E-commerce personalization is becoming a must-have. More and more sites are offering a personalized experience, and without it, you risk losing out on the maximization of sales.
In this guide, I’ll go through the practical steps for getting a layer of personalization up and running on your e-commerce site. This method will take somewhere between a few hours and a few weeks, depending on how you want to implement it, and it will cost anywhere from between $204 per year and $20k, entirely based on how much work you do yourself versus outsource.
Before we begin, let’s lay the groundwork for what we’re talking about when we say e-commerce personalization.
Definition of e-commerce personalization: The ability to offer the right product at the right time to the right person.
- 80% of buyers are more likely to purchase a product from a personalized experience (Epsilon)
- 37.6% of people who engage with a personalized e-commerce quiz will become email subscribes (Interact)
Now that we’ve defined what we’re talking about and what the results are, let’s go through the process of creating a personalized product experience.
Note: This is an entry-level guide, meaning that anyone can do it without code or website changes. However, there are some limitations functionality-wise. The main goal is to recommend products and collect email subscribers, and those two things will happen if you follow this approach.
Step 1: Define who your products serve or group your audience into batches.
The starting place for creating personalization is to define your products based on people’s preferences. You—the product creator—can dig into your memory for this information; or, if you’re not the product creator, you can interview customers.
The power of personalization really comes into play when you speak directly to your customer and give reasons why your recommendations match what they need. For a more detailed guide, check out our post on creating customer personas.
The short version? Give compelling reasons why the recommendation(s) you’re making are relevant to the person who is being given them.
Showing one product:
The simplest version of personalization is recommending one product. In the example below, from Henry’s House of Coffee’s Matchmaker Quiz, they recommend the best type of coffee for the quiz-taker, based on their taste.
This works well for single-use products like coffee, tea, deodorant, face wash, etc. If you want to eliminate all possibility of decision fatigue and make your recommendation experience super straightforward, choose this option.
Showing several products
If you want to recommend a ranking of top products based on someone’s profile, you can do that as well. Henry’s House of Coffee also does this with their quiz, so they benefit from both options. They give people a few options to choose from, which works well if you want to be a little more nuanced with how you show your recommendations.
Showing a group of products
The broadest product recommendations come from grouping products into routines or packages. This method works especially well for categories like skin care, supplements, and cosmetics, where you need a whole regimen and not just a single product.
Here’s an example of how to implement a routine or grouping of products for your recommendations. (Barefaced Skin Quiz)
Step 2: Create questions matching up to your recommendations
Once your recommendations are defined, it’s time to build your matchmaking process. This happens by asking people questions about themselves so you can make relevant suggestions.
The beauty of this setup is that if your visitors consent to share their answers, it is a built-in way of collecting zero-party data (information that people willingly and actively share with you).
To set up your questions, we recommend creating a matrix, where you put out all of your recommendations (the products or groups of products), then begin writing questions that help you sort out which recommendation to give people.
To assist, we’ve created a list of the 50 most popular questions to ask when creating personalized experiences.
Let’s look at a couple of examples from Barefaced and Henry’s House of Coffee. For the skin quiz, Barefaced asks quiz-takers about their biggest skin concern, which is hyper-relevant and helps determine what type of skin routine each person might need.
Henry’s House of Coffee asks where quiz-takers are in their coffee journey, which helps them to determine which beans to recommend, as they probably wouldn’t want to offer up a super-specialized type of coffee bean to someone who is just getting started.
The question-asking process is a goldmine for learning about your customers because you can ask demographic questions, psychographic questions, learn about people’s interests, and more. It is an open book of possibility. When creating a personalized e-commerce experience with Interact, we recommend limiting your questions to 10 or fewer, so people don’t get fatigued by the process.
The good news is that, on average, 55.5% of people who start an e-commerce quiz will finish answering all of the questions.
Step 3: Give a reason for opting in to your email list
According to data from Privy, email subscribers for e-commerce are worth somewhere between $11 and $22. That’s huge money, especially when considering how easy it is for someone to opt-in through your personalized experience.
The below opt-in form from QED Skincare is a good example because they set up a nicely personalized reason for users to opt in. For more advice on formatting a personalized opt-in form, check out our article on opt-in forms that convert at 50%.
Step 4: Implement your e-commerce personalization experience onto your website
People really love taking quizzes. Some of the more popular websites over the last 20 years have been quiz websites; nowadays, it’s much easier to promote your personalized experience on your website.
Barefaced does it by putting a button front and center on their homepage, as well as adding a link in the main navigation.
Henry’s House of Coffee does it by putting a link in the navigation and then asking people “Can’t Decide?” which links to their personalization experience.
Conclusion: all the benefits without the cost
E-commerce personalization starts at the price of free. You can make an account with Interact and build out your first experience without having to pay anything. Then you can upgrade for more advanced features.
It is also possible to simply implement some of what we talked about today on your website without using a software solution like Interact. All you have to do is begin asking people their preferences and then show them products based on what they’re looking for. As you build out your experience, you can make it more advanced and complex, but it’s always best to start with something simple and work your way up.