Ecommerce personalization examples to improve UX and conversion
The importance of ecommerce personalization has grown as convenience and the pandemic shifted more shopping online. While Amazon’s profits soared and grocery shopping went digital, many businesses were left scrambling to provide better ecommerce experiences, and one trend is here to stay — personalization.
According to McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect personalization in digital marketing and 76% of consumers get frustrated when personalization is missing. Personalizing your ecommerce experience keeps visitors engaged and increases conversions.
But successful ecommerce personalization is challenging. Businesses must collect, synthesize, analyze, and process user data — ideally in real time. Perhaps the most challenging part is mapping the customer journey and delivering unique content at each touchpoint. While scalability at this level used to seem impossible, AI and machine learning now make it easier to tailor content, provide specific recommendations, and follow up with individual customers.
This post will explain what ecommerce personalization is and provide examples of:
- Personalized landing pages
- Optimization for mobile
- Strategic product recommendations
- Streamlined shopping
- User-generated content
- Suggested searches
- Abandoned cart follow up
- Additional product emails
- Special deals
What is ecommerce personalization?
Ecommerce personalization is the process of providing a customized experience to each individual that engages with your ecommerce brand. Everything from landing pages to banners to product recommendations can be personalized. When done well, personalization is dynamic — reacting as customers navigate your site. Buyers will more easily find what they’re looking for, discover new products they didn’t know they needed, and feel that your brand understands them.
Providing a personalized experience is possible by collecting information on a customer’s previous purchases and behaviors, physical location, and browsing device. This data helps companies create buyer personas and customer profiles. Personas can be used to segment audiences into groups for initial targeting, and profiles can help create hyper-personalized experiences for each individual.
Ecommerce personalization examples
Ecommerce giants like Amazon and Ebay have invested heavily in personalization, but the availability of machine learning and AI-powered software have put personalization within reach for small and medium businesses (SMBs) as well. The following examples demonstrate what other brands are doing well, to provide inspiration for your ecommerce experience.
Personalized landing pages
A landing page is the first thing visitors see when they arrive at your site. Make a good first impression by connecting with customers in a unique way. If the shopper is visiting your site for the first time, you might offer a discount for their first visit. If they’re a return customer, “Welcome back!” is an easy personalized message.
Other data to help personalize landing pages includes the location the customer is shopping from, their purchase history, or the products they viewed last time they visited your site.
1. Amazon’s personalized home page
Every time users visit Amazon’s home page they’re presented with product suggestions that align with their previous purchases, interests, and the time of year. For example, in early November, shoppers are presented with gift ideas and turkeys, as well as items related to past purchases and visits.
If consumers visited Amazon’s site to do some holiday shopping, prepare for Thanksgiving, finish a previous shopping session, or re-order a common item, Amazon has successfully reduced friction in the shopping experience. If the buyer has come to continue watching, Amazon makes some recommendations based on previous viewing.
2. Apple’s personalized landing pages
Apple’s landing page also presents products that align with the customer’s interests. Here, the Apple Watch and Fitness+ workout series are displayed for a customer who has previously browsed smart watches and exercise-related content.
Anticipate your shoppers’ needs and tailor your landing pages to their interests to engage faster and make purchasing easier.
Optimization for mobile
One of the easiest ways to personalize your site is to create a mobile-friendly version. You only need to know users are browsing on a mobile device to offer a better user experience.
According to Statista, mobile ecommerce sales amounted to $362.11 billion in 2021. This is about half of all online sales globally, according to Business Wire. Providing a great mobile experience is important and will only become more important in the future.
3. Adidas’ mobile responsive website
When the design agency Voltage was tasked with creating a mobile version of the Adidas website, designers leaned into the color palette of the Adidas lookbook for inspiration. The mobile site is simple, easy to navigate, and resonates with the bold color and feel of the Adidas brand.
Google suggests three considerations to help your site perform well on mobile devices — quick load speed, ease of navigation, and ease of action. On Adidas’ mobile site, large images have been cropped to help the page load faster. Simple color choices make navigation easy, and Adidas limited the number and design of CTAs on the page to simplify engagement.
4. IKEA’s mixed reality design experience
IKEA includes two forms of personalization when visiting their app on a mobile device. The first is a simple opt-in that will allow IKEA to recommend products based on your browsing history. The more you browse, the more data the app will gather, meaning recommendations will get better over time.
The second element of personalization in the app is an interactive design tool called IKEA Kreativ. Users can take photos of any room in their homes and then furnish the room with IKEA products in augmented reality. Allowing customers to see 3-D products in their own space makes shopping easy and increases the chance consumers will be happy with their purchase, reducing returns.
