Within martech [i.e., marketing technology], 2016 was the year of personalization.
It seemed that nearly every other article or blog post about e-commerce emphasized the importance of personalization in getting consumers to convert. The better you know your customers and target the right products to them, the more successfully you’ll encourage them to buy. Or as Plato might have said, “Retailer, know thy consumer!”
This is good news for the consumer electronics segment, a sector that has seen higher rates of cart abandonment at every stage of the purchasing journey compared to online purveyors of other types of goods. While this cannot be solely attributed to a lack of personalization — price sensitivity, the propensity to browse, and undifferentiated products also contribute — the lack of customization must be seen as a contributing factor … and a missed opportunity.
Research has shown that there is one area where consumer e-commerce outperforms other categories: in customer “affinity.” Tech sites’ consumer base is made up of a higher-than-average percentage of repeat customers. A business with returning customers is simply made for personalization. With the right technology and platform, a CE retailer can leverage the data it has collected from repeat abandonment offenders.
Depending on needs and pain points, there are a few different ways for tech retailers to approach personalization that will increase customer engagement and, ultimately, conversion.
Drive upsells with personalized recommendations. Electronics is notorious for low margins on high-ticket items, and high margins on some low-ticket items. It’s not uncommon for an e-commerce retailer to make the same amount of margin by selling the laptop bag vs. the actual laptop itself. This means that CE retailers should pay particular attention to upsell. Simply put, relentlessly and carefully upsell accessories at all aspects of the purchase funnel. Also, with the personalization technologies that are available today, you can optimize the products recommended based on gross margins to ensure your most valuable products are featured.
Create dynamic banner variations for different segments: Consumer electronics retailers sell a lot of products. A quick visit to the homepage of many tech dealers presents the opportunity to purchase anything from a smart TV for mom to a drone for Cousin Joe. But what if a user just wants a power cord adapter? How do we ensure that this customer isn’t overwhelmed by the sheer volume of products? Personalization technology allows the retailer to surface relevant content on the homepage as user behavior becomes apparent. This is especially important, particularly for re-engaging repeat visitors by immediately returning them back to context.
Quickly allocate traffic to highest performing calls to actions: A/B testing and “call to action” buttons are an essential part of most consumer web strategies. To truly maximize revenue opportunity, dynamically allocate website traffic to variations with stronger performance. Real-time personalization means that instead of waiting weeks for data to change course, your business can immediately allocate traffic to the highest performing design.
Leverage social proof to win on-the-fence customers: Let’s say you’re a customer interested in the new Xbox One. The graphics are beautiful. You’ve clicked on the product page at least a dozen times in the past three days. But you can’t bring yourself to make the leap and purchase it. After all, your 360 still works great and maybe your money would be better spent on something you actually need, like a new suit. Repeatedly viewing the same product over and over again online is a good thing, at least as far as e-commerce retailers are concerned. Since retailers know exactly which product the consumer wants, they can use surface social proofing messaging, showing the indecisive customer how many others have purchased the item he covets. It’s the e-commerce consumer equivalent of keeping up with the Joneses.
Optimize homepage slider according to device: Your average desktop shopper is multitasking, toggling between a retail site and the Excel tab in his browser as the boss walk pasts. Conversely, mobile web shoppers are in a race against time, like Jack Bauer trying to deactivate a bomb on “24,” trying to scour a website before losing the signal or getting a response to last night’s text. How do you engage this multitasking, short-on-time shopping segment? Adjust the homepage experience accordingly to allow mobile users to quickly discover relevant products most often bought on phones, and allow desktop buyers to see products most frequently purchased on the bigger screen.Liad Agmon is CEO of Dynamic Yield, developer of an advanced machine- learning engine that builds actionable customer segments in real time. This enables marketers to increase revenue via personalization, recommendations, automatic optimization and one-to-one messaging.