Ecommerce personalization boosts customer satisfaction.
Len Smofsky May 15 ,2019

Remember this old proverb: “You can bring a horse to water but can’t make him drink?” What if the reason the horse wouldn’t drink was that he didn’t want water in the first place?

Brands commonly assume that their audiences want the same thing and as a result, offer a homogeneous experience..

But this “shotgun” strategy fails brands because consumers now demand experiences that suit their unique needs and goals.

This is where personalization comes in to play with eCommerce.

A beautifully designed online shopping experience does not guarantee that a visitor will click “buy” or “subscribe”. How well you cater to their individual needs is what will truly build rapport with your audience.


You can create a personalized shopping experience for your customers using a few techniques that don’t require a massive overhaul to your site.

The key to making this possible is by means of proper audience segmentation and customer experience design.


Audience segmention is the act of identifying different groups of people within your audience. Even though you may have a core target audience (ie. young adults 18-34, seniors 65+), there will still be subgroups within this larger group that act differently from one another.

For you optimize your store for all of your customers, you will need to understand the differences among these subgroups. This is where audience segmentation comes in and there are three elements that it entails: context, behaviour, and history.

  • Context – Context allows you to segment consumers using specific, real-time digital attributes.
  • Type of device – Are they browsing your store on a phone, tablet or laptop?
  • Time of day – Are your customers early birds or night owls? Somewhere in between?
  • Time and location – Where are your customers geographically located?
  • Referral source – Are your customers finding you through a search engine or social account? Or are they clicking on links sent to them through email?
  • Behaviour – Customer behaviour, for the most part, is highly variable. However, patterns do emerge and by monitoring your store performance, you’ll notice certain behavioural trends amongst your audience. Look for:
  • Frequently/Recently viewed products and categories
  • Items left in abandoned carts
  • Top/Least selling items
  • History – eCommerce personalization often begins here. Typically by means of algorithms, a company will create a personalized shopping experience based on past behaviour exhibited by a customer. After all, as the saying goes, “history repeats itself”.
  • Past purchases – What items did your customer buy most recently (and most often). This gives you clues as to what they prefer and will likely buy next.
  • Loyalty program details – Is your customer a member of a loyalty program? If so, how have they racked up points and rewards? How are they using those points and rewards?
  • Past interactions – Does your customer open your emails? Are they interacting with you via chat? These patterns can demonstrate their level of engagement.

By considering these data points, you can separate customers into distinct categories. From there, you can start brainstorming how, when and what you will send to customers based on the groups to which they belong (more on this later).


Making ecommerce personalization successful is also a function of providing a great customer experience. This is the most important aspect of personalized shopping, but it is challenging to offer.

One way to get started is to analyze what your competitors are/are not doing. You can use other online stores as a means of inspiration or to determine how you will differentiate yourself. You can approach this step more methodically by taking a look at case studies of online stores that have successfully implemented personalized shopping experiences.

Ultimately, you will need to follow the three T’s – test, test, test. Only through rigorous testing – split testing being one of the most effective methods – and regular iteration will you create a personalized store experience that customers enjoy.

That brings us to our next point.


To track the performance of a personalized shopping online experience, there are certain metrics/KPIs you need to monitor. By keeping track of these indicators, you will uncover insights as to what needs improvement or what you should continue doing to maintain your site’s momentum. Knowing which metrics to choose from can be tricky, but there are a few key numbers to examine.


  • Average number of page views – Although “the more, the better” is not necessarily true here, a higher number of page views is desirable.
  • Add-to-cart rate – Again, conversions (customers completing purchase transactions) are ideal, but a higher add-to-cart rate suggests a positive customer experience.
  • Cart abandonment rate – Ideally, you want this to be as low as possible.
  • Revenue per session – Of course, the more revenue you can earn per session, the more profitable your store and brand.
  • Total time on site – How long do your customers spend on your pages? More time spent on a site is a sign of an engaging personalized shopping experience.

By observing these metrics, you will effectively monitor the performance of your store pages, and iterate where necessary to continuously improve your site.


If you’re looking to create a personalized shopping experience, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel – here are several jumping-off points:


One of the simplest methods to personalize a shopping experience is to factor in your customers’ geographic location. For example, you can follow what many ecommerce giants do by directing customers to a page that’s dedicated to the country or city where they live.

Of course, you can go further. Geo-targeting can incorporate products and services based on local conditions such as weather/climate. With these kinds of personalized shopping experiences, you can create ad campaigns and content that address the needs of customers unique to their specific location.


You’re no doubt familiar with brands that display product suggestions based on what you’ve previously purchased.

This is not exclusive to any ecommerce giant. It’s a simple yet effective way to guide customers along a buyer journey that’s unique to them, removing the clutter of products that may otherwise distract from making a purchase.

Keep in mind that these product suggestions require algorithmic functionality, and that means you will need the right expertise to give your store this capability.


You can also implement what are known as intelligent product-detail pages. They’re a step down from browser-based suggestions, but are nonetheless helpful because they make on-the-fly suggestions based on what customers are about to buy.

For example, if someone has added a tablet to their shopping cart, they might see headphones or a portable charging unit as a complementary product suggestion. This strategy does not offer quite as personalized an experience, but can be enticing just before the checkout stage because customers may see the value in buying such items together, especially if there’s some kind of add-on discount.


The continuous shopping experience may have been championed by Netflix. The “continue watching” feature (which allows viewers to pick up where they left off searching for videos) can work in an ecommerce setting.

Let’s say a customer is browsing for athleisure gear. They may have been scrolling through pages of yoga pants and leggings, but had to cut their session short. Rather than returning to the home screen, they can start off with the pages they visited last.

This is a great feature because it offers convenience – customers don’t have to remember and search for last session’s item as it appears right in front of them.


Finally, and our favourite of the bunch, personalized offers. A personalized offer can take on just about any format, although typically, they appear as email coupons or newsletters. The email inbox is a highly personalized space, so naturally, it makes sense to send personalized communications through email.

Personalized videos are gaining serious traction for this purpose. Personalized videos are great in this regard because they combine visuals (which customers process faster) with messaging that suits their specific goals and concerns – no one else’s.


There are plenty of tools available to ecommerce marketers and store owners to help them increase their sales and retain their customers. But it’s important to remember that your customers are very intent on the items they’re looking for.

In these times, online shoppers are looking to find their desired purchase in as little time as possible with the least amount of effort. Providing them with a personalized shopping experience allows them to purchase the items they seek conveniently, and more importantly, gives them a reason to keep coming back.

If you want to learn more about how our IndiVideo platform can take your video marketing and ecommerce experience to the next level, click here.

About the author: Len Smofsky

Len Smofsky

Len has over 25 years of experience in visual communications and strategy. Over the last decade his focus has been primarily in the digital area.

Specializing in corporate communications, Len founded one of Canada’s most successful production companies. His company created leading edge video production, TV commercials, digital strategy and media.

In 2006, Len and Larry formed a partnership to create a new BlueRush with the intent of creating personalized customer experiences using a unique blend of digital media and deep technology capabilities. BlueRush works with clients in the financial services, healthcare and packaged goods industries leveraging current digital technologies and services, creating great user experiences at all points in the customer journey.


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