Post-Order Email Most Popular for Personalization

December 1, 2011

etailing-marketing-etail-customized-experience-dec11.gifPost-order email is where most merchants personalize their onsite and post-order experience, with 77% of respondents to [download page] a November 2011 survey from the e-tailing group sponsored by Adobe reporting tapping into these messages. Data from “Prioritizing Personalization for Growth” indicates that shopping cart (52%), product page (44%), and home page (41%) are also popular areas for personalization among merchants, with category page (21%) and search results (17%) trailing distantly.

The e-tailing group survey coincides with recent research from Parks Associates, which suggests that consumers are becoming more comfortable with personalized ads: more than 1 in 3 US broadband households report being comfortable with seeing personalized ads on the Internet based on the products and services they are shopping for, their gender, or their age.

Emails Perform Best

e-tailing-personalization-email1.jpgAccording to the e-tailing group report, 26% of merchants say that triggered shopping cart abandonment emails are a top 2 very or somewhat important personalization tactic from an ROI perspective. Personalized product recommendations via email (14%) also have some perceived success, as do personalized product recommendations on the product page (12%) and retargeting (11%). By contrast, personalized product recommendations in the shopping cart, personalized home page based on past browse and buy behavior, and recently viewed product tactics are seen as top 2 very or somewhat important ROI tactics by less than 1 in 10 merchants.

Meanwhile, almost half of the merchants surveyed say that their loyalty program is critical or very important to understanding their customers and personalizing the shopper experience, while a further 37% cite their program as somewhat important.

Most Look at Previous Purchases, Acquisition Source

More than half of the merchants look at behavior data such as new/return visitor, previous online purchases, acquisition source (search, Facebook, SEO), and customer/prospect when attempting to garner a 360-degree view of the customer. 20-46% rely on other data such as previous product interests, searches, customer demographics, and previous campaign responses, while less than 1 in 5 turn to point-of-sale, previous campaign exposure, customer psychographics, and mobile usage pattern data. E-tailing group insight suggests that the latter data likely poses challenges due to their cross-channel nature or difficulty in securing the measurement data.

According to an earlier report from the e-tailing group, sponsored by Bronto, just 28% of merchants say their data allows them to currently receive a 360-degree of their customer’s engagement with them.

Personalization Strategies Still Immature

On a scale of 1-10, where 10 represents the highest level of sophistication, 54% of merchants rated their sophistication level between 1 and 3 when it came to personalization. Just 13% rated themselves between 7 and 10, with the average level being 3.8.

According to the report, the top 3 areas cited for improvement are: making the user experience more specific and relevant; involving IT, adding functionality, and better managing 3rd party vendors; and improving CRM, post-sale follow-up, and analysis.

About the Data: The e-tailing group surveyed 131 merchants in Q3 2011. 19% had annual sales of $5 million or less, while 26% had annual sales of more than $1 billion. For 35% of those surveyed, online sales account for more than 70% of their overall business, while for 19%, online sales account for 5% or less of their overall business.

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