E-commerce personalization for small business

E-commerce personalization was trending, but the global pandemic has sped up adoption as online consumer options magnified.

by Chris Casacchia
updated May 11, 2023 ·  3min read

Small businesses are now able to harness customer buying habits, behavioral patterns and other trends to improve the user experience—while increasing the probability of return interactions and purchases.

E-commerce personalization makes it extremely effective to create personalized campaigns based on where your visitors are located, how they found your site, what time it is, what devices they're using, and even what the weather is like, Kerry Lopez, of digital marketing agency Incrementors Web Solutions, says.

“Visitors are no longer treated as numbers." he says. "They feel welcomed and valued by the retail brand, and as a result, they are more likely to purchase."

Here are how real brands are using e-commerce personalization to make their marketing more effective.

woman in white shirt packing orders in her home office

Use data to automate user experience

E-commerce personalization allows brands to automate each visitor's experience based on a variety of factors, including products in a shopping cart, the value of those items, site searches, or page views.

“Successful personalization comes with accumulating enough data about your customers to be able to provide content tailored specifically to their wants and needs," Kathryn McDavid, the chief executive of Editor's Pick, an online beauty and wellness e-tailer, said. “And that's only possible with plenty of consistent research."

The Charming Bench Co., which sells high-end patio furniture online, personalizes outreach and upsells based on customer purchases.

“Personalization is becoming an increasingly important facet of marketing and customer engagement," says co-owner and chief executive Chris Campbell. “People are becoming warier of the marketing tactics that businesses traditionally used, which has driven an increased focus on personalized marketing and messaging."

Tailor personalization to your bottom line

Rohan Kadam, a marketer and e-commerce expert, implements personalization with landing pages to help his small business clients reduce cart abandonment rates.

His strategy is built on three pillars:

  • Using a countdown clock on the landing page.
  • Using exit pop-up plug-ins like Hello Bar or another notification banner.
  • Running dynamic remarketing ads through GoogleAds Platform to target specific audiences with highly personalized messages.

Make virtual feel personal

Sports Basement uses an appointment application developed by Los Angeles-based Spinlister that enables retailers to support virtual sales and/or service consultations over video. It uses its in-store staffers as on-call reps for e-commerce engagements at its 10 sports equipment rental and sales locations in the Bay Area.

“Retailers are able to reach customers more effectively by replicating their in-store experience in a virtual environment rather than relying on every customer having to walk in," says Colby Marple, Spinlister's director of retail solutions. “The ability to tour a store's physical inventory and interact with a real person is far more personal and ultimately beneficial than going back and forth via chat or even a conventional phone call."

Tyler Wall, the chief executive of SD Bullion, an online retailer of precious metals, likens e-commerce personalization to a form of online customer service.

“While you can't greet a customer with a smile and a warm greeting on a website like you would in a brick-and-mortar store, you can still tailor the experience so it's as pleasant as possible for them," he says.

His company uses ActiveCampaign, an automation platform for marketing and customer relationship management tools, to create better experiences for consumers.

The biggest challenge, according to Wall, is tailoring personalization for each user.

“Making anything personal is inherently difficult, especially when you deal with thousands and thousands of different clients who all have different needs," he says.

Protect user privacy

Nolah Mattress employs personalization to display relevant products and advertisements to potential online customers. The strategy has increased sales by boosting engagement but carries new concerns over privacy and data usage.

“Privacy is a big concern of internet users, and companies should pay extra attention to the education of the public on how they use data legally and morally," says Stephen Light, Nolah's co-owner and chief marketing officer.

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Chris Casacchia

About the Author

Chris Casacchia

Chris Casacchia is an award-winning journalist, editor, and media consultant based in Los Angeles specializing in busine… Read more

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