Keep it personal to win in ecommerce

There’s far more to ecommerce than buying up a little corner of the web, sticking up your baubles and hoping folk will reach for their credit cards.

Surprisingly, you’ll need some kind of mechanism for driving sales. Which means you need an optimisation strategy. For those among you for whom the marketing-tech landscape might as well be the dashboard of the Starship Enterprise, that can seem daunting.

There’s also not a whole heap of quantitative data on how effective various techniques are. That’s where Qubit comes in.

Who’s Qubit? It’s a marketing-personalisation technology company. Yes, that’s a thing. They’ve just made public the results of a huge analysis of ecommerce user journeys. How huge? Think of a woolly mammoth, then imagine it on top of the Burj Khalifa.

The company examined 120 million purchases and more than two billion user journeys to work out the effect on revenue of various optimisation techniques.

Says Sam Tomlinson, partner at Price Waterhouse Coopers, which audited the data, “My team worked with the Qubit data science team to subject their methodology – i.e. their data capture, calculations and reporting – to our rigorous independent assurance procedures.

“The report by Qubit provides a detailed analysis of today’s marketing toolkit and, given the scale and depth of data analysed, is the first of its kind that I have seen.”

OK, Sam, give us the lowdown.

Well, it seems that getting the right technique can see a 6% lift in revenue.

Here are the top techniques:

  • Highlighting items low in stock brought a rise in revenue per visitor of 2.9%
  • Highlighting what other users were buying increased revenue by 2.3%
  • Using time limits improved revenue by 1.5%.

Things you’d probably want to avoid include significant design changes to pages, changes involving buttons, and altering navigation bars or link structure.

If you really want to win, it seems you should keep it personal. Personalisation based on the personal preferences or recorded behaviour of consumers worked out three times better than untargeted strategies.

Qubit also found that nearly three-quarters of online shoppers spend most of their money on just three to five websites. Between you and me, we suspect the yellow auction site and the one with the firestick and the huge warehouse are among them.

Half enjoy getting product recommendations based on their interests. And another 48% are happy to share this information to get a better shopping experience.

More than four in five said that targeted promotions should be based on their own preferences. It also seems that asking for personal information, such as the customer’s granny’s shoe size, then failing to use that information to create a personalised shopping experience, is asking for trouble.


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Author Chris Painter

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