A Brief Guide to Personalized Marketing for Ecommerce

A Brief Guide to Personalized Marketing for Ecommerce
Ivan Kreimer Ivan Kreimer May 11, 2021 —  9 min read

Picture this:

A visitor lands on your store and gets a popup that highlights a discount for a product they had been interested in buying for some time.

Soon after, the visitor ends up purchasing the product, something that wouldn’t have happened hadn’t the visitor received such a relevant offer.

What do you think would happen if every visitor would get targeted, personalized offers like this one?

Your sales would skyrocket 🚀

The practice we’ve just described is known as marketing personalization, and it’s one of the most efficient ways to increase sales.

Want to learn more? In this article, we will look at how you can leverage the power of marketing personalization in your online store.

What’s personalized marketing?

Personalized marketing is the practice of tailoring a marketing message based on data collected from your visitors, which includes their demographics, interests, purchase history, and more.

Personalization isn’t new; marketers have been using custom fields with their subscribers' personal information and retargeting past visitors to their sites for decades.

The critical change that has come up is the new technologies available that allow marketers to get even more detailed into the data they can get from their visitors and how they can embed this data within the marketing strategy.

According to Instapage, there are six levels of personalization in marketing:

  • Level 0: Targeting based on need or want (e.g., budget, goals, etc.) and the user's country and/or state
  • Level 1: Targeting based on the combination of need or want and the user's city
  • Level 2: The same as above, plus micro-geographic location (zip code) and demographic information (age, gender, income, etc.)
  • Level 3: The same as above plus general individual interest (sports, travel, technology, etc.)
  • Level 4: The same as above plus specific niche interests (music preferences, hobbies, etc.) and buying intent based on search keywords
  • Level 5: The same as above plus historical behavioral patterns such as purchase history, voting record, web page visited, and so on

Later on, we’ll see how you can extract this laser-focused data from your visitors, but before we get into that, let’s see why marketing personalization is crucial for your business.

Why should you add personalization to your ecommerce marketing strategy

Marketers know for a fact no buyer likes to be sold, except when they receive relevant offers.

SmarterHQ found that 72% of shoppers act on marketing messages only when they are customized to their interests.

An Epsilon research report found that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.

An Evergage survey found that marketers see the highest benefits of personalization on their visitor’s engagement (55%), customer experience (55%), and conversion rates (51%).

Main benefits from marketing personalization in ecommerce – chart

In the next section, we’ll discuss three ways you can personalize your ecommerce marketing strategy, including:

  • Collect data with the help of survey popups and use it to send more relevant emails
  • Create retargeting ad campaigns for your abandoned cart shoppers
  • Tailor your landing page copy for your visitors’ profiles

Marketing personalization 101

On the basic level, marketing personalization consists of two steps: collecting the right data and segmenting it around your audience.

Step 1. Collect the right data without disturbing the visitor

The level of personalization you can implement will depend on the visitor data you have collected. The more you know about the visitor, the more you can personalize your marketing communications.

To start, define what you want to know about your visitors. You want to collect everything you need to personalize their experience without disturbing them or annoying them. Ask yourself:

  • What parts of your marketing strategy do I want to personalize?
  • What information is my marketing strategy missing?
  • What don't I know about my visitors that I should know?

Once you decide what information you need from your visitor, you need to start collecting the data. But how do you go about it?

At the minimum, you should aim to collect the visitor’s email address.

You can also ask your visitors for their name, age, gender, and preferences (e.g., product categories they are interested in), but since they can open an account with your company and give you this information later, it's best to avoid taking such an upfront approach to data gathering.

In this sense, it’s best to strive for a minimalistic approach first and collect more data later on. Most of the other information mentioned in the five levels of personalizations you saw earlier can be acquired by your analytics tools, so there’s no need to ask them where they live or what they like.

