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How to personalise your website – no matter what your budget

There’s no denying that personalisation is becoming an ever more important part of website optimisation strategy. 90% of marketers believe that personalisation is the future according to Smart Insights.

Personalisation improves the online experience for individual groups of visitors. Evidence suggests that the more relevant you make the online experience, the better your website will convert. Smart Insights reports that 48% of consumers spend more when their experience is personalised so there are clear commercial benefits to investing in personalisation. But this doesn’t have to mean making a significant investment. Many benefits of personalisation can also be achieved using tools and data already at your disposal.

To give your visitors a tailored experience, you need to know two things about your visitors – who they are, and what they do whilst on your site. In this article, we look at simple and complex personalisation using anonymous and known data about your customers.

Segments – the easy way to personalise

The most sophisticated (and expensive) ways to add personalisation including purpose-built platforms, data layers and bespoke online experiences. But you don’t have to start there. An easy and economical way to dip a toe into the water of personalisation is by optimising your online experience for pre-identified segments. This gives you the chance to learn more about the benefits personalisation can offer your visitors, and your business, and decide when to increase your investment.

Your web analytics system is already collecting anonymous data about your visitor segments that helps you to build a picture about who they are and what they’re doing and segment accordingly.

Anonymous visitor segments may include:

Who they are What they are doing
  • New / returning visitors
  • Customers / non-customers
  • Visitors from [a certain geographical location]
  • Visitors who performed a site search / those who didn’t
  • Visitors who viewed product reviews / those who didn’t

By analysing these segments and identifying opportunities, you can develop hypotheses about how website changes could improve their experience and generate you more revenue.

For a little extra time invested in analysing your analytics data, this type of personalisation can deliver healthy uplifts.

The tableware and gifts website At Home In the Country, for example, achieved a 12.5% increase in conversion rate by displaying a free delivery offer to new visitors who lived in the UK when they showed an intent to exit the website. (Read the case study from Bunting.)

In a continued effort to localise the online experience for US visitors, fashion retailer Topshop generated a 4.5% increase in revenue simply by showing US sizes to US visitors, rather than UK sizes. (Qubit case study that is no longer available.)

Another fashion brand, Burton, achieved an 11.6% increase in conversion rate just by personalising the homepage to include a picture of the local weather and appropriate clothing to go with it. This was achieved by taking anonymous location-based data and combining it with an additional data source – the weather in that area. (Read the case study from Weather Unlocked.)

Individual personalisation

The above examples show how much can be achieved just by slightly tailoring the message to large groups of people. At the other end of the personalisation spectrum, each user is provided with their own, bespoke, personalised experience. This is a serious capital investment in a personalisation platform which integrates a number of data sources, including your customer database, to create a data layer. Only with this level of data can you to build up profiles about each individual visitor.

Visitor data may include:

Who they are What they are doing
  • Name
  • Address
  • Their interests
  • How frequently they have bought from your
  • What items they have added to their basket
  • That they typically order two different sizes and return one

By gathering this level of detail about your visitors, you can take your segmentation analysis one step further, identifying opportunities and developing hypotheses about how website changes could improve their experience and using information specific to each individual to deliver bespoke experiences.

Marks & Spencer, for example, drove an almost 6% sales uplift by personalising the homepage seen by returning customers with reminders about items they previously added to their shopping basket. (Read the case study from Webtrends.)

What could personalisation deliver for you?

Personalising your website doesn’t necessarily mean investing heavily in data capturing tools and software. With the right amount of time investment, effective personalisation can be done using your existing analytics data to identify key visitor segments and split test software to test the personalised experience.

Even product recommendation engines – arguably the most well-known form of personalisation can be successfully created using both anonymous data – such as ‘people who viewed this product also viewed these products’ and known visitor data – such as ‘you also previously viewed’.

If you’d like some help in personalising your site, please get in touch. We have experience in all elements of Conversion Rate Optimisation and website personalisation having worked with our clients on a range of projects including:

  • Simple personalisation: Segment-based personalisation experiments using split test platforms and analytics data
  • Complex Personalisation: Bespoke, individual personalised experiments using dedicated personalisation platforms
  • And testing a whole host of personalised experiences using a mix of data.

Not sure if your site is ready for personalisation yet, or if you’d like to learn more about personaliation, and need expert help, read our ebook below for 8 questions you must ask to find, hire and get great results from CRO professionals.

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