Ecommerce Personalization Strategies (to try today!)

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

Executive Summary

As digital retail and e-commerce continue to gain momentum following the macro shifts caused by pandemic trends, brands focused on improving their shopping experience will likely end up victorious and gain market share greater than their peers.  

Perhaps no aspect is more critical in gaining this competitive advantage than the personalization of the customer experience.   

Personalization, within an e-commerce context, can be defined as the delivery of content, offers, communications and an overall tailored presentation to the desires and shown behaviors of the shopper.  

When done right, e-commerce personalization will drive the effectiveness of an e-commerce business dramatically:  increasing conversion, repeat purchase rates, and overall loyalty – delivering incremental profits as these core metrics improve.  

Consider the following stats:

  • Personalization is a priority at 95% of organizations, but only 9% consider it “in their DNA” (source Dynamic Yield)
  • 63% of digital marketing leaders struggle with personalization (source: Gartner)
  • 90% of organizations attribute personalization as a source of increased profitability (Source: Google & Econsultancy)

The concepts outlined will help your business understand how to provide the dynamic experiences that shoppers react to positively as we have outlined core “scenarios” that your business must plan for in your ecommerce personalization strategy.  

These scenarios represent an opportunity to deliver targeted experiences to specific use cases, hence improving the conversion within that overall customer segment. 

Take account of what we have outlined in the playbook and assess how your business is leveraging these strategies.  If you are not executing them, give them a try!

As always, please contact Trinity to schedule a complimentary assessment of your current personalization technology systems and efforts.  

Let’s get started with the ecommerce personalization strategies to take your online experience to the next level.

Opt-in/Initial Sign Up on new visitors

Within ecommerce websites, almost always the majority of traffic comes from new visitors who have never seen your brand and who have come across your business due to an organic search listing or perhaps a marketing campaign that targeted a specific non-brand keyword.

Most websites do not speak to this “new” segment any differently than they do for any other traffic segment and miss a key opportunity to distinguish themselves and spur initial action with a “secondary” conversion.    

A secondary conversion is that of an email capture within the website, that enables the business to deliver email cadences to the shopper, as well as trigger standard automations (ex. Browse abandonment emails) to help re-engage and convert.  

An example of a new visitor modal to gain an initial opt-in on first session

When a new user comes to the website, your system needs to identify the user as “new” and deliver a template modification that includes some sort of discount offer or special promotion to persuade the user to sign up for the email list of the business.  These promotional banners can be effective when utilizing welcome messaging as well as promoting the history and core value proposition of the brand.  

For new visitors, also consider creating an updated version of the homepage, centered around information, testimonials and social proof to break down any hesitation or shopping barriers that are centered around credibility.

1st Purchase Pending

After your new visitor personalization treatments have been launched, the next step is to now convert them into a customer.  

At this stage your welcome series has already started via email, but the goal is to get the shopper to make that initial purchase so your brand can start the relationship.  

The core personalization strategy to embrace here is to offer unique promotions and discounts that are centered around first time customer clickstream data (i.e. what they viewed).   Similar to how cable companies offer initial discounts to get customers to sign up for their services, you want to embrace the same philosophy within your online messaging at this stage.  

A personalized module leveraging the name of the shopper at Birchbox on second session

The key question to ask is what type of incentives can your business offer to spur this initial purchase?  How can these incentives be conveyed within your repeat sessions who have not purchased?  

The answer is different for each and every business but by testing alternative approaches you can start improving the effectiveness of your repeat non customer traffic and get them to activate to becoming a customer.

Pre Loyalty Member

After you gain a customer, what’s the logical next step to gain long term purchasing?  

Without question, it is getting them to take part in your loyalty program and the benefits that are involved with it.  

Within your system, you need to have parameters for “members” and “non members” within your data lake/layer. 

As someone signs in, or if they are recognized from a cookied visit to the site from previously, the front end presentation will either tailor messaging to the benefits of joining the program, or if already a member – deliver a prompt to log in or special events that are happening for members.

An example of a loyalty module for pre-members

The key is to transition as many non-members to members as possible while concurrently not wasting space in non relevant promotional messaging within primary site areas.

You May Also Like

A staple of ecommerce personalization is the “You may also like” presentation.  Within this tactic, you would embed a module that uses algorithmic merchandising rules to recommend products.  

These types of solutions are commonplace for all of the major ecommerce platforms and scale in costs as your business grows.  These tools range from introductory to highly complex and customizable.

Pick up where you left off

The golden rule in web usability is to always remember how distracted shoppers can get and to design with that in mind.  

It’s our job as marketers to make it as easy as possible to quickly go back to a shopping session or product that was up for consideration.

A great way to get shoppers back to what they were looking for is by using “Pick up where you left off” functionality that can provide a jump point to the user to go back the product, complete with a visual cue.  

An example of “where you left off” functionality

Users also viewed

The “Users also Viewed” functionality helps in ecommerce personalization by providing suggestions to users based on the past product viewing behavior of other users who viewed similar products.

