How You Can Profit from Personalizing Content on Your Ecommerce Store


In a traditional retail store, skilled sales associates observe how someone shops and offer an informed suggestion for their purchases.

The same can be done when a visitor lingers on your ecommerce store.

With ecommerce personalization, you can give each customer the personal shopper treatment simultaneously.  The one size fits all approach doesn’t work online anymore.

In this post, we’ll go over the importance of offering a personalized shopping experience, and how you can apply it to your ecommerce store.

What is Ecommerce Personalization?

Have you ever shown up to a clothing store to have a sales associate help pick out some clothes with you?  Chances are, they probably helped you pick a fantastic outfit that fits really well.

The same type of personal experience is now possible for ecommerce shoppers.  That’s what ecommerce personalization is.

By using different data and tools, you can cater specific messages, product suggestions, and more to your customers.

Mojn put together an analysis of how personalized shopping increases conversions for ecommerce stores.  Here are some highlights:

  • 75% of consumers like when brands personalize messaging and offers
  • 74% of online consumers get frustrated with content that has nothing to do with their interests
  • 61% of consumers prefer offers, even if it means less privacy

While ecommerce personalization is an important step in optimizing your online store, it hasn't gotten the attention it deserves.  In fact, many stores owners are unaware that it even exists.

How You Can Be The Head of The Personalized Pack

Most ecommerce stores right now have static content that is the same for every customer.  This occurs even though we know that each shopper has unique tastes and motivations for making a purchase online.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can hop on the personalization trend, and start to increase your sales.

Use Dynamic Content to Greet Customers

According to Janrain, 74% of online shoppers are frustrated with the fact that the content that they’re served online has nothing to do with their interests.

We’re now seeing services arise that let you create dynamic content based on segmented lists.  This will, for instance, let you greet a specific segmented list of customers based on how they’re visiting your store.

Take a look at this service called Dyno, which lets you create segmented lists of customers to serve them dynamic content.

There are quite a few instances where you’d want to use this type of personalization.  If you were featured on a large news outlet, you could offer a specific discount to visitors who are clicking through from that website.

Or, if you email a specific segmented list of email subscribers, you can offer them a customized list of product recommendations.

Resources to Replicate on Your Store:

Personalize Suggested Products Using a Pre-Purchase Questionnaire

Another way to implement personalization is through an introductory questionnaire before letting a customer complete the checkout process. Doing this allows you to capture enough customer insights to provide a unique shopping experience.

When it comes to something like personal preferences, being able to create a fluid shopping experience is an integral part of a shoppers purchasing decision.

Craft Coffee does a fantastic job of this.  By offering a subscription based coffee service, they create an extremely personalized shopping experience by asking a few questions about your coffee habits before even allowing you to checkout.

From Craft Coffee:

"Whether you want to try different coffees from around the world or stick with something similar to your current favorite, we’ll craft a custom coffee experience for you. But don’t worry, you can change your course at any time. Want to go with something different in your next delivery? Want to treat yourself to something extra special? Just log in to your account and update your settings. We’ll take care of the rest."

While I’m not a huge coffee aficionado, I find this process to be extremely effective for a few reasons.

First, it makes sure that what I’m purchasing is aligned with my current tastes.  This makes me more comfortable about purchasing, because even though I’m not too familiar with different roasts and blends, I know that whatever I purchase will be at least close to what I have at home.

Secondly, its effective because it makes the purchasing experience much more interactive and involved than simply adding a product to my cart.  I want to finish the survey and add the product to my cart.

Lastly, by completing the checkout I know that I am being rewarded with an extremely targeted product.  Probably much more personalized than any other local coffee shop that sells generic medium and dark roasts.

Resources to Replicate on Your Store:

  • Hire a Shopify Expert to help integrate a seamless questionnaire into your store
  • Gather actionable feedback from your customers using FluidSurveys
  • Expand product information using QuestionTime

Use Product Options to Cater to a Customer’s Specific Needs

How often do you shop for clothes online, only to find that a medium shirt fits differently than you remember?

Often, shirt sizes and styles will vary from one brand to another, leaving you confused as to why nothing fits properly.  

Thankfully, with personalized product options, there’s quite a few ways to get around this when selling online.

Take Indochino Suits for example.  While they sell complete suits, they offer product customization during the checkout process.  In fact, you have to customize it and measure yourself correctly before even being able to checkout.

Why do they do this?  A $600 suit that fits perfectly is always better than a $4000 suit that doesn’t fit right.  By creating this personalized buying experience, the leap-of-faith of buying a suit online makes shoppers much more confident in their purchases.  

It makes your first point of contact with them potentially the last.  Ideally, your suit will fit perfectly, and they don’t have to deal with returns.

Resources to Replicate on Your Store:

Retargeting Ads Bring Visitors Back to Your Store

Retargeting is a hot topic in the online marketing world.  It works by serving ads to customers based on prior engagements with your store.

If someone were to visit your store without making a purchase - you could run a retargeting campaign to target them specifically based on their actions, and they’d see advertisements for your store on other websites. 

Some store owners use retargeting to target visitors who visit their ecommerce store, add a product to their cart, but don’t complete the checkout process.

The team at Startup Vitamins does a fantastic job of this.  Take a look at one of their retargeting advertisements that they ran on Facebook.

Here’s a bit more information from Startup Vitamins that explains the success they’ve had with their retargeting efforts.

From Startup Vitamins:

Initially we started with just the free $50 Perfect Audience gave us after signing up and then gradually increased our retargeting budget. Perfect Audience will signal you if it thinks that your budget is too low for audience size.

You can see that for $8,638 in advertising spend we managed to generate 1,603 conversions with a total value of $129,622.19. Not bad, huh? This has a much higher ROI than the traditional targeted advertising we do.

Bonus: Use Personalized Email Marketing Services

Nowadays, there are a lot of different services to send personalized emails to your customers. Previously we went over the importance of abandoned cart recovery emails, and the same techniques can be applied to your email marketing campaigns.

Take a look at the following apps in the Shopify app store to add some personal flair to your emails:

What Are Your Thoughts on Personalization?

Now that we’ve gone over some ways to add a personalized experience to your store, it’s your turn to take action!

Have you ever come across a fantastic example of personalization?  What was it that made it stand out to you?

Let us know in the comments below!

About the author

Aaron Orendorff

Previously the Editor in Chief of Shopify Plus, Aaron Orendorff is the VP of Marketing at Common Thread Collective. Named by Forbes as one of the top 10 B2B content marketers, his work has appeared on Mashable, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fast Company, Inc., Success Magazine, The Next Web, Content Marketing Institute, and more.

Check out Aaron Orendorff’s work