Practical Ecommerce

6 Small-business Personalization Strategies

A personalized shopping experience can increase conversions. There are many sophisticated personalization platforms that help with this. But there are also simple, inexpensive personalization strategies that most any merchant can use.

This article profiles six examples of effective personalization strategies that small businesses have implemented.

Mandarin Trainer: Personalizing for International Customers

MandarinTrainer.com, a subscription-based language-learning site, saw a significant increase in signups with a simple tweak in how it display its prices.

The company analyzed its Google Analytics data and saw that a large portion of visitors was from the Philippines and Hong Kong. It added a small script to the site’s sign-up page that displays prices in those local currencies.

“After adding Hong Kong dollars and Philippine pesos to our price list, we saw our subscriptions in those regions increase by roughly 14 percent” said founder Tom Clowers. “I think it meant something to our customers that we were recognizing their importance to us”.

If most of your traffic is from abroad, incorporate local currencies and languages into your site to encourage those visitors to buy, or sign up.

Adore Me: Personalized Recommendations and Live Assistance

Online lingerie store Adore Me recommends products based on each shopper’s taste and style. When shoppers open an account, Adore Me asks them to take a survey to determine their lingerie preferences. Shoppers will then be able to access a personalized showroom filled with lingerie items that correspond to their styles. Moreover, Adore Me also offers individual assistance from a lingerie expert.

“When a customer enters our site, a live stylist is there to assist the customer with whatever they need via a chat box on the bottom right corner that pops up. The chat responses by the expert stylist are quick, efficient, and personalized since it’s a real person who is the style expert. None of that automated nonsense” said Emily Love, sourcing manager for Adore Me.

Aside from increasing sales, this method has worked well in connecting with customers, according to Love. “It has gotten to a point where customers will remember the stylist by the name and vise versa, the stylist recognizing the customer.”

Use short surveys to determine what your customers need or want. Then use the results to personalize their experience. Give shoppers a virtual helping hand by means of live chat.

Whiner & Diner: Using Photos from Customers

Pet accessories store Whiner & Diner has personalization at the core of its business. Each of its products can be customized for free with a hand-painted name of the pet.

It also allows its customers showcase their pets on the Whiner & Diner website.

“We ask our customers to email us a picture of their pets to feature in our website pet gallery” said Co-founder Catherine Simms. “Customers love having photos of their dog or cat online.”

According to Simms, this practice allowed the company to gain repeat customers and word-of-mouth business.

Personalize your customers’ experience by featuring them on your website.

BeFrugal.com: Sending Personalized Deals to Consumers

BeFrugal.com, a community of thrifty shoppers, improves the shopping experience by sending shoppers personalized coupons based on the favorite stores that they’ve shared in their preferences as well as their recent activity on the site.

BeFrugal.com founder Jon Lal said that customers appreciate these emails. “Our members appreciate getting the newest savings offers for the stores they care about most.”

Pay attention to your customers’ preferences and their site activity so you can tailor your offers accordingly.

Rivet & Sway: A Stylist, Plus Personal Follow-ups

Rivet & Sway is an online eyeglass retailer for females. It offers “Ritzy,” a personal stylist, to help shoppers select the frames that are best suited to the shape of their face, hair color, and personal style.

It doesn’t stop there, however. According to the CEO John Lusk, “Once customers receive their try-on kits from Rivet & Sway, they can email pictures to Ritzy and then collaborate on which one is the perfect fit.”

Lusk also calls — or emails if the client isn’t available — each customer to follow up on the purchase, to ensure satisfaction.

These techniques have boosted Rivet & Sway’s word-of mouth business and allowed the company to create a loyal following. According to Lusk, around 40 percent of sales come from recommendations of existing customers.

Don’t skimp on personal follow-ups. And if it makes sense for your business, consider hiring someone to assist and collaborate with your shoppers. It’s an effective method to boost repeat and word-of-mouth sales.

ScanMyPhotos.com: Personalized Emails

ScanMyPhotos.com provides photo, slide, and negative scanning services. It improves customer experience and boosts sales through personalized emails and follow-ups.

“We are very personal and each email is customized to refer to the customer’s order,” said Mitch Goldstone, president and CEO of ScanMyPhotos.

“If a customer mentions that she ordered our photo digitization service to produce a 50th wedding anniversary present for her parents, for instance, we mention that and follow up a few weeks later, asking how the event went and any tips we can learn to share with others from the special occasion.”

The company also sends personalized emails to returning shoppers as well as to customers who bring in referrals.

Drop the canned responses and tailor your messages to each of your customers. Also, never underestimate the power of thank you messages for returning customers and affiliates.

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Jerry Jao
Jerry Jao
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