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6 Tips on How To Boost Sales with Ecommerce Personalization

eCommerce
6
min read

published on

January 30, 2024

Personalization in eCommerce means using customer data to create personalized buying experiences. It’s an effective, proven strategy for increasing sales and growing your customer base.

But more importantly, it’s become the new norm in B2B eCommerce: 90% of B2B customers now expect a B2C experience — with all the personalization that entails. Organizations that meet these new expectations are far more likely to thrive — while those that do not risk falling drastically behind.

Success in personalization, however, involves collecting and analyzing large amounts of customer data. This data must then be used to generate custom pages, search results, catalogs, promotions, messaging, and more — all on the fly. Using the right eCommerce platform makes this significantly easier, but you will still need to think carefully about your personalization strategy up and down the sales pipeline. 

Enough chatter—let’s dive into these six high-impact ways to master personalization.

Benefits of personalization in B2B commerce

There are several advantages to bringing personalization to the forefront of your B2B sales strategy. 

Increase conversion rates

According to Adobe’s 2023 B2B Commerce Growth Strategies Survey, more than 60% of companies that implemented personalization strategies such as product recommendations (66%), in-stock product notifications (68%), and improved analytics (67%) experienced higher conversion levels.

This is because personalization allows you to target the right customers with the right products at the right time, making them more likely to buy.

Let’s consider an example to picture this in action. 

Company X is a mid-size construction supplier serving independent construction contractors. It notices that a large part of its clientele based in Northern Europe purchases reflective safety gear every winter due to the sun setting earlier in the day. 

For customers who (a) live in Northern regions; (b) have a purchase history that indicates a seasonal need for winter safety gear; or (c) whose current cart indicates they’re at the start of a new project, Company X offers bundled savings on safety gear in the form of on-page product recommendations and bundles.

Customers are more likely to convert due to the convenience of getting their safety gear from a single source, the cost savings offered by purchasing bundled items, and the timely reminder of the winter season’s unique safety challenges. 

Improve customer experience and loyalty

According to a recent report by Navattic, 90% of B2B customers expect a B2C experience, which includes a high degree of personalization.

Personalization allows customers to find the products they want more quickly and makes discovering new products and solutions easier. It simplifies ordering, paying, and shipping and gives customers access to individualized offers, promotions, and site experiences.

Let’s break this down with an example:

Company Y is a large office supplier with a new B2B online experience. It implemented a new search feature that places customers’ previously ordered items at the top of the search results, using a semantic engine to find results even when alternate search phrases are used (such as “bureau” instead of “desk”). 

In addition, Company Y retains historic purchasing and shipping options for small and large orders; users can hit a “Click to order now” button to skip through most of the checkout section. 

Finally, both the search engine and on-page product recommendations are tailored to the user’s industry, as entered in their profile. Call centers are more likely to see headsets and ergonomic chairs, while architectural firms might find drafting tables and high-quality printing paper. 

As a result, customers spend less time searching for products and experience less frustration

Higher average order value (AOV)

Personalization is one of the most effective ways to increase cross-selling and up-selling and, therefore, AOV.

You can use what you know about customers to offer them complementary items, remind them about products they’ve ordered in the past, let them know what other companies have purchased together, and offer personalized savings on bulk purchases or bundles.

For example: 

Company Z, a medical supplier, enhances its average order value by incorporating personalized recommendations with a focus on single-use complementary items: probe covers for ultrasound machines, replacement cuffs for blood pressure monitors, sheaths for endoscopes, and more. These single-use items are essential for sterility and are always in high demand in hospitals. 

By making it easy to add the right single-use items for any new primary purchase, Company Z can increase AOV on many of these transactions. 

6 concrete ways to implement personalization in eCommerce

DJUST works with some of the largest B2B players in the market. As a result, we have seen first-hand how personalization can dramatically improve outcomes. 

Here are six of our best tips for simple and effective personalized buyer’s experiences. 

1. Personalized search results and catalogs

Personalized search results top our list as the personalization strategy with the greatest impact on business outcomes. It’s simple to implement and requires no changes in UI or additional front-end assets. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • History-based. Place recently or frequently viewed or purchased items at the top of the search results page or dropdown. This helps users find items they commonly purchase or may have considered and forgotten about. 
  • Industry, role, and segment. Adjust products in search results based on the customer’s role at work, industry (if you serve multiple industries), and segment. This helps customers see the most appropriate items for their search queries and allows you to intelligently position best-sellers based on segment behavior. 
  • User-selected personalization. Of course, providing filters in your search results also allows users to personalize their results themselves. Over time, you can learn from this behavior and start suggesting filters based on the search query and past interactions.

Catalogs are also worth personalizing. For example, here at DJUST, we provided our partner Monoprix (one of the largest French grocery retailers) with a simple and effective way to display different catalogs based on customer location. Users in the Middle East are presented with fewer alcoholic products, while dry pasta options are prioritized in Italy and the rest of Europe. This ensures regional users are presented with the products most likely to interest their own customers.

2. Personalized payment and shipping items

We know that B2B payments tend to be especially complex. They are larger and more complicated from a technical accounting perspective. Wire transfers and ACH payments are commonplace, while credit card payments can be less frequent. In addition, it’s common for multiple stakeholders to be involved in the purchasing process. 

However, complicated and faulty payment experiences are a leading cause of cart abandonment in both B2C and B2B eCommerce. 

Customers expect payment options that are appropriate for their industry and shipping options that make sense for their cart and location.

For this reason, it’s imperative to prioritize payment and shipping options based on past interactions and make it easy for customers to use the same payment and shipping configuration as before. 

