Even though customers have been craving for more personalized online experiences, retailers have a hard time giving them what they want. Less than one in ten retailers believe they’re good at personalization, and almost one in three will say they can’t support personalization at all or have a very limited way of doing it.
In the digital world, website personalization is something that simply needs to be done. Consumers want brands to get to know them. The sooner you understand how to do it, the more advantage you will have over your competition. And although personalization might sound like one of those concepts that are hard to grasp as well as hard to implement, it isn’t.
What Is Website Personalization?
Let’s be clear about our terminology and answer the main question — what is website personalization? Contrary to what you might have heard, website personalization is not about building a specific kind of a website for a specific customer. It is, however, an approach to web design, sales, and marketing that allows you to develop custom-made, personalized experiences which will, in turn, be more appealing and relevant to the customers.
Still unclear on the whole personalization thing? Here’s an example. The website search developed by Instant Search allows you to do a couple of very interesting things, including recommending products to visitors and building specific landing pages that target specific customers. That way, a person who comes to a website that uses the Instant Search’s solution can be greeted with content that is relevant to them and their needs. That’s personalization.
How Is Personalization Achieved
Old-school sales reps will tell that there’s nothing quite like knowing and understanding your customers if you want to sell them something. And it makes perfect sense, too — the better you know people, and the better you are able to put your finger on what they need and desire, the better your chances are of selling them something they’ll be likely to buy. That’s sort of how website personalization works. It’s only done on a completely different level.
Website personalization is enabled by an unprecedented level of understanding of consumer behavior. As a marketer or an owner of an e-commerce website, you can have a lot of insight into how your website visitors behave, what are their browsing habits, and what are they searching for the most. Website personalization is using those insights to approach every consumer in a way that’s most attuned to their personality.
What Do You Need to Get Started?
The first thing you’ll need is, of course, an idea about who your customers are. If you’re a retailer, a salesperson, or a marketer, you probably already had some research done and you have a good understanding of your customer type.
Next, you need to start targeting specific visitors in real time. You need to understand where they go on your website, what are they looking for, and how much time they spend on different parts of your website. After a while, you’ll start developing profiles that will allow you to turn customers into audiences.
Your next step should involve planning an experience for your audiences. This is where most of the personalization is done. Tools like the search tool we mentioned earlier can track visitors and automatically deliver recommendations based on past behavior.
Behavior is not the only thing you should be targeting. You can also develop personalized experience based on the type of device the consumer is using to visit your website. Both desktop and mobile offer different opportunities for you to engage with the consumers, and although developing separate mobile and desktop experiences can get expensive, it might be a worthy investment.
Content is another thing you should be thinking of. There’s nothing wrong with your content being SEO friendly. But if that’s all it does, you’re not harvesting its full potential. Custom content should deliver the information your customers need when they need it. It should address concerns and remove barriers to purchase in a way that’s the most meaningful from one case to another. Creating content for finely targeted customer personae is one of the best things you can do to personalize your website.
Website personalization is not without its difficulties. It can sometimes be hard to gather enough actionable data about consumers, even though the amount of raw data you can get is staggering. You can also struggle to implement a good personalization strategy. There are many technical things that could be messed up. But you should keep trying, and you should always remember to test any change you implement.