Strategic product recommendations
The heart of your ecommerce store is your products. Product recommendations can be based on purchase history, items similar to those in a shopper’s cart, or products that are relevant to options the user already viewed. Providing personalized product recommendations is not only good for sales but improves user experience.
5. Poly & Bark’s room designer
Shoppers on the Poly & Bark site get a list of product recommendations based on the item they’re viewing. On a product page for a leather couch, the “Complete the Look” panel recommends other items of a similar style to complete the room.
Related product recommendations are a simple way to create a personalized ecommerce experience, because they don’t require customer data. If items are tagged correctly on the site, you can create relevant recommendations on a user’s first visit.
6. Netflix’s multitiered recommendations
Netflix is well known for optimizing customer data and creating hyper-personalized experiences. The streaming service always welcomes customers back to the platform with a “Continue watching” list, so users can quickly pick up where they left off.
The platform also uses its vast library of user data to recommend related content that the viewer might be interested in, based on what other people with similar viewing histories like to watch.
Netflix even personalizes the thumbnail image for each movie or show — often in real time. For example, a viewer who watches horror movies will be presented with a Stranger Things cover that features a dark, foggy scene. Another user who watches comedies will see an image of kids dressed up as Ghost Busters or staring awkwardly at the camera. Other subscribers who favor romantic comedies will get an image of a couple on their home screens.
When customers return to your ecommerce site, encourage them to pick up where they left off by displaying items they were previously shopping for. This can reduce friction in the shopping experience and ultimately increase sales.
7. Ebay’s recently viewed items
Ebay displays recently viewed items on their homepage so that customers can quickly get back to shopping. Statista reports that B2C ecommerce shoppers in every vertical visit a site more than twice before making a purchase. That means there’s a good chance a new visitor will return to purchase an item they were looking at. Helping them find that item quickly creates a great user experience. Make sure they don’t get frustrated and go purchase from a competitor instead.
8. Kroger’s personalized shopping cart
Throughout the pandemic, online grocery shopping has grown in popularity. Statista cites 150 million online grocery shoppers and forecasts continued growth for years.
Because shoppers often buy the same items from grocery stores, most grocery store websites provide quick access to a customer’s frequent purchases. The Kroger website features a “Start Your Cart” tool that displays commonly purchased products, relevant sale items, and recently viewed options. Three tiers of personalization let each shopper start their ecommerce grocery shopping quickly.
User-generated content (UGC) includes product reviews, brand endorsements, photos, and videos created by customers and brand advocates. UGC offers a lot of benefits, but it can also help your ecommerce personalization efforts by providing deeper insights on how your audiences engage with your products and by creating additional digital spaces where shoppers can engage and buy.
9. Big Agnes’ branded hashtag
The outdoor company Big Agnes uses the hashtag #MotherOfComfort to promote their brand on social media channels like Instagram. Not only do they use the hashtag in their posts but users do as well when they share their own content about the brand. With over 5,000 related posts, Big Agnes is able to see all the different ways users are interacting with their products.
While Big Agnes tents and sleeping bags are great for camping and backpacking, studying the hashtag feed shows that motorcycle touring is another popular use of their products. By examining the UGC customers associate with the hashtag, Big Agnes can begin personalizing an ecommerce approach to target motorcycle riders and increase their reach.
10. Jamie Oliver features home cooks
To promote his cookbook, chef Jamie Oliver shared photos on Instagram from home cooks who prepared the recipes in his book. Using the hashtag #JamiesOnePanWonders, Oliver was able to gather and highlight user generated content to increase engagement. By encouraging others to share their photos, shouting out social media partners, and sending followers to the link in his bio, Oliver created an additional revenue funnel beyond his website.
Connecting with potential customers and selling through social media is a great way to personalize shoppers’ experiences and increase sales.
Narrow down the options for visitors by personalizing your search functionality. Doing so will help customers pick up where they left off, find the products they want, and discover new products they didn’t know they needed.
11. Home Depot’s personalized search bar
The Home Depot website personalizes the user’s search experience in two ways. First, the search bar includes related searches to help users find other products of interest. A customer shopping for plywood for a home project is presented with specific types of plywood to guide their shopping experience.
Second, the site displays recent searches to help shoppers continue a previous ecommerce session.
12. Lookastic’s personalized style search
Lookastic makes shopping for clothes online easier by first asking users to check off which clothing items they already own. The site then personalizes the search for new items based off of the existing wardrobe. Some suggestions are for how to create a look with the clothes the user already owns, while others recommend new products to complement what’s currently in their closet. Including photos of each look helps shoppers visualize the complete outfit.
