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Don’t get left behind: The new rules of ecommerce personalization

At its best, ecommerce personalization is a comprehensive strategy for creating individualized shopping experiences that cater to the unique preferences, behaviors, and needs of each customer. Rather than focusing on isolated features like product recommendations, a holistic personalization strategy integrates various elements — such as personalized content, tailored marketing messages, and customized user interfaces — across the entire customer journey. 

This approach leverages advanced data analytics and AI to continuously gather and analyze customer data, providing a seamless and cohesive experience that feels bespoke to each user. Every touchpoint is seen as an opportunity to enhance the customer experience.

That being said, personalization strategies and tools are constantly evolving, influenced by advances in technology, changes in consumer behavior, and new regulations. Read on to find out which tactics you should leave behind and which strategies to implement to stay ahead of the ecommerce curve.

Outdated personalization tactics you should consider giving up

Third-party cookies

Once the backbone of cross-site tracking and ad targeting, third-party cookies are now becoming obsolete. Due to increased privacy concerns and regulations like GDPR and CCPA, reliance on third-party cookies has diminished. 

Browsers like Safari and Firefox have blocked third-party cookies, and Google plans to phase them out. Customers are also getting more privacy-savvy — so make sure you don’t lose business by underestimating the impact of the way you collect customer data.

Basic demographic targeting

Simple demographic personalization (based on, for example, age or gender) is now considered too generic and often insufficient. Modern consumers expect more relevant and nuanced interactions based on their actual behaviors and preferences. 

What to do instead? Use contextual data, such as the user’s device, location, and time of day, to tailor the shopping experience. And, most importantly, personalize based on actual, individual interactions.

Mass email campaigns

The era of one-size-fits-all email blasts is over. With advancements in data analytics and AI, businesses can now segment their audiences more precisely and target them with highly personalized messages. Generic mass email campaigns often fail to engage recipients who expect personalized, behavior-triggered communications that resonate with their specific interests and needs.

Pop-ups and interstitials

While pop-ups can still be effective, the intrusive, generic approach is losing favor. Modern consumers find these interruptions annoying, and search engines like Google penalize sites that overuse them, impacting SEO. 

Redundant pop-ups include anything that appears immediately upon visiting a site without offering any context or value, pop-ups that appear after a set amount of time regardless of user activity or engagement, and especially multiple aggressive pop-ups appearing simultaneously or sequentially.

Cutting-edge personalization strategies to adapt 

First-party data utilization

Focus on collecting and leveraging first-party data directly from your interactions with customers. This data is more reliable and privacy-compliant, allowing you to create highly personalized experiences based on genuine user insights. 

By combining customer data from your analytics tools, personalization engine, and CRM/CDM, you get a holistic view of your visitors overall as well as each individual customer’s interactions and preferences.

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs)

Implement a CDP to unify customer data from various sources, creating comprehensive user profiles. CDPs provide a 360-degree view of your customers, enabling more effective and consistent personalization across all channels. 

This unified approach helps streamline marketing efforts, reduce data silos, and ensure that every customer interaction is informed by the most up-to-date and relevant information.

Omnichannel personalization

Leverage POS data as a source of insights used for personalization. By integrating POS data with other customer data, you can gain a comprehensive view of customer behavior across all touchpoints. 

This enables you to tailor experiences that are consistent both online and offline, enhancing customer satisfaction and increasing sales through more precise and relevant personalization strategies.

Hyper-personalized email marketing

Move beyond basic segmentation to hyper-personalized email marketing. Tailor your emails based on individual behaviors, preferences, and purchase history to deliver highly relevant messages that drive engagement and sales. 

This level of personalization not only increases open and click-through rates but also fosters deeper customer relationships, encouraging repeat business and long-term loyalty.

Personalized search results

Make product discovery faster and drive the visitor directly to a relevant funnel. Personalizing search results leverages valuable customer data, such as past purchase history, browsing behavior, and demographic information. 

This data-driven approach ensures that the search functionality is continuously optimized based on real user insights.

Automated audiences

Forget manual segmentation and personalize in real time based on visitor affinity. Best personalization tools already use advanced algorithms to analyze visitor behavior and preferences, delivering personalized content and offers instantly. 

This real-time personalization adapts to changing user needs and interests. It also saves you a lot of manual work as you don’t have to spend time on building complex segmentation strategies.