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The Power of Personalization: 7 Tactics for Retail Website Engagement

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It happens to all of us in digital marketing, but nobody wants to admit it, so we’ll go first…

(Ugh.)  Okay, here it goes:

Running a paid traffic campaign where each website or landing page visit costs your company, say, $5.78 (or whatever) is a standard and rational best-practice tactic to drive visitors to your retail site.  Each paid visit is exciting – it validates all the work you put into planning, copywriting, and executing your campaign.  The trouble is, it can have a dark side.  Having a visitor click on your ad and then abandoning the page after maybe 11 seconds without taking any further action feels…not great.  The visit was bought and paid for fair and square, but it was a missed opportunity because no engagement happened.  

The Evolution of Retail Website Engagement

Engagement as a success metric has grown up and is finally ready to make its way in the business world.  For marketers, the soft and fluffy “likes” and “shares” of days gone by have been replaced by website engagement metrics that are ready and able to demonstrate some breadwinning power.  

Think back to when marketers first added social media to our collective tool belts. Engagement was a word that, if we’re honest, got somewhat frivolously thrown around as a success measurement.  Most organizations would agree that likes, shares, and follows were a terrific thing – “people are engaging with our brand!”  There was no weight of expectation thrust upon this bouncing baby metric in those early days, only a general sense of excitement about its very existence.  While it was all rather electrifying at the time, the problem was that it wasn’t clear how all this newfound engagement would make hay for the brand.

Thankfully, technology has answered the call for us.  It’s no longer a problem gathering metrics, especially for retail website engagement.  In fact, many of us now struggle to narrow the list of attribution metrics we measure our work by.  Today, what matters most to retail brands is building meaningful and lasting relationships with their customers.  Happy, loyal customers are at the core of revenue growth and success measurement metrics such as average revenue per user (ARPU.)  Sure enough, at the very heart of that loyalty and growth lies our old friend, engagement.

7 Website Engagement Tactics for Growing Revenue

We work with enterprise retail brands everyday. Throughout many client implementations and QBRs, we’ve compiled a list of seven points of engagement that will make a big difference to the success of your website personalization initiative: 

  1. Conversational Banner – Website banners remain a proven tool for driving engagement on websites of all types, especially retail.  Be sure to take maximum advantage of this opportunity by adding smart banners to your site, powered by conversational AI.  If you’ve been wondering how to integrate conversational marketing into your work, this is a powerful level up.

  2. Product Recommendation Engine – We give these guys a hard time when they show up alone, but they make for an excellent team player.  If our choice of metaphor isn’t clear, we’re saying that a recommendation engine driven by zero-party data and implemented as part of a suite of solutions (not as a standalone!) becomes a powerful tool for website personalization, making helpful suggestions at each vital step of the buyer’s journey. 

    Remember that effective personalization requires context.  Implemented on its own, a product recommendation engine can have the opposite of the intended effect.  As far as website engagement tools go, its reliance on past behavioural or third-party data for them to work means you run the risk of serving your visitors irrelevant or unavailable recommendations, potentially confusing the visitors and causing them to abandon the sale.
  1. Dynamic Conversational Landing Page – Landing pages without website personalization are only as good as their copywriting and their offer to the visitor.  If these factors don’t drive conversion, the opportunity is lost and likely erodes your ad spend return (ROAS).  Implementing conversational AI to your landing page experience triples your chance of converting each visitor on their first visit.

  2. “Right for You” Product Recommendation – Many retail sites offer such a comprehensive product selection that it can inadvertently cause a visitor to…leave the site.  It seems counterintuitive, right?  You’re offering everything the person could need product-wise, but they end up exiting the website due to the paradox of choice.  There are many studies published on this, and the data demonstrates that when their choices are narrowed for them, consumers are ten times more likely to buy.  With this in mind, you can easily understand how having a website personalization engine that uniquely marks products as “Right for You” for each visitor helps them purchase sooner and with a higher average cart value.

    Having said all that, make sure your tool is linked to your product catalog / inventory system, not just the users profile preferences.  Remember, the point of implementing all these points of personalization is to deliver a tailored and, above all, helpful user experience.  Recommending products that are out of stock is not helpful and introduces friction to the site visit.
  1. Bundle Builder – The “Find Your Routine” style of bundle-builder quiz is a compelling use case we’ve learned about from working with so many beauty brands, and it’s a well-tested play worth adapting to your own use case.  For example, a purchase such as a new shampoo is perfect fit for myriad upsell suggestions (think conditioner, heat protector, etc).  Forget for a second that this tactic is virtually guaranteed to grow your average transaction value and let’s imagine why that happens. Your bundle builder has provided the shopper with timely, relevant suggestions– a straightforward win-win for both of you.  In bundle builders, conversational AI and conversational marketing combine to give you the power to become your customer’s trusted advisor.

  2. Email Platform Integration with Zero-Party Data Integration – List segmentation is the main contributor to email continually maintaining its high rank as a vital marketing tactic. Make sure your website personalization suite is compatible with email automation platforms such as Klaviyo, and watch how zero-party data can take your segmentation (and thereby engagement and conversion to sales!) to the next level.

    It’s not just about the list segmentation though. The beauty of growing your email list through adjacent use of these website personalization tactics is that your brand is demonstrating to the visitor that you care about pairing them with the right solutions.  In doing so, you’re building trust and a pleasant side-effect of that is that your list will grow much faster than what you’re used to. The demonstration of caring builds up the visitors’ comfort with joining your email list because they now feel like they can trust your brand to only contact them with relevant information. This isn’t an opinion: we have done the homework!  Aggregate client data shows an average email opt-in rate in excess of 23% from people who have engaged with our virtual advisor tools vs. the 1-5% expected opt-in range for other users.
  1. Analytics – Dynamic Performance Dashboard – Nerd alert!  If it isn’t evident by now, your website personalization solutions should absolutely integrate with whatever your analytics tool of choice is; Google Analytics, for example. You already know that what gets measured gets managed, and you’re now going to have more things to measure than ever before.  Don’t panic, though – decide on 1-3 metrics that will help you most easily measure your directional success, keep an eye on those, and then keep growing your practice from there.

    Putting it Into Practice

    If all this feels like too big of a bite, please don’t get overwhelmed and abandon ship.  Implementing a website personalization strategy is the most powerful thing your brand can do to drive growth and longevity.  We understand that these steps vary highly in the level of effort to implement, so start with the most attainable one first and keep the rest in mind as being an aspirational, best-in-breed, future state.  

    If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, we’ve got it for you right here.  Check out this live client site – play around a little bit and see how website personalization not only removes traditional friction points in the buyer’s journey, it even serves to make the whole thing feel more…human.


    • Discover how Salesfloor is helping amika customers choose products and perfect hair care routines created just for them.

    Still have questions? If you need help implementing website engagement tools for your brand or want to talk further about any of the tactics in this article, connect with us. 

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