Today’s western society is very much focused on individualism. The explosive growth of personal devices and the number of private social media accounts illustrate this. As a result, consumers are making their own decisions, based on the information available on the web. As an organization you have to make sure that you provide the information each consumer is looking for. To succeed in this, personalizing your website is essential.
The reason for personalization
The first step in personalizing your website is to understand the reason why personalization is important. You may have a successful website with 6500 visitors each day. However, when you do not personalize your site, all 6500 visitors will get to see the same page while they all have their own reasons and motivations for visiting your website. They may not directly find what they are looking for. As a result, the bouncing rate of your site might be quite high as people are only viewing that one page. Although you would have many visitors, they may immediately leave because the website is not providing them with the information they are looking for.
How can you personalize your website?
Then how does content personalization work? Well, if someone is typing ‘secondhand surfboard’ in Google, your site can analyze this search by the words ‘secondhand’ and ‘surfboard’. If your website is for example built around outdoor sports, you can lead this customer directly to the page that offers secondhand surfboards instead of showing him the general homepage. By analyzing the IP-address of this customer, you can even optimize your secondhand surfboards based on a geographical location. If this customer actually buys a secondhand surfboard you can recommend other products based on the previous purchase, a wetsuit for example. All in all, the data you need to personalize your website are customer context, customer behavior and demographics. The latest can be gathered when a consumer is entering personal data when purchasing the product, such as address, age and gender.
Additionally, an investigation of invesp (an optimization company), shows us a couple of interesting findings:
- 56% of online shoppers are more likely to return to a site that recommends products.
- 53% of online shoppers feel that retailers who provide a personalized shopping experience are providing something valuable.
- 59% of online shoppers find it easier to find interesting products on personalized websites.
- 57% of online shoppers do not mind providing demographics or other personal data as long as it is for their benefit.
According to these findings, it seems that personalization is beneficial for both companies and customers. However as in many cases, there is often a negative-side effect. The image below illustrates this perfectly.
This image shows us that privacy and personalization are closely related. To get your websites or advertisements personalized, companies and marketers have to use tracking software, such as cookies. As mentioned earlier, customers’ attitudes are positively shaped around personalized items, but at the same time as you can see in the graph below, they are very suspicious when it comes to privacy sensitive issues.
All in All, we can say that there is still a communication gap between privacy sensitive items and the personalization of websites, products and advertising. The key focus as an organization that is personalizing its website should be on the following points:
- Be transparent – Treat your customers the way you would like to be treated and thus inform them about everything you do. In this way you will prevent suspicion among your customers.
- Ask for permission when using tracking software – You should always have some sort of a warning on your website or ask for permission when making use of tracking cookies.
- Keep in touch with your customers – This could be via social media, e-mail, newsletters etc. Make sure you are in a two-way communication flow. This gains trust among your customers.
- Focus on Conversion Rate Optimization – In this way you create value for both the consumer and the organization, by improving your (personalized) website to the needs of the customer and the goals of the organization.