Abandoned cart follow up
Some ecommerce experiences do not immediately end in a conversion. To continue the personalization after a user has left your site, follow up with an email. These encourage the user to return to the site and complete the purchase.
13. Joybird’s abandoned cart discount offer
In this example Joybird has followed up with an email about a product left behind in a shopper’s cart. First, the email creates a sense of urgency by mentioning that other shoppers are interested in the same item — suggesting there might not be enough for everyone.
The email also includes a link for reviews and one to an image gallery to reinforce the shopper’s decision to buy. Finally, the message includes a discount code for 25% off in case the buyer abandoned the transaction for financial reasons.
14. Yelp’s helpful reminder follow-up
Customers can abandon transactions in multiple ways. In this example, Yelp followed up with a shopper who stopped short of booking an appointment. The personalized email includes the service the customer was looking for, the businesses the customer had contacted, and a link to view messages to make responding easy.
By mentioning that spots are filling up, Yelp creates a sense of urgency and nudges the consumer to book now.
Gathering and sharing feedback from customers benefits ecommerce personalization in multiple ways. For one it shows that your brand cares about shoppers beyond just getting a sale, which helps build customer relationships.
It also provides a resource for personalized shopping experiences by allowing you to connect relevant reviews. Relevance can be determined by location, consumers who bought a similar product, or shoppers connected through social media.
15. Chewy’s recent purchase follow-up
In this example from Chewy, the company has followed a purchase with an email asking for the customer’s opinion about the specific items they bought. Mentioning the product or experience by name adds a personal touch. Even though these types of emails can be sent automatically, they help consumers feel like your brand cares about them as individuals.
16. Amita Health’s service follow-up
While not an ecommerce brand, Amita Health understands that customer experience is important in healthcare as well. This follow-up about a patient’s experience is a great example of personalization.
Amita demonstrates the brand is invested in providing great care to each individual and offers multiple ways to provide feedback — a quick online survey or a phone call. Not only will this feedback help improve future user experiences, positive reviews can be used as social proof for the practice.
Additional product emails
Customers who have had one good ecommerce experience may come back for more. Once they’ve left your site, take personalized product recommendations to their inboxes.
According to a study by Dyspatch, most users said they would be more likely to purchase a product in a marketing email if it was a recommendation based on their personal purchase history — as opposed to a newly launched product or a randomly selected product.
17. Wayfair’s targeted product suggestions
After browsing on Wayfair’s site for home furnishing goods and pet products the brand followed up with a personalized email offering deals on dog and cat beds. Offering suggestions based on the previously shopped product category continues the ecommerce experience and ideally sends users back to their site to continue shopping. Offering a limited time deal creates a sense of urgency and gives the consumer an additional incentive to shop.
18. Sunday’s location- and season-based recommendations
Lawn care and garden brand Sunday personalized their product recommendation email based on seasonality and location. A shopper interested in planting their garden is reengaged and reassured that there’s still time.
Location data allows Sunday to personalize product recommendations for users in different regions, connecting with the seasonality of their product. The brand also offers free shipping and tutorials on planting to nudge shoppers towards a sale.
Another way to personalize your ecommerce store is to offer deals to specific customers. These could be for returning customers, as part of a loyalty program, or for members. Special sales and gated content are great ways to incentivise purchases and also offer value to high-priority customers.
19. Outside Magazine’s member exclusive content
Outside magazine personalizes its member’s experience through gated content. In this example Outside shows a different view to logged-in members, with padlocks on exclusive articles. By personalizing the user’s experience in this way, members see the value of their subscription and feel like their membership is worth it.
20. REI’s members only deals
REI leans into its membership program throughout the site. By offering deals exclusively for members, REI reinforces the value of membership for current members and anyone considering membership.
Further, REI has designed a different customer journey for members navigating the site, personalizing the experience by displaying products and discounts only available to REI members.
Personalize your ecommerce experience
Personalizing the ecommerce experience is crucial for engaging users and closing sales. More brands are using personalization so more buyers are expecting this kind of individual attention. Generic ecommerce experiences no longer connect with audiences.
To bring ecommerce personalization to your site, make a list of which of the above techniques will be most impactful for your brand. If there are specific metrics you’d like to improve, consider addressing those first. For example, if customers are visiting your site and adding items to their cart but conversion is low, implement an abandoned cart email to target those missed customers.
To really personalize your customers’ ecommerce experience, consider Adobe Commerce. Whether your focus is B2B or B2C, Adobe Commerce allows you to divide customers into segments and create personalized content for every individual. Backed by industry-leading AI, Commerce automatically gathers data on customers for smarter product recommendations and personalized customer journeys.
If you’re ready to get started, take a product tour and learn more about delivering personalized ecommerce experiences today.