8 Ways to Grow E-Commerce Loyalty with Personalized Experiences

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Ideas and Strategies for Real-Time Personalization
8 Ways to Grow E-Commerce Loyalty with Personalized Experiences

May 18, 2017 by

When it comes to e-commerce loyalty, there are two types: the type that brings a one-time buyer back to make a second and third purchase, and the type that drives a person to become a regular shopper over the long term. Creating personalized experiences across channels that are relevant at the individual level can help you develop both types of e-commerce loyalty. In this post, I’ll describe a few personalization ideas to get you started.

Drive Incremental Purchases

To drive incremental purchases, you need to focus on specific tactics to turn a one-time shopper into a second- and third-time shopper. Personalization can help you incentivize that one-time shopper to return to your site and re-capture his attention with relevant content.

1. Upsell/Cross-Sells in Order Confirmation Emails

Your efforts to drive a second purchase can start as soon as the first purchase is made. One way to accomplish this is to send additional product recommendations in your order confirmation emails. Much like you can display “complete the look” recommendations on your PDPs to encourage shoppers to purchase items that pair with an item they are viewing on your site, you can recommend products that complement the products a shopper has already purchased directly in your confirmation emails. Some retailers even offer a limited-time offer after a purchase, such as free shipping, if the shopper purchases again within 15 days of the first purchase.

This is a great way to pair items together post-purchase to encourage a shopper to return.

2. Re-Engagement Personalized Emails

Promotional emails are an obvious tactic for bringing a shopper back to the site for another purchase. But it’s important that these emails contain personalized content that is relevant for each individual — taking into consideration each person’s preferences and past behavior on your site — to grab their attention and stand out in their crowded inboxes.

Email relevance means that the content is appropriate for each person, but it also means that the content is relevant to each person the moment the email is opened, not just when it is sent. A lot can change from when you send the email to when your recipient opens it, and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to be relevant to encourage a return to your site. To learn more about relevant open-time emails, view this blog post.

3. Landing Page Focus

You probably already leverage re-targeting across the internet to bring previous visitors back to your site. These ads typically bring a visitor to a specific product listing. Alternatively, you could test bringing visitors to your homepage or a category page instead, leveraging personalization to feature not just the product in the ad, but also relevant recommendations for other products, content, categories, etc. This can help you guide the visitor to something that may interest him, and keep his attention longer than the one product page can.

4. Shopping Companion

Once a one-time buyer has returned to your site, you need to engage her. One way to do this is to provide shoppers with easy access to products they have engaged with in the past. For example, you can show visitors a tab that reminds them of the products they have viewed and/or purchased before — sorted by engagement level. With this approach, a one-time buyer can quickly find items that she had previously shown interest in and may want to consider again on this visit.

For more details on how Shoeline.com implemented a shopping companion tab on its site, check out this blog post.

shopper intent
5. Add-to-Cart Reminder Message or Email

An add-to-cart reminder at the right time can help encourage a one-time buyer to take the next step to complete a second purchase. This can take the shape of a pop-up highlighting a product he was particularly engaged with during his session as he attempts to leave the site, an inline message encouraging him to purchase now, or even a follow-up email if he leaves the site. The key here is to time the message appropriately and ensure it is relevant to each individual, as it will feel tone-deaf if you encourage him to purchase something he didn’t care about.

For example, this message below shows Rue La La encouraging a shopper to purchase a shoe she was highly engaged with in her current session.

internal retargeting

6. Promote Loyalty Program at the Right Time

Of course, no article about e-commerce loyalty would be complete without a mention of a loyalty program. The trick is to promote the program at the right time to encourage a shopper to join.

The best time to promote your loyalty program is probably not the first time a visitor lands on your site (although, of course, you could test that to be sure). Providing incentives to a first-time buyer as she checks out may be better timing. Or, if she has already purchased once and is on your site for a second time, you could highlight the benefits she could receive by continuing to shop.

For more information on how to time your loyalty program promotions appropriately, check out this blog post.

Grow Lifetime Value Over Time

The tactics I’ve already described have been just that — tactics. They can help you drive a one-time buyer to complete a second and third purchase, but they won’t be sufficient for growing loyalty over the long term for all your shoppers. Developing long-term loyal shoppers requires a more strategic approach, one that prioritizes the customer experience and differentiates your brand from all others.

7. Unique and Individualized Experiences

To encourage long-term loyalty, put personalization at the center of your shopping experience to show your shoppers that you know them. Focus on delivering a great experience that will encourage shoppers to return again and again.

To start, think about how you can help your shoppers accomplish their goals on your site. Maybe you can provide personalized product, brand, and category recommendations across your site, personalized search results, personalized navigation, and much more. When your entire site provides a personalized experience, you are more likely to inspire loyalty among your shoppers.

For more inspiration about what a unique and engaging experience can look like and how to get to know each of your shoppers at the individual level, check out this blog post.

8. Brand-Based Messaging

Another way to inspire loyalty is through educating your shoppers on how your brand is different. The idea is to encourage your shoppers to identify with your brand and your message, which will continue to bring them back to your site.

This can be done in many ways. You may want to display specific messages to first-time visitors to educate them on your brand. You may want to recommend blog posts or other content that educate visitors on your specific differentiators. It all depends on your business and the message you want to share.  

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, a blend of short-term tactics to drive incremental purchases and long-term strategies to grow e-commerce loyalty are needed for any online retailer. The tactics and strategies I’ve described are a good start, but there are plenty of other ways to drive loyalty with personalization. Take a few minutes to brainstorm, and I’m sure you could easily come up with a few ideas that you want to test on your site.

To learn more about how Evergage can help your company use real-time personalization to grow loyalty, request a demo today.  

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