The ecommerce industry is projected to compound at an annual growth rate of 14.7% by 2027. To stay competitive, businesses are making the shift to personalized marketing, as a way to stand out from the rest.
A great example of personalized marketing is featuring personalized product recommendations in emails. Businesses that have it down to a science can place relevant products in front of consumers, and with a direct impact on their bottom line.
Another good reason to build this capability is that by 2025, 376.4 billion emails are expected to be sent and received, globally! There's massive potential to leverage email as a platform to capture audience attention and drive them towards products that meet their needs and aspirations.
Perfecting your personalized product recommendation game, early on, will help businesses effectively leverage email as a communications tool .
At the same time, businesses need to ensure that they don't take personalization so far, that it gets alarming. There's enough evidence to indicate consumer backlash when personalized marketing borders on online surveillance.
In 2000, the largest online retailer in the world, Amazon, pioneered the trend of displaying product recommendations for online shoppers. Since then, almost all eCommerce businesses have adopted this approach, intending to drive 4 outcomes:
- Customer re-engagement is a key focus for most businesses, and featuring personalized product recommendations in emails drives customer engagement. Customers are more likely to be excited if emails highlight relevant products.
- Consumer interest is more likely to translate to click-through rates, which nudges customers to return to the platform and explore further.
- As customers begin subconsciously looking forward to emails that recommend relevant products, it also incentivizes them to shop more, which translates to revenue growth.
- The personalized product recommendation approach seeds trust and brand loyalty.
Here are some ideas on how to feature personalized product recommendations in emails without appearing intrusive.
Be Strategic With All Transactional Emails
Every ecommerce business sends a host of transactional emails. These can include confirmation emails, password resets, a welcome email, shipping authentication emails, order confirmation emails, and successful delivery notifications.
Consumers are most likely to check transactional emails because every one of them has a functional value. Ecommerce platforms and brands can capitalize on this behavior, by plugging relevant product recommendations, in a tasteful, eye-catching manner.
The email design must not be cluttered. Product displays must be striking yet not overwhelming.
Curate Special Days and Seasonal Emails
The year has several holidays and special occasions during which consumers are grappling with decisions on what to buy. They may end up scrolling through hundreds of products online, only to feel overwhelmed and exhausted from online shopping fatigue.
Consumers are also looking for fresh ideas for gifts to make them more meaningful and relevant to their friends and family.
Featuring relevant product recommendations and unique collections can ease the burden for consumers across occasions and special days - from Mother's Day and Christmas to anniversaries and birthdays.
Ecommerce businesses must get a headstart and plan yearly calendars to get out product recommendations on time.
As these emails land in the inboxes of customers, click-through rates will go up, and in turn, so will conversion rates and online revenues.
Nudge Consumers Towards Their Abandoned Carts
As of March 2021, consumers abandoned 80% of their shopping orders, with the highest rates being in the automotive category at 89.1%.
There are a host of reasons for cart abandonment - lack of trust in the product, high prices, and feeling undecided between multiple products.
For digital shoppers in the US, the top reasons for abandoning carts include high shipping rates, as well as discount codes that do not work. However, in many cases, consumers simply forget to complete purchases because they have been pulled into other activities.
Digital shoppers are likely to check emails with reminders of abandoned carts, and this is an opportunity to also plug in additional product recommendations, based on what they are already looking for.
For instance, if a consumer has left vegan chocolates in their cart, businesses can plug in additional collections of vegan chocolates. This offers a wide choice and also the potential to purchase more products.
Tap Into the Social Proof Cognitive Bias
Consumers tend to want to buy products that have been tried and tested by others. The knowledge that another consumer has already purchased a product inspires trust and safety when it comes to decision-making.
Known as "social proof", many marketers tap into this popular cognitive bias to build trust and sell more.
Showing off your bestsellers in emails at regular intervals nudges people to buy because consumers want social proof that something has worked. Adding reviews further nudges consumers to take a chance on a new product.
Loyalty Program Emails
Another type of email that puts a smile on customers' faces are loyalty program-related emails. They could be to share how many rewards points the customer might have won, or to announce unique offers.
When featuring personalized products in the email, you can also include how many rewards points a customer can win, to make the product appear more appealing.
