From Site to Email: Ecommerce Individualization Across Touchpoints
Amazon knows I like RXBARs, especially the chocolate coconut flavor.
And at this point they have the data to know when my supply is running low.
So what did they do? Of course they recommended those bars as well as a few other flavors to see if I’d bite, but they also plopped this thing in the sidebar:
What in the world is that? It’s an RXBAR Dash Button, a “personalized shortcut” for me to reorder.
Amazon gave me the choice of either adding the digital Dash Button to my phone, or purchasing the physical Wi-Fi-enabled button for $4.99 so I could put it in the cabinet beside the bars and, in the push of a button, buy a few more boxes.
The reason I now know such buttons exist (and am now writing about them!) is because Amazon put something completely relevant in my path to purchase. They, for a moment, gave me a fairly individualized experience.
However, my Amazon homepage still isn’t all that relevant. It’s a mix of things I may be interested in, and a barely updated version of those old school “Most Popular” categories that nothing in my Amazon history suggests I’d be interested in:
They even used the countdown timer so I’d feel a sense of urgency… to buy things that aren’t relevant to me.
But while such individualization is powerful, the vast majority of retailers (and, yes, even the mighty Amazon) aren’t stringing these micro-moments together.
Instead, they’re either delivering an on-site experience or an email experience (and as The Wall Street Journal pointed out, many are failing spectacularly on the latter).
Towards Unified Individualization
There’s a lot of talk in the ecommerce space right now about how personalization is becoming individualization.
But many retailers haven’t made the leap, or if they have they are creating disjointed customer experiences—some segmentation here, most popular there, and a merchandiser-selected area somewhere else.
Likewise, most retailers are continuing habits that were formed in digital marketing; they’re buying individualization through various point solutions.
These may be steps in the right direction, but they’re not going to create the staircase of experiences that today’s empowered customers are demanding.
The best retailers, and certainly those reaping the most rewards in terms of digital engagement and conversion growth, are creating individualized experiences that extend off-site.
What might a fluid transition from site to inbox look like? Let’s first look at an incredibly basic example from Godiva that relates to the individualized emails we showed last week.
For example’s sake, let’s assume I’m not a Godiva customer. That’s fine. Look at how they still were able to create an on-site search experience that is:
- Not forcing me to complete a search before seeing results
- Surfacing relevant visual results in real-time as I type
And let’s say my holiday spirit fades, and instead of buying a gift for somebody else I decide to completely splurge on myself.
Yes, the Ultimate Truffle Collection.
But then, just as I was nearly through the checkout process, I began to contemplate if I really deserved those truffles. That’s when my inner voice whispered: You didn’t go to the gym AT ALL this week.
Right there and then I abandoned my cart. Truffles lost forever.
Except not quite.
Because I signed up on the site (this only needs to happen once in my entire history with Godiva), the personalized mapping integral to their digital merchandising strategy can kick in and show me my beloved truffles (1.)… this time off-site and directly in my inbox:
The truffles weren’t alone. The individualized experience continued in slot (2.) which displayed a few of the products I was debating on getting, and then into slot (3.) where it showed me the gift category I spent so much time in.
No, I don’t need the truffles. And I guess I don’t need that Nutty Favorites Bundle. But I probably should get that gift for mom.
Click. And so the mapping deepens.
Learning Across Touchpoints
As stated, most retailers are only getting a few steps before collapsing. But individualized ecommerce experiences aren’t just better for the customer, they’re better for the machine.
With the collected data across touchpoints, AI-powered platforms can allow digital retailers to create seamless experiences at each step of the buyer’s journey. Here are five things this could mean, among many others:
1. The end of the homepage. Homepages can be stripped to the banner because all can now be dynamic and tailored to every individual who lands on it.
2. Time saved from segmentation’s wrath. For most digital marketers, in-depth and tedious segmentation is a drain on their time and energy.
3. Fewer marketing mistakes. Moving towards unified individualization can help retailers avoid, as in The Wall Street Journal example, sending customers a discount on dresses when they just wanted tall black boots.
4. Increased engagement and revenue. We’ve watched retailers make double digit gains in overall site engagement, average order size, and conversion rates.
5. An improved customer experience. This isn’t all about mistake-reduction, it’s about creating seamless experiences—such as the on-site search example from Godiva.
To gain a deeper understanding of individualization, check out our upcoming webinar: