To capitalize on the current ecommerce boom, your store must stand out from the competition with a truly personalized shopping experience.

James Bathgate, vice president of implementations at Searchspring

Ecommerce has seen explosive growth in 2020, with an estimated 10 years of expansion occurring over just 90 days of this year. Some consumers are venturing online for the first time, while seasoned ecommerce shoppers are buying an even wider variety of products from the comfort of their homes.

As a retailer, it’s tempting to sit back and wait for this spike to make its way to your store, but you won’t be the only one vying for the increased business.

Today’s shoppers are savvy and they’re accustomed to intuitive online experiences. They’re also impatient and easily distracted—you’re competing with endless potential interruptions at their fingertips. To capitalize on the current ecommerce boom, your store must stand out from the competition with a truly personalized shopping experience.

Personalize the experience from the moment they engage

Many retailers think of ecommerce personalization as a costly, complicated endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be that way. From the moment a shopper arrives at your store, you can begin personalizing their experience with a few simple touches. If a brand-new visitor lands on your site via a Google ad, for example, it’s safe to welcome that visitor with messaging and imagery that highlights your most popular products. You might even offer a discount on their first purchase. If a repeat customer visits your store in response to a promotional email, the store should greet that customer with a curated landing page featuring the specific products that piqued their interest.

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Capture shopper intent 

Even if you have a wealth of data on an individual shopper, it doesn’t mean you can always predict what that shopper will buy next. This is especially true over the holiday season when many customers purchase gifts for loved ones who have entirely different preferences and interests. Don’t limit your personalization strategy based on previous shopping patterns. You should equip your site to adapt to a shopper’s browsing behavior during an individual session. As they interact with your store, the recommendations they encounter should become more and more relevant to their current shopping objective. We like to think of this as capturing intent in the moment.

Cross and upsell complementary products

With the right recommendation solution, you can make intelligent suggestions that reflect a shopper’s browsing patterns or the page they’re currently viewing. On the product detail page, it’s always a good idea to display other similar items, so customers don’t have to return to the category page to find more of the same results. Cross-selling additional complementary products or upselling similar items at a higher price point can also be a lucrative tactic during the holiday season. Make gift shopping easier for the customer and increase average order value as you improve product exposure.

Don’t limit recommendations to product pages

Strategically placed recommendations are a great way to retain shoppers at those crucial moments when they might otherwise bounce. Include recommendations on your no results found page to keep visitors engaged and minimize frustration. This could be as simple as highlighting your best sellers or most popular categories to get them back on the right track. Prompting last-minute additions to the cart by making targeted suggestions at checkout is another popular strategy—make sure these recommendations are helpful and contextual to the shopper’s journey to avoid disrupting a conversion.

Shoppers expect personalized experiences—now more than ever

One of the key reasons—if not the reason—that people are shopping online more than ever is convenience. Only offering home delivery isn’t enough. Everything about your shopping experience should be effortless. By offering a personalized journey that seamlessly guides shoppers to the right product at the right time, retailers can stand out from the competition this holiday season.

Searchspring offers a site search and merchandising platform for online retailers.

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