For example, if you’re offering free shipping, you can display a message like this one without having to ask visitors where they’re from — the app you’re using will extract this data automatically based on the visitor’s browser settings:

Now that we have covered this crucial part of the process let’s talk about tools. There are dozens of tools that let you collect, organize, and enrich your visitor’s data. We can categorize these tools into four groups:

  • Web analytics tools: Google Analytics, Clicky, Mixpanel, and Heap allow you to organize and analyze your visitor’s data. You can gather generic pixel-based data or targeted event-based data to show you what your visitors do on your site and how they interact with it.

  • Email marketing tools: Every large email marketing platform such as ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, and Klaviyo lets you personalize your email marketing communication based on behavioral data (e.g., purchases, abandoned carts, etc.)

  • Lead enrichment tools: Tools like FullContact and Clearbit give you more detailed data about your email subscribers based on their email addresses.

  • Customer surveys: You can use tools like Getsitecontrol to conduct surveys and extract detailed information about your visitors.

❗ Before we move on, you need to remember to notify your visitors about your privacy policy and reassure them that your company won’t sell their data.

Step 2. Segment the data around your personas

Once you start collecting data from your visitors, you need to segment it around four categories:

  • Demographics: This segmentation type helps you design ads and write copy that best fits within a specific customer segment. For example, creating an ad that uses an image of 60-year-olds targeted towards a segment of that age.

  • Spending levels: This is useful for creating email marketing and retargeting campaigns for high-spenders (e.g., offering a loyalty program) or low-spenders (e.g., offering a discount).

  • Product interests:: This option is great to offer relevant products. For example, showing customers products close or within a specific category (or subcategory) they have engaged from your catalog.

  • Buying patterns: This segmentation option is ideal to anticipate a buyer’s habits. For example, sending more promotional emails to customers tends to increase their spending 30 days before Christmas.

Look at the data you have collected about your customer personas and see which segmentation option is best for you. For example, target a high-spender persona based on their spending levels, a university student persona based on their age and occupation, and so on.

3 ways to personalize your ecommerce marketing strategy

You have the data and the segments; now what?

In this section, we’ll explore three methods you can use this data to personalize your marketing strategy.

Personalize your emails

The first way to personalize your ecommerce marketing strategy is to start with your emails. Your ecommerce platform already collects data from all of the four categories mentioned previously, which you can pass onto your email marketing tool.

Experian study found that 26% of consumers are more likely to open a personalized email, and those emails drive 6x times more transactions than a generic one.

Another report found that 58% of all revenue is generated by targeted and segmented emails.

One way to get started with personalization is to write emails leveraging primary customer data, such as their name, location, and gender. However, you can also use the information about the products or product categories they were browsing.

Take this email from Skillshare. Not only do they use personalization in the email subject, but they also feature new classes from the category that customer was exploring during the last visit.

Personalized email marketing example from Skillshare

Another example is educational emails. Such may be the case if you sell technical or complex products. For instance, you can send an automated email sequence sharing tips and tutorials on the best ways to use the product they’ve purchased.

SaaS and software companies tend to focus extensively on educational email campaigns to increase activation and retention rates right after acquiring a new user.

Educational email as an example of marketing personalization

You can also send behavioral-based emails. The goal is to target behaviors that correlate with a customer completing a purchase, such as:

  1. Abandoned cart shoppers: You remind a customer about the product they left on their cart.
  2. Loyal customers: You send offers to customers who buy regularly.
  3. Profitable customers: You send offers to customers whose average order value is high.
  4. Inactive shoppers: You remind shoppers who used to buy but have stopped doing to return again with discounts and other tactics.

Abandoned cart emails are a great example of marketing personalization

Personalize your retargeting ads

Retargeting is one of marketing’s most impactful methods to bring back people to your store. Whether they are one-time visitors or the top 1% of customers, retargeting’s power lies in its simplicity and laser-focus targeting capabilities.

