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Marketers have reported strong results in the past from their use of personalization across various channels. But which personalization tactics work best? Qubit dove into 2 billion e-commerce user journeys [download page] and 120 million purchases – primarily in the retail and travel sectors – to find out.

In order to arrive at its conclusions, Qubit ranked these personalization techniques by the average incremental contribution it found for each to revenue from visitors (RPV). The analysts note that their “methodology for the evaluation, classification and aggregation of online experiments in ecommerce has been independently assured by PwC.”

The Top Performers

There were 4 personalization techniques that stood head and shoulders above the rest, each with at least a 1% uplift in RPV. They were:

  • Scarcity (+2.9%) – described as “techniques that highlight items that are low in stock;”
  • Social proof (+2.3%) – “techniques that leverage the behavior of other users to provide information about trending products and items currently popular;”
  • Urgency (+1.5%) – “techniques that use a time limit to promote urgency to complete an action before a deadline;” and
  • Abandonment (+1.1%) – “techniques that aim to capture users before they leave the site after indicating purchase intention.”

What’s interesting about these results is they align with long-held beliefs about psychological techniques – particularly scarcity, urgency and social proof.

Meanwhile, some of the lowest-performers were linked to mobile devices, including:

  • Mobile search – “techniques that focus on the search box, or changes to the results of a search query on a mobile site;” and
  • Mobile navigation – “techniques focused on altering the navigation bar or link structure for mobile.”

In fact, in an accompanying survey of 243 marketers in the US and UK, Qubit found a fair degree of concern surrounding mobile conversion rates. Only 37% of respondents reported roughly equal results between mobiles and desktops. The e-commerce conversion gap between smartphones and desktops has been well-documented.

Marketers appear to be tackling this issue head on: almost two-thirds of respondents to Qubit’s survey said they’re investing in processes and tools to improve the mobile shopping experience.

For now, though, aligning with persuasion techniques such as the perception of scarcity and urgency appear to be the best bet for boosting revenues per visitor.

The full study – which contains many more results, along with case studies and more survey data – is available for download here.

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