This allows for a more personalized shopping experience, as users are more likely to see items that they are interested in.  Additionally, this feature can help to increase sales and conversion rates, as it encourages users to explore new products that they may not have considered otherwise.

An example in the auto category of “users also viewed” personalization capabilities

Geographic Personalization

Geo targeting can be a very effective tool for ecommerce personalization, as it allows you to target content and offers to users based on their location. This can be useful for a number of reasons, such as targeting special offers to users in specific geographic areas, or providing localized content that is relevant to users in different parts of the world. 

Using geo targeting within your merchandising could include  personalizing the user experience with location-based product recommendations, localized content, special offers, and more.

An example of geo targeted state messaging to reinforce shipping proposition

There are a few different ways that you can go about using geo targeting for your ecommerce personalization efforts. One option is to use IP address lookup to identify the geographic location of your users. This can be done using a number of different tools and services, such as Maxmind or 

Once you have identified the geographic location of your users, you can then begin to target content and offers accordingly. 

Download & App Usage

Does your business have an app?  If so, you likely already know that having your customers use your app in conjunction with your webstore increases customer lifetime value dramatically.

Personalization can help you get more downloads of the app and boost interactions, in the same way that personalization can enable a greater growth rate of loyalty memberships.

An example of a dynamic offer to subscribers who are not signed up for text messaging

The strategy is the same.  Create “flags” in your system to classify your visitors as shoppers who have  or have not downloaded the app.  Tailor messaging and creatives to suggest the app benefits for non app members within recognized sessions (cookie or logged in). 

Also you can tackle this concurrently from your email system by creating automated messages to remind users to use the app after not logging in a long time with updated highlights.

Dynamic Promotions

Dynamic promotions are a key tool that ecommerce businesses use to personalize the shopper experience and drive conversions.

By automatically displaying relevant, targeted promotions to shoppers based on their behaviors and preferences, businesses can encourage higher levels of engagement and order value. 

Additionally, dynamic promotions can be used to cross-sell and upsell products, as well as to drive loyalty and repeat purchase behavior.

An example of dynamic product injection within the e commerce presentation

An example of dynamic promotions in action could include: 

  • A shopper is browsing for women’s shoes on your website. Based on her behavior, she is served a dynamic promotion for 20% off her next purchase of women’s shoes.
  • A shopper adds a specific product to his cart. He is then served a dynamic promotion for 10% off his entire purchase if he buys the product in the next 24 hours.
  • A shopper has made multiple purchases from your website. He/she is served a dynamic promotion for free shipping on his next order as a thank you.

Tell a Friend

Tell a friend is a type of ecommerce personalization that allows customers to share products or services with their friends and family. This can be done through email, social media, or even in person with QR codes. 

For customers who have recently purchased and who left a review, reach out to them with an offer to share with a friend for some sort of reward (ex. $5.00 off next order).

Referral messaging from Casper delivered to customers to spur “tell a friend” actions

Catalog Request

Does your brand publish a catalog? If so, be sure to be proactive to non catalog list members by overlaying messaging on the site to get shoppers to sign up for the catalog.  

Again, this strategy is similar to what we outlined with loyalty and app classifications within your system and tailoring messaging that is global within your site templates towards the goal of getting a catalog opt in.

Clearance Activity

Everybody likes a great deal, but clearance shoppers REALLY like a good deal and they will show a greater propensity to buy at your store when you serve deals up to them frequently.  

A strategy here is to create rulesets within your commerce system that identify users who show this type of behavior.

An example of a prominent path to a clearance sale for a shopper who shows that activity

For example, shoppers who have viewed 8-10 products within the clearance section or have sorted from low to high price 3 or more times in a given session.  These are great cues and triggers to test against when it comes to delivering an experience that is geared towards discount hunters.

Once you identify a shopper with these types of discount centric behaviors, show them promotions on the website that speak to offers and discounts specifically, and how they can gain benefits for this type of reduced pricing with signing up for your loyalty program.


There are a few things you can do to personalize your ecommerce store for your VIP customers. First, you can create a separate VIP section on your website where only registered VIPs can access exclusive deals and products. 

You can also offer personalized discounts and coupons to your VIP customers to show them how much you appreciate their business. 

Finally, you can send out regular newsletters or email updates to keep your VIP customers informed about new products, sales, and other special offers. By taking these steps, you’ll be sure to show your VIP customers that they’re always valued and appreciated.

Take the next step in your personalization journey

These are just a few of the ways that your website can embrace personalization in order to deliver more rewarding experiences for your customers and higher conversion rates for your business.  

We encourage you to test all of these scenarios within your customer experience and measure the impact that it brings to your website KPI’s and ultimately your bottom line.

If you are looking for a deeper perspective into personalization within your business, please contact us for a no cost review of your site experience complete with recommendations.  You can learn more and sign up here.

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