Some brands also gift reward points on a consumer's birthday or anniversary. This is the perfect opportunity to also feature personalized product recommendations in the email, enticing the consumer to make a purchase.
Including relevant products based on the consumer's shopping history will make them more likely to purchase the product.
Flash the Latest Arrivals
Customers are always looking for fresh products that meet their evolving needs.
Categorizing personalized product recommendations under the "latest arrivals" tag triggers excitement. Some customers may also be inspired to buy out of a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out), yet another cognitive bias exploited by marketers to nudge customers to shop more.
Engaging content can also be curated around new trends and how they might be addressing a consumer's concerns. For instance, if the email copy is about overcoming a dry scalp or managing a hyperactive pet, products such as a paraben-free natural shampoo or an engagement toy can be plugged within the copy.
Announce a Sale
Every month a slew of items go on sale, and many consumers are consistently looking for products at discounted rates.
A curated email around items on sale is a big draw for online shoppers, especially of products they keep browsing but for some reason are hesitant to buy.
Customers are more likely to make purchases, especially if they look forward to sales-related emails every month.
Appreciate Your Customers
Gratitude is a wonderful sentiment appreciated by millions of customers, especially when they have made an effort to recommend your products, make a huge purchase, or have participated in a campaign.
Once you’ve converted a subscriber into a loyal customer, it’s time to say thank you! Businesses are getting more and more innovative crafting customer authentic and endearing appreciation emails. There's no harm in slipping in a few unique products and offers that a customer is likely to connect with while doing so.
We're Back in Stock!
Businesses lose out when a product that a customer desperately wants goes out of stock. However, sometimes due to supply chain issues, this situation is unavoidable.
By including out-of-stock products in an email, the customer is notified when it is available again. This offers a gentle and timely push, encouraging customers to make a purchase.
This action also builds trust and reliability in customers, as your business is proactively helping them meet their needs, rather than pushing random products.
You can also offer customer ratings as social proof to nudge customers to make purchases.
Another approach is to pull products based on the categories that a customer has historically shopped in.
For instance, if they tend to buy a lot of art supplies or outdoor travel gear, this indicates a little about the consumer's personality and interests.
When there are new products on offer in these categories, unique offers, discounts, or a collated email of relevant products can be shipped out. Such emails are sure to delight consumers and nudge them to make a purchase.
There's no doubt customers are looking to experiment with newer products and brands every day.
However, they are also looking to use products that genuinely serve their needs. They want to purchase products of brands that inspire trust and connect to their values.
By featuring personalized product recommendations in emails, customers are likely to explore what businesses have to offer, especially when their approach is not generic or ad hoc, but tailored to their real-time evolving needs.
- What to pledge
- How to improve
- Which tools will set you up for success
I think the most important thing brands can do in 2023 is to better manage their customer data—both ethically and effectively. There’s an opportunity for brands to know their customers better than ever before—a clear benefit for both the customer and the brand. When you manage your data correctly, you’ll create stronger and more personalized ads, creative, site experiences, and so much more.
This is a classic: Let the data guide you. Go where the buyers for your products are and communicate with them on a personal level (i.e. by persona and funnel position) and nurture those relationships (past, present, and future customers). It’s possible—all through data.
We recommend that Shopify brands analyze and update their websites using data-driven decisions. Using analytics tools such as heatmaps and scrollmaps can help brands better understand how customers are interacting with their store.
Store owners tend to make assumptions about the way customers interact with their website. Most never go back and analyze their design choices to find pain points or areas of opportunity. By using heatmaps and scrollmaps, they can see where real customers are clicking and concentrating their attention. Leveraging this data, brands can start to iterate on design and make their online store experience streamlined and intuitive.
Hotjar provides a simple way to implement heatmaps, scrollmaps, and recorded user sessions on your site, helping you acquire incredibly informative user data. Additionally, it gives you the ability to create on-site surveys, which allows you to obtain direct and often critical feedback from users about their experience.
