It’s no doubt that 2017 was a big year for ecommerce. According to Statista, ecommerce reached approximately $2.3 trillion in 2017 and is expected to hit $4.5 trillion in 2021.

As ecommerce continues to evolve at a rapid pace, e-retailers must keep up with the latest trends to ensure that their customers are happy, and ultimately to stay ahead of their competition. And one of those trends is personalization.

According to Wikipedia, personalization is defined as, “the tailoring of a service or a product to accommodate specific individuals”. When applying personalization to ecommerce, the definition is as simple as, “creating personalized shopping experiences for every customer”.

Consumers Expect Personalized Shopping Experiences

Put yourself in the shoes of a traditional retail brick-and-mortar store owner. Now imagine how your store can flourish if you knew the preferences of every single person who entered your store. What their favorite products were, what they’ve bought in the past and when they’ll need to shop for it again.

With ecommerce, this opportunity is already at our fingertips. This facility is available due to the amount of data collected on every user on the Internet.

While the boundaries for personalized experiences are a majorly debated topic, the majority of people seem to be warming up to it. Since personalization has grown in popularity (thanks to global conglomerates such as Google, Apple, and Amazon), consumers are not just accepting it, but are showing signs that they actually prefer personalization.

According to research from Accenture, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history (see graph below).

Now let’s go back to our retail brick-and-mortar store owner. Imagine if, for every person that entered your store, you could create a personalized shopping experience that was tailored to their needs, their wants and their desires. Wouldn’t that be an amazing experience?

Let’s take a look at the different ways that e-retailers can master the art of personalization and make those consumers always coming back for more.

Types of Personalization

User Generated Content

With the rise of social platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, UGC has become a massive contributor to ecommerce success. What’s better than your customers doing the marketing for you? This trend is seen as the new generation of reviews.

With UGC, merchants can build trust between their brand and their consumers by allowing real live consumers sharing their experiences with the brand, the product, or service. This is an amazing tool that can cost merchants very little to implement. Sometimes it just takes sending a product to an influencer and letting them do the promoting for you.

With tools such as, Evocative, these apps allow merchants to have a shoppable Instagram gallery on their website. This bridges the gap between Instagram and your website, as it allows the consumer to check out on your site.

Adaptation & Robust Site Search

On-Site Search is an often overlooked and undervalued ecommerce tool. However, if used properly, it can work wonders for your online store.

With tech giants like Google and Amazon, consumers expect the search functionality on websites to preform just as great as Google’s. E-retailers can definitely enhance the shopping experience on their site search to enhance the UX. Investing in a robust on-site search tool can allow e-retailers to:

a) Adapt to the Language that Consumers are Used to. For example, if a consumer types “Sneakers” into a website’s search bar, and 0 results come back because your website goes by the term “Running Shoes”, you’ve got yourself a problem. Especially if you actually carry sneakers! With search functions, you’ll be able to create a synonym rule for these types of products with different terms. The same goes for commonly misspelt words, color groupings, and more.

b) Adjustment of Results Based Upon Data

Consider this example. A consumer visits a website and types in “Rolex”. The store doesn’t carry this pricey item, so 0 results come back and the visitor goes looking on another site. Now imagine if instead of the 0 results coming up, there was a message that read “Sorry we don’t carry Rolexes, but check out these other higher end watches”. And the results would show higher end watches that the site does carry. This will enhance the shopping experience and may be enough to save the sale.

Geo Targeting

A shopper in New York will have different shopping preferences than a shopping in Florida. With geo targeting, one can tailor their website accordingly, to a consumer’s specific needs and wants, providing a sense of personalization.

Shipping is a huge factor of the online checkout process. E-retailers can use this tool to automatically show specific location-based messaging to consumers from around the world. Let your local consumers know that shipping is free! Another idea is to display best-selling products based on geolocation.

The basic real-tie data merchants can use in geo-location personalization are:

  • Location (city, country)
  • Device Type (mobile, tablet, desktop)
  • Operating System
  • Traffic Source
  • Weather Condition
  • Number of Visitors on the Same Product Page


This is the feature that Amazon is so greatly known for –and for a good reason! Ecommerce websites have started adapting to this trend of cross-selling and upselling by recommending “similar products”, “frequently bought together”, and “you might like” lists. This strategy not only improves the conversion rates by offering a wider variety of choices, but also helps in maximizing the revenue per user.

Why are recommendations working?

  • They are personal rather than salesy
  • They encourage users to view more products
  • They are engaging and catchy
  • They give a sense of being part of a crowd of users

Final Thoughts

Personalization is a mix between data science and data intelligence. The right mix can create a superb shopping experience for every site visitor. Consumers expect personalized shopping experiences when online shopping. Use it to your advantage and jump ahead of your competition.

About the Author

Michelle Seges is the Sr. Partner Marketing Coordinator at Nextopia Software Corporation, a proud partner of EYStudios. Nextopia is a leader in on-site search and navigation, and provides the tools needed for more browsers to turn into buyers. If you’d like to learn more about how you can personalize your ecommerce website, contact us here. Or you can call us at 888-429-4803.