Expert Tip:

There are three main reasons B2B users abandon their cart: 

  1. They’re unused to digital buying experiences and prefer to finish their order with a sales rep or call center.
  2. Payment options are more flexible elsewhere (e.g., through Buy Now, Pay Later).
  3. They are comparing prices with other sites. 

3. Personalized product page recommendations

Product recommendations are one of the most lucrative ways of leveraging customer data. 

Making recommendations on product pages themselves is an effective way to do this. The trick here is to cross-reference the product currently being viewed with what you know about the buyer and other customers from the same segment(s). 

For example, a More like this recommendation displays items in similar categories or that often go together, such as napkins with disposable plates or safety goggles with hard hats.

Refine these recommendations over time as you learn more about which products perform well and for which segments, and balance price with likelihood-to-buy to ensure maximum orders. 

4. Continuous shopping experiences for return customers

Continuous shopping means that your eCommerce platform recognizes users when they return to your site or app, allowing them to pick up their order where they left off.

Not only is it convenient for customers, but it also allows you to better target undecided buyers and recover abandoned carts (a key metric to measure and reduce at all costs). 

There are three major ways to encourage continuous shopping: 

  1. You can tie continuous shopping together with product recommendations (see above). Upon logging in, customers are greeted with their existing orders and recommendations for products to round it out. 

  1. “Recently viewed” recommendations present users with a list of items they have looked at recently. This makes it easier for customers to find items they searched for earlier in the day or week or that they have open in another tab or device. This nudges customers toward a purchase they may have considered but did not follow through with. 

  1. “Recently purchased” recommendations present returning users with items they purchased during their recent visits. You can prioritize articles likely to be purchased frequently, such as single-use items, disposable products, consumables, and replenishable supplies.

5. Personalized “Most viewed” and “Most purchased” bestsellers

Bestseller lists leverage the concept of “social proof” to make a convincing argument for cross- and up-selling. 

Expert advice: The concept of “social proof” refers to our tendency to follow the acts of others when making decisions. In sales, this means customers are more likely to buy a product if they see that others already have. It serves as an endorsement, validating their decision to purchase. 

You can leverage the power of social proof through “Most viewed” and “Most purchased” lists. 

You can personalize these for users based on:

  • Their industry, geographical location, or role
  • The current product page being viewed
  • Their current cart
  • Their past purchases

With B2B eCommerce, you also benefit from an additional factor for segmentation: the user’s title or role

This makes it especially easy to dynamically create targeted bestseller lists for customers. It takes social proof to a whole new level — while also providing customers with recommendations they’re likely to genuinely appreciate. 

Headless commerce and simple personalization

Headless commerce is the key to making personalization swift and simple.

A “headless” architecture separates, or “decouples,” the front end (what your customer sees) from the back end (where your data is stored).

There are four main reasons headless architecture allows for high-impact personalization: 

  1. It’s much more flexible and agile. With DJUST’s headless architecture, for example, you can customize the user interface and experience in endless ways. And since the front end operates independently of the back end, you can deploy new updates in minutes.

  2. It’s simple to integrate with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. Tying directly into customer and company data will make your personalizations more targeted, dynamic, and effective.

    Likewise, it’s easy to integrate third-party tools for advanced analytics and AI and machine learning tools. This allows you to analyze customer behavior and automate the personalization process.

  3. It’s easy to create effective omnichannel experiences — which more and more B2B customers want to see. Easily build different user interfaces for different devices, industries, roles, and segments.

  4. It tends to be much faster. As the front end is separate, it can be optimized for performance, leading to faster load times and a smoother user experience, which is crucial for effective personalization.

Making personalization sustainable

As we have seen, there are many ways to personalize a customer’s experience. 

Businesses just starting to leverage personalization should start small and focus on high-impact personalizations, such as personalized search results, product page recommendations, and continuous shopping. 

Take advantage of the analytics offered by eCommerce platforms to begin building customer profiles based on their browsing history, purchasing history, role, and industry. Over time, you can use this information to make data-driven decisions about what kinds of personalization will likely drive sales and customer satisfaction. 

There’s no small amount of experimentation involved in personalization, either. Try new personalizations and see how customers react to them. You can use A/B testing to refine these experiments further and determine what works best for your audience. 

The bottom line

Businesses can use personalization to boost sales and grow customer loyalty. Start by collecting customer data to build user profiles, then use that data to influence customer behavior. 

Leverage these five simple approaches for higher average order values, more frequent purchases, and greater customer loyalty: (1) personalized search results and catalogs; (2) personalized payment and shipping options; (3) personalized product page recommendations; (4) continuous shopping experiences; and (5) personalized bestseller lists. 

Finally, adopt a headless platform such as DJUST to make personalization more agile and sustainable.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is personalization in eCommerce?

Personalization in eCommerce involves tailoring the online shopping experience to individual customer preferences and behaviors. It uses data such as browsing history, purchase patterns, and personal preferences to present customized product recommendations, content, and offers, making each interaction unique and relevant to the individual shopper.

What is an example of good eCommerce personalization?

A good example of personalization comes from DJUST’s collaboration with Monoprix. The French grocery chain offers personalized product catalogs based on location with, for example, fewer alcoholic products displayed to Middle Eastern B2B customers.

How does personalization impact eCommerce success?

Personalization significantly impacts eCommerce success by enhancing customer experience and increasing conversions. Tailored experiences make shopping more relevant, practical, and enjoyable, leading to greater loyalty and higher average order values. It allows businesses to use what they know about customers to influence purchasing decisions.

About the author
Arnaud Rihiant
Founder & CEO @ DJUST

Expert in topics on B2B, eCommerce, market trends, business strategy

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