How personalisation could dramatically boost e-commerce sales

Can your website increase its sales by using information on its users?

At the recent Adobe Omniture conference there was the usual – nay, compulsory – hyping of social media and mobile.

But if you scratched the surface just a little, then the hot topic revealed itself to be a different beast altogether: personalisation.

Web personalisation is not new, and it’s one of those topics that goes in and out of fashion, but it looks like 2011 is the year that it arrives back on the map.

This time it’s the web publishers that are taking control, and they are using it to grow revenue, rather than to provide a site that can be tailored by the user.

Website owners can build sites that use data about users such as the site they came from, age, gender, and where they went on the site, to produce pages and emails that contain content personalised to the user, and that hopefully make them want to buy more.

Accommodation site Hotels.com uses Omniture’s Test & Target personalisation system to produce follow up emails to users who abandon their searches.

For example a user who has been searching for information on Thailand and exited early will get an email highlighting hotels in Thailand. Or if a user looks at a particular hotel and abandons the site, Hotels.com will send an email featuring photographs of the hotel and a special room offer.

Other sites, such as US sportswear site Finish Line, send emails with pictures of the goods that the user abandoned.

The result of this email personalisation for Finish Line is a conversion rate of 5-9% for an email containing pictures, and when retailers also included click-to-chat and click-to-call details on the email, then users’ conversion rates were as high as 50%.

 

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