CEO and co-founder of Shogun.
Shopping is all about personal preference, so it’s no wonder ecommerce brands strive to show the products you’re browsing are just-for-you.
In physical retail, personalization is the equivalent of engraving your new iPhone or trying different skincare products based on your individual needs before purchasing in-store at Aesop. And in the digital space, this often involves custom web elements that provide a see-before-you-buy experience.
Often personalization can take the form of customizing parts of your website based on visitor data (think browsing behavior, purchase history, geography, or pages visited), or setting up your site to help visitors add their spin to a product like adventure footwear brand Chacos does with their customizable sandals and accessories:
By delivering an ecommerce website with even a few tailor-made components like this, you not only create a memorable shopping journey but you can reduce friction in the buying process and incorporate unique interests.
The kind of experience that personalization evokes for customers really helps with brand differentiation, can make your store feel exceptional, and can boost conversion rates.
In this post, I’ll unpack why personalized elements can be such a critical part of building your ecommerce site, and share examples of brands doing this well in the wild.
#cta-paragraph-fe#Looking for more ways to make your store exceptional? Check out my thoughts on two other ecommerce site must-haves: the power of a beautifully functional storefront and how to incorporate dynamic rich merchandising.
One of my favorite examples of personalized shopping in action is the Rugged Pet Tag product page from the premium accessories brand, Nomad.
Here, customers can preview what a personalized pet tag will look like—complete with their phone number and pet’s name (absolutely brilliant!). Nomad’s headless site powers this capability, and ultimately ensures customers can see exactly what they’re buying and how it’ll look before hitting ‘add to cart’ (helping prompt more sales).
Most brands find interactions like this can be challenging to implement on their websites. Largely because if you’re running on a traditional ecommerce platform or monolithic site, adding elements like this introduces speed tradeoffs. The more you want to add slick customizations to your store, the heavier the site images, and the more requests the site will make—slowing it right down.
Fortunately, headless commerce (or a flexible frontend separate from your backend platform) makes it possible to introduce these ultra-personalized touch points without sacrificing site speed and mobile responsiveness.
What’s more—when your site’s headless you can deploy interactive elements like this, fast. Form Factory, the agency that helped bring Nomad’s site to life, created this personalization feature in just three days thanks, in part, to our headless commerce solution, Shogun Frontend.
Because the frontend changes were entirely separate from the backend platform, the agency could unleash their full creativity and create an exceptional—highly performant—storefront experience in a matter of days instead of weeks.
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Another great example of personalization done well is on Target’s website.
The brand offers a “see it in your space” feature allowing shoppers to preview how a product will look in their home before they purchase it using augmented reality. Not only is this wildly convenient, but it’s super easy to use—whether you’re shopping on a laptop or mobile phone.
This feature—built right into the website—alleviates a major point of friction in the online shopping world: the question of “will this fit in my home?” There’s no more guesswork or digging through the kitchen drawer for the tape measurer. It’s incredibly brilliant.
A study from Epsilon found that 80% of consumers are indeed more likely to make purchases from brands that offer personalized experiences. And in the case of the Target example, a study from eMarketer found that 35% of participating US customers say they have used augmented reality to visualize furniture or vehicle customizations.
What’s more, a report from Salesforce found that 71% of customers say they’ve made purchases based on the quality of the experience they had with a brand.
In other words, we can assume that yes—personalized ecommerce experiences that provide real-time feedback and tend to exceed customer expectations are really impactful and very likely increase conversions.
Not only do these touch points increase dwell time (customers spend time customizing products or seeing how they fit in their space), but they can also reduce your product-return rate. The more information customers have on your product, the less likely someone will need to send products back after receiving them; they got all the needed info upfront.
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The personalized experiences we looked at today are immersive in their own ways. In Target’s case, the brand speaks to real hesitation or friction preventing visitors from purchasing (“does this coffee table fit?”) and can even prevent product returns. And with Nomad, the brand’s providing a level of literal personalization detail that makes this product feel tailor-made in a digital try-on.
Going the extra mile is always a good idea, and in ecommerce, the reward is high for the brands willing to do so. This kind of personalization shows customers you care about their experience and helps them feel confident in your product quality.
Your visitors’ thinking is that: When an experience is this good, your products will be too.
Your customers want that 1:1 experience and convenience right in the browser where they’d normally have it in-store. Real-time personalization on your site serves as bricks in the foundation of a long-term, happy customer relationship while increasing conversions and lowering your return rate. And it certainly makes for memorable brands.