any site, in any situation. But the truth is that the success of your personalisation program depends on the quality of your data. Nothing else.

Personalisation is enabled by a mix of contact information, individual website activity, and attribution. Because in the end, personalisation needs to deliver value for your customers first. Not the other way around.

With that in mind, a good onsite personalisation strategy should (from your customer’s point of view):

“Communicate these to me when I’m in the mood to buy“

“Remind me of things I want to remember”

“Recognise me, no matter how I interact with your brand“

“Share valuable information in a format I like“

Show me products I am most likely to buy next

If you follow these 5 points together with the tips and tactics in this post, you will be able to improve your onsite personalisation strategy almost instantly. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Collect quality data

Personalisation starts with data collection. Trying to personalise without using data is like trying to fly a kite by blowing at it. Impossible. You need to know more about your current customers before you can serve them with personalised offers.

The best way to collect data you can use in personalisation is by:

  • Doing a quick and dirty conversion analysis
  • Collect individual-level data
  • Ensure your data is synced to where it needs to be

Let’s go through each point, step-by-step.

Quick and dirty conversion analysis

The best place to start improving your personalisation is by doing a quick and dirty conversion analysis. If you don’t know what your customers experience, you will have a hard time effectively using the right personalisation tactics.

You want to do a customer journey walkthrough. Go through each step of your most important customer journey(s), from seeing the first ad, to visiting the website, to completing a purchase.

Look for these 4 things:

  1. Clarity – Is every step as clear as it could be?
  2. Friction – What’s causing doubts and hesitation?
  3. Anxiety – What makes me cringe?
  4. Distraction – Are there multiple distractions? Do I know what I want to do on the page?

Why these four things?

Personalisation is one of the most effective ways to add value at certain points in your customer journey — but only if done right. But personalising an offer just to personalise “something” is probably not going to give you the results you’re looking for.

Worst case —  it might even scare some people off. Personalisation is a great way to increase clarity, decrease friction, reduce anxiety, and minimise distractions. These areas should be where you start.

Your findings will also help you figure out what needs to be done in other parts of your customer journey that start or end on your website.

Personalisation in email marketing

If you haven’t clocked-it yet, predictive personalisation is the undisputed hottest topic in ecommerce, as the darling of greatest returns. Every year stats are produced illustrating the power of personalisation and within that email personalisation is leaps and bounds ahead of all other Martech solutions.

The biggest secret in ecommerce marketing
Predictive personalisation, is ecommerce-marketing’s honest potato

An predictive personalisation email (those showing the products that the recipient is most interested in) has an 87% higher open rate compared to regular emails, a 47% higher read-rate, and is more or less your only opportunity to ensure that your next email campaigns do not get buried in the promotional tab (by asking the recipient to answer a question or reply to your welcome email).

And as you can see in the graph above, response rates increase by 5-10% immediately when you personalise your message to the recipient.

Collect individual level-data

It’s no secret that web analytics is a must for an ecommerce store, and Google Analytics is more or less the industry standard. But for onsite personalisation, you need to collect data on an individual level and be able to identify your customers. 

If you’re serious about personalisation you should consider using software like SwiftERM, which collects individual-level data from your website and has a native integration with each individual consumer’s predictive product selection – their personal choices . Not only does it enhance your email performance by using data from your consumer’s website activity. being 100% automatic it also creates personalised emails data specific to nano-seconds before sending.

Audience-specific messages and reminders

Personalising is individual specific and one of the most effective ways to improve your onsite personalisation strategy. Segmentation is not personalisation, indeed many perceive it as marginalisation now. Messages tailored to your audience are an important part of your customer retention strategy. Your customer retention strategy is how you maximise the profitability of your online store and increase the lifetime value of each customer.

While most ecommerce stores focus on acquiring new customers, retention is the most important driver of long-term growth. But what does retention have to do with onsite personalisation? The expectations of your returning customers vs new customers are vastly different. Someone who visits your website for the first time doesn’t know what to expect other than the website to work properly.

But a recurring and loyal customer? A completely different story.

If you want to improve your onsite personalisation, you should focus on the moments that add the most value. And one of those moments is when your most loyal customers return to your website. If you have a lot of recurring customers, they are most likely to browse your website once in a while. And you would be surprised how many of them sign up for offers, add items to their cart, check out items on sale and then leave. You can incentivise them by showing audience-specific, personalised reminders.


  • Best-in-class retailers are using personalisation to make their shopping experience frictionless, easy, and seamless across multiple channels.
  • Success in personalisation means delivering unique individual – personalised product selections for every customer.
  • The goal for true personalisation leaders in e-commerce is to use their data and technology to personalise critical touchpoints in a way that best drives value for the customer.
  • One of the fastest and easiest ways for most companies to get started with personalisation is to start collecting data on an individual level and connect their website activity with their email database.
  • Having a seamless connection between your email database and your website can make a world of difference when it comes to building loyalty and creating relevant communication.

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