Everyone wants to feel special. Whether it’s when your server at your favorite restaurant remembers your go-to drink, or when the Trader Joe’s cashier gives your kid a free set of stickers, those little touches can make a big difference in the customer experience—and can transform a shopper from a casual fan into a loyal brand advocate.

Learn more about how personalizing your shoppers’ experience can help your bottom line in the Future of Shopper Experience

So when it comes to your own ecommerce store, it’s important to go the extra mile with your shoppers. Create a customer experience for each shopper that’s uniquely their own, and they’ll be motivated to build a relationship with your brand that lasts through the years.

In this blog, we’ll discuss some ways to build personalization into your customer experience, like:

  • Optimizing your store design
  • Personalizing your featured products using shopper data
  • Personalizing your messaging approach
  • Delivering customized reminders and offers
  • Curating personalized recommendations for product exchanges

Optimize your store design

When your shoppers visit your online storefront, they should be greeted with a customized experience that’s designed for the technology they’re using. Not everyone who uses a mobile device is going to download your mobile app—so make sure that you’re providing a streamlined, elegant experience on a mobile browser as well. Your website should optimize for the user experience based on the technology they’re using, ensuring that you meet any accessibility requirements and deliver a seamless shopping experience that meets the shopper where they are. 

Personalize your featured products using shopper data

You can customize far more than your design—whether your shoppers are new or returning, you’ll be able to deliver a highly personalized experience that helps them find the products they’re most likely to be interested in.

For example, if a new shopper visits your outdoor gear website from Miami, you can optimize your featured recommendations based on location—displaying a range of surfboards and snorkel gear that might meet their needs. If a shopper visits from Vermont, you might instead showcase a range of ski and snowboarding products. 

If the shopper has purchased from you before, you have even more data to draw from to deliver personalized product recommendations. In this case, your home page can display recommended products based on past purchases, as well as bestsellers in their geographic region.

Personalize your messaging approach

To deliver a personalized customer experience, you need to focus on building customization into every element of their journey with your brand, across every channel they use.

A strong omnichannel marketing strategy might involve a wide range of channels, including your website, your app, your social media platforms, your SMS marketing platform, direct mail, and in-store shopping. Depending on the shopper, they may utilize one or a range of these different channels to engage with your brand.

Use a marketing automation platform that optimizes the user experience for each shopper’s preferred channels and behavioral patterns. If one customer frequently clicks on your SMS links, for instance, you might prioritize SMS campaigns when launching promotions for them. 

Make sure that your marketing campaigns are customized based on how the shopper responds to each interaction, too: If a customer clicks on a link in your email and buys a product, don’t follow up with a “don’t miss the sale!” message. Your marketing workflows should be customized to deliver a personalized experience that maps to the entire customer journey and learns from their behavior to optimize for heightened engagement.

Deliver customized reminders and offers

By tracking your shoppers’ preferences and behavior, you’ll be able to find the right times to engage with them based on when they’re most likely to complete an action.

For example, if a shopper purchased a bottle of shampoo a month ago, they’re likely within the window where they’ll need to replenish it—so sending a well-timed reminder with a link to the product may help you generate another sale.

When a shopper sets up an account with you, you can ask them to fill out profile information including their sizes, brand preferences, and birthday, and can then use all of that data to help you build personalized offers that they’ll appreciate. If a clothing item they’d wish-listed was out of stock in their size, you can send them an alert as soon as you have it available again. Or, you can offer a shopper a special promotion in honor of their birthday, to mark their anniversary as a shopper, or as they approach spending milestones in your customer loyalty program. 

Curate personalized recommendations for product exchanges

Your personalization strategy should not end when a shopper completes a purchase—it’s also important to prioritize a customized, thoughtful experience during the post-purchase journey.

After all, anywhere up to 40% of purchases made online end up with a return, so it’s essential that you have a good plan in place to help these shoppers with their next steps.

Simply offering a one-size-fits-all refund leaves money on the table and doesn’t help the shopper get what they wanted in the first place: a product they love.

Instead, consider using a returns management solution that can help your shoppers with tailored recommendations for exchanges.

By initiating returns through a self-service returns portal, you can ask shoppers to respond to multiple choice questions so that you can analyze the reason for their return: Was the item too big? Too small? Defective? Just didn’t like it?

Next, depending on the shopper’s return reason, your platform can automatically surface recommendations for exchange items. 

For example, if a pair of jeans was a size too small, your brand can offer the next size up as an instant exchange, with no need to return to the shopping cart for another transaction. 

But what if the shopper simply didn’t care for the item? That’s when they’re most likely to simply request a refund—which may mean the end of their relationship with your business.

By offering them curated recommendations based on products they’ve browsed in the past, plus a “bonus” store credit incentive that they can spend in addition to the amount of their initial purchase, you’ll be likely to transform a return into an exchange. That gives your shopper another chance to have a great experience with your brand and build long-term customer loyalty, and keeps revenue in your business.

How personalization pays off

We’ve looked at a number of ways to personalize the ecommerce shopping experience—now, let’s analyze the ROI.

Overwhelmingly, the data shows that investing in personalized marketing and post-purchase campaigns can deliver a better customer experience and help you retain more customers and generate more revenue. In fact, personalization can cut acquisition costs in half, lift revenue by five to 15 percent, and increase the efficiency of your marketing spend by 10 to 30 percent. 

Personalization makes customers feel important and valued, which means they’re far more likely to stick around. And that helps you retain far more of your revenue: increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%. 

Additionally, Gartner found that companies that invest in all types of web personalization will outsell their competitors by more than 30%. 

In fact, personalization has gained such prominence that customers have even come to expect it. Seventy-one percent of shoppers expect personalization in their ecommerce experiences, and 76% are frustrated when they’re approached with a one-size-fits-all message. 

In order to deliver a great customer experience from start to finish, it’s important to prioritize personalization through every element of your communications—from how they access your content, to the messages and offers they receive from you, to the way you address their concerns with a product or issue. By delivering a cohesive experience that responds to each shopper’s unique behaviors and interests, you’ll be able to demonstrate that you value your customers, so that they’ll have a unique and positive experience with your brand every time. 

That will keep them coming back for more, time and again—and give your brand the ability to generate customer lifetime revenue through delivering great experiences at every turn.

Want to learn how Loop can help you personalize the post-purchase experience? Get a demo today.