HOW TO CREATE PERSONALISED E-COMMERCE EXPERIENCES ON A BUDGET

Dave Corlett
21 June 2018

Online retailers – particularly those in fashion and beauty – aren’t doing enough to tailor their experiences to the needs of individual customers. And it’s hitting their conversion rates hard.

That’s according to a recent report on global online shopper behaviour from Episerver.

In its somewhat damning indictment, it concluded that:

“…retailers are failing to capitalize on opportunities to drive conversions, specifically when it comes to personalization.”

Ouch.

The titans of online fashion and beauty have no excuse. Their financial and technological clout means they should be way ahead of the curve when it comes to personalisation.

But for smaller retailers or brands, it can be difficult to commit the necessary spend and resource to it. And anyway, where do you begin?

One potential starting point is what we’ve come to refer to as a diagnostic tool.

Hosted either within a main website, a dedicated microsite or even a brand’s Facebook page, it’s essentially a short quiz which asks users a series of questions and uses an algorithm to recommend products based on their answers.

These tools don’t cost the earth, and can be quickly and easily implemented. And although they don’t incorporate any kind of AI or machine learning (yet), the clients we’ve built them for have used them to gain hugely valuable insights into their customers.

As well as increase product sales, of course.

Here are a few examples:

THIS WORKS

Hosted on the skincare brand’s website, this tool asks users questions about their lifestyle, their skin and their sleeping habits.

this works skincare campaign

It then recommends the most appropriate products for use at different times of the day and night, with links to purchase direct from the site.

SOAP & GLORY

This experience is actually embedded into the brand’s Facebook page, within a page tab app.

Again, it asks about lifestyle and skin type, and serves up personalised recommendations available to purchase direct from Boots.com.

soap and glory skincare campaign for facebook

Originally intended to be a temporary activation, its success means it’s still live (with ongoing tweaks, obviously!) over four years later.

BIORÉ

Launched in April this year, this experience – hosted on a dedicated microsite – starts by determining whether users’ skin is best suited to the brand’s charcoal or baking soda ranges.

skincare campaign for biore

Once the result is explained to the user, it goes on to find out more information before recommending specific products from that range, along with information on how and when to use them for the best long-term results.

…AND BEYOND SKINCARE?

It’s not just skincare brands that can benefit. Our team have just launched a ‘fragrance finder’ tool for Soap & Glory that works in a similar way.

In fact, the tactic can – in theory – work for more or less any online retailer.

Glossy’s dissection of the Episerver report warns that:

“…retailers need to gain an edge using the resources at their disposal, namely by investing in personalization.”

For e-commerce businesses without a bottomless pit of money to commit to it, diagnostic tools are a highly effective option.

Why? Well, consumers are given a simple, straightforward way of navigating product ranges to find the best solution for their needs. And the retailer not only provides a better experience for their customers, but learns more about them in the process.

It’s a win-win situation.

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