Imagine that a significant part of your first-time visitors spends 10 minutes and watches ten products on average. With retargeting, you could show ads that promote the exact products they watched as they browse through different sites. So if a visitor goes to read a newspaper or logs in to Facebook, you could show them your ads for weeks or months after they visited your site.

Pixel-based retargeting allows personalizing social media ads

One study found that retargeting ads are 76% more likely to get clicks than display ads, while another one revealed that retargeted consumers are 70% more likely to convert.

Why is regathering so effective? Because consumers know the brands that promote them, dissipating any trust issues they could have. And if you personalize your ads with all the data you gather, your ads will also be laser-focused on their interests.

There are two main ways you can retarget your visitors:

  • Using pixel-based data. Every major social network such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Snapchat allows you to install a cookie on your visitor’s browsers, which you can use to retarget them. Companies like Google and Bing use the same technology and most retargeting platforms like AdRoll and ReTargeter

  • Using list-based data. In this case, you upload a list of email addresses or phone numbers that the retargeting platform uses to “find” the user and advertise to. Almost every major ad network allows for list-based campaigns, including Facebook and Google

These strategies aren’t mutually exclusive, so it’s best you use both simultaneously.

The main benefit of pixel technology is reach — e.g., you can retarget a great part of your site visitors all at once — whereas list-based campaigns are more specific — e.g., you target your email subscribers and past customers.

Since retargeting campaigns base their creatives on banners, you want to create different graphics for each segment you target. Some examples:

  • Create banners that show the same demographics as the target audience
  • Show past customers related products to the ones they recently purchased
  • Promote the product that your visitors have seen the most
  • Promote the products a visitor left in their cart

Personalize your landing pages

Your landing pages are like ads; they persuade a visitor to take a specific action. For an ecommerce business, that will be to add a product to the cart or learn more about a product after a visitor clicked on an ad.

At the very minimum, you can personalize a visitor’s experience on your website by featuring their name, location, or the product they’re viewing on a CTA popup:

To deeper personalize your landing pages, you can create segments based on data gathered from your store’s customers and use that information much like you do with an email.

One way to aggregate your data most effectively is to use a tool like Segment, which allows you to take the data from all the tools mentioned earlier and pass it back to your landing pages software like Optimizely or Instapage.

Personalizing your landing pages will work best when it’s synced with a retargeting ad campaign.

You want to personalize both the ad — what’s known as the “pre-click” stage — and the landing page — the “post-click” stage — simultaneously.

For example, Secret personalized their landing pages with their ads and saw a 32% increase in conversions than the control version.

Secret Escape landing page personalization case study

Another case is to personalize your blog posts to promote relevant lead magnets.

For example, ProfitWell used a set of personalized content blocks that dynamically showed the most relevant lead magnet on each article. With this tactic, ProfitWell saw a 162% increase in email subscribers.

Profitwell lead magnet personalization case study

The same strategy applies to product recommendations, which allows you to show products similar to the ones the visitor has previously seen or purchased on your product pages. This approach has shown to increase the average order value by 369%.

Personalized product recommendations increase AOV – chart

At the same time, showing personalized recommendations on the cart page has shown to reduce cart abandonment rates by 4.35%.


The future of ecommerce marketing is personalization. The marketing industry will continue to evolve, giving personalization an ever more important role in the way marketers run campaigns.

It's why you need to start making your ecommerce marketing strategy more personalized. Pick any of the three methods mentioned above — email, retargeting, and landing page copy — and make your visitors feel like you know them. They will be happy about it, and your business will thrive as well.

Ivan Kreimer is a freelance content writer for hire who creates educational content for SaaS businesses like Leadfeeder and Campaign Monitor. In his pastime, he likes to help people become freelance writers. Besides writing for smart people who read sites like Getsitecontrol, Ivan has also written in sites like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, TheNextWeb, and many other influential websites.

You're reading Getsitecontrol blog where marketing experts share proven tactics to grow your online business. This article is a part of Ecommerce marketing section.

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