Power up your e-commerce success through personalization

Power up your e-commerce success through personalization

We all know that shoppers are shifting to online channels and many brands are experiencing strong growth in e-commerce sales. However, market analysis has shown that major traditional brands are actually lagging in e-commerce1. Online penetration is often lagging offline penetration, insurgent brands2 are gaining significant share, and online sales are cannibalizing rather than adding offline sales.

Traditional  brands need to ‘power up’ their existing growth to maintain market share , and must not succumb to ‘the illusion of success’ 1.

The weaknesses of traditional brands in the e-commerce space include:

  1. Lack of a clear picture of their true competitive position online
  2. Siloed or outsourced e-commerce strategy and execution
  3. Inability to make the quick pivots required in e-commerce marketing

Towards personalized experiences

At MetrixLab we set out to understand how brands can succeed in e-commerce. We spoke to many experts in the field, and reviewed industry and consumer trends. This analysis revealed that to view e-commerce as just another distribution channel is too narrow a perspective. Traditional mass marketing on both the media side (e.g TV) and in distribution (e.g. hypermarkets) leads to broadly acceptable – but not unique – experiences. The consumers’ unique preferences are not known, nor is it possible to target them individually. E-commerce however represents a fundamental change in marketing from the traditional mass market paradigm to offering personalized experiences.

Driven by technology and media evolution  

E-commerce enables personalization throughout the path to purchase. Digital media platforms provide the ability to customize advertising and content. When this connects to tailored purchase experiences and assets on e-commerce platforms, the consumer can experience a seamless and completely personalized purchase journey.

Personalized experiences

Illustrated personalized path to purchase due to e-commerce

You can’t look at media and the customer shopping experience independently, particularly in an e-commerce environment. They’re completely intertwined.”

Seth Dallaire, Former head Amazon Advertising , CRO Instacart

Driven by consumers needs

Consumers are looking for personalized experiences as they are exposed to overwhelming messaging clutter – on average each person sees or hears over 5,000 marketing messages a day3.  80% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that are able to personalize experiences4. Consumers are also increasingly skeptical of brands5, and so brands need to strive for authenticity. This trend is driving influencer marketing and branded content which are less intrusive and can more credibly communicate a brand’s purpose.

The e-commerce flywheel

Brands experience a flywheel effect on e-commerce due to the interplay of algorithms and consumer behavior. The flywheel effect are positive or negative feedback loops which can quickly build momentum and lead to success or failure. For example, irrelevant  or misleading content drives customer dissatisfaction and poor reviews, which in turn causes products to lose their ranking on search algorithms. Conversely, effective content generates higher conversion rates, more satisfied customers, and better reviews – and therefore superior search rankings. The flywheel effect means that brand sales can become volatile and therefore e-commerce management requires an agile and flexible approach. Today brands often offer content that is either too complex, or take an approach that is too transactional. This either undermines the brand’s marketing effectiveness, or leads to a promotional “race to the bottom” resulting in weaker ROI.

 

Relevant content to increase sales

The eShop solution from MetrixLab

Based on our exploration and stakeholder feedback, MetrixLab developed the eShop solution to help manufacturers optimize key on-platform e-commerce assets:

 Image: e-storefront example

Image: e-storefront example

1. E-storefronts
E-storefronts are essential assets for brands – they provide better content possibilities, and better tracking and targeting to build personal relationships with customers.

2. Hero images
The hero image is a key asset in a search engine’s results page. In our experience, an optimized product hero image can typically increase sales by 10% to 30%.  It helps in sales conversion by standing out against competitors and increasing mental availability. Read more about hero images here.

3. Product landing pages
Product landing pages are the final step in conversion. They consist of product titles and product descriptions and A+ content. Product titles and product descriptions need to be optimized for both consumer relevance and search behavior. A+ content features high quality images and multimedia which can better convey the value of the product and the brand purpose. Optimized  A+ content can drive sales by between 3% and 10% 6.

The eShop solution methodology

eShop utilizes cutting-edge passive measurement tools – mouse heat maps, scroll maps and click maps to observe consumers’ natural behavior on the assets being tested. Next, respondents answer questions on key KPIs and diagnostics. The resulting rich data is analyzed between different persona subgroups to provide direction on personalization. Actionability is delivered at both a strategic level (e.g. strategy for different shopper personas), as well as on a granular, more tactical level (e.g. optimizing elements on the webpage).

Validation case study

Our validation case study proved the value of personalization analysis. A variety of persona groups interacted with the e-commerce assets in the different ways consistent with their personas. For instance, we noticed that the target persona that placed a premium on brand value was less exploratory on the site, instead paying attention to the branding and emotion-led applications.

Conversely, a secondary functional persona segment was more engaged in product-specific technical information. This led to recommendations on how to customize the site by persona.  Additionally we also observed that customers occasionally clicked images which were not interactive, indicating an opportunity for increasing interactive elements.

Conclusion

Brands can power up their e-commerce success with key strategic actions:

  1. Get a clear understanding of their performance online in relation to category and competition
  2. Coordinate offline and online strategies in a seamless omnichannel strategy
  3. Change organizational structure to compete in the space e.g. moving e-commerce marketing in-house, shifting control of e-commerce marketing budgets and content from brand teams to shopper-led e-commerce teams1
  4. Formulate an actionable targeted persona-based strategy. Target personas should be based on deep motivations which drive purchase behavior and are targetable online
  5. Optimize content to target consumers. Avoiding complexity and overly transactional content, and identify creative ways to interact with the customer.

E-commerce is the future of retail – brands need to evolve  their strategy and tactics to remain relevant as the big shift to online channels continues. We are  ready to help  in this evolution as you work towards a successful e-commerce journey.

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