Test various attribution models and analyze the impact on your business. At Fifty Six, we are always here to help our clients identify and optimize their approach—a critical step in any successful marketing strategy.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times–Customer Lifetime Value. And even more importantly, Future Lifetime Value (FLTV). With the ever-growing importance of first-party data, it is crucial that brands take a good look at their CRM and FLTV metrics.
Stop allocating budgets to low-hanging fruit that doesn’t move the needle on conversion. Think about what’s really going to improve your CX and the return of undertaking different initiatives—not just on what’s top on your list of bugbears on the site!
One of the best ways to understand your customer behavior is by using HotJar. Their heat-mapping and screen recording tools shine a light on where customers are navigating to and from on your site, where they're rage clicking and experiencing frustration, and where conversion is dropping off within real life customer journeys and flows!
Understanding your customers’ pain points via data and analytics , will allow you to work with your CRO/CX Agency to solve customer frustrations and improve conversion.
Rewind backs up all product, customer, and order data for Shopify sites—essential since Shopify itself doesn’t provide this solution. It's saved so many of our clients time and money from administrative accidents.
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33% of customer service inquiries are pre-sale questions. What does this mean? If you’re not investing in customer service, you’re missing out on revenue-generating opportunities.
The benefits of elevating your customer experience:
- 10% to 25% increase in AOV for customers who engage with live chat pre-purchase
- 21x higher conversion rate for customers who reach out via Live Chat or SMS compared to other site visitors
- 87% of customers who have a great customer experience will make another purchase
- 72% of customers share positive experiences with 6 or more individuals
Gorgias is our favorite Helpdesk platform. They can reduce costs by 35%, primarily by decreasing the average ticket handle time. Their machine learning algorithms are trained on millions of ecommerce-related interactions across Gorgias’ customer base and provide accurate, automated replies for the most common ecommerce inquiries. This helps our agents resolve tickets faster, which provides the customer a seamless experience.
Trust your agency! Agencies do the same things across multiple brands and niches, so we see the trends and have the practice and experience!
Don't be afraid of data and insights. If customers aren't clicking on your emails, try a new CTA. If your ads are driving good metrics at a small spend, start scaling. If your customers are complaining about a product, look into QA! If the data tells you something isn't working, let it go and try something else!
I'm supposed to say Tydo, right? 😉
Double down on differentiation. There will be a lot of headwinds this year and standing out from the crowd will set you apart.
A picture is worth 1,000 words. A video? Probably millions. In ecommerce that value translates into engagement, acquisition, and retention—everything you need to impact your bottom line.
At soona, we've seen the we've seen the impact of creative and the continuous split testing of it yield results. Our resolution is to challenge ourselves and double down on innovation and creative optionality so that each brand we work with can distinguish themselves in a crowded sea of D2C ecomm. We'd love to see our brands share this resolution and keep pushing the creative limits.
Klaviyo. We're using it to power our email and newsletter at soona too!
Optimize your returns strategy! This can lead to valuable customer insights, enhanced user experiences, and increased revenue and customer loyalty.
Brands need to dive deeper into understanding their customers to set themselves up for success. Conduct research to gain insights into customer needs, preferences, and behaviors. By doing so, you can develop targeted strategies that will enhance customer experience and boost overall retention.
Right now I would say Gorgias. Having a good customer service tool is crucial to building strong customer relationships.
Start paying heavy attention to data, specifically around retention. We see a lot of effort put towards acquisition with the assumption that once someone buys, they are your customer forever. Instead, get to know your customer, understand their needs, and analyze their behaviors once they are on-site and judge their sentiment after they have visited. Work with a retention focused and data-driven agency to implement tools that contribute to repeat business and customer delight. It will pay dividends.
When surveyed, about 80% of ecommerce merchants think that they are delivering a great experience to their customers. However, when the same customers are surveyed, only 8% of those customers think that they are getting a great experience from the merchant. Now, more than ever, retaining loyal customers is an essential part of any online business and you should spend time with your customers to judge their experience with your website and products and offer improvements based on that feedback.
Tydo's report cards are an essential tool, along with Klaviyo for email and SMS, Recharge for subscriptions and memberships, Okendo for reviews and surveys, Rebuy for AI driven collections and upsells, Loop for self service returns... each tool is great on their own, but their strength as the ultimate tool comes from when they are used together!
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