How small businesses can personalize their online shop

More and more businesses are deciding to take the digital route in addition to brick-and-mortar retail. Fueled primarily by the ongoing pandemic. However, the competition online is fierce. But do smaller, newer shops even stand a chance against the eCommerce giants? 


There is a great deal of uncertainty among many marketers, and the prevailing opinion is: personalization is only an option for large companies with vast amounts of customer data and millions of users – small companies don’t have enough technical capacity and insufficient customer data. That’s not true though!


Personalization does not necessarily require large amounts of customer data – there are numerous options for adapting to the needs of your customers. Even smaller shops can easily address their users individually using different approaches.

Your Data is worth more than you think

Unfortunately, many online retailers squander valuable potential by assuming they have too little customer data and therefore prefer not to personalize their website at all. Yet they often miss out on clues that could provide them with valuable data. After all, every user entering the shop provides a lot of information that can be used to personalize their experience. With each additional click the user produces, the experience can be individualized even further.


One very important factor for personalization is the click-in channel. Where exactly does your user come from? With this information, first affinities and behavioral patterns can be estimated. Users entering the shop via a price comparison site are presumably looking for a bargain, in contrast to a user arriving via Google Shopping and having a specific product in mind. Users coming from platforms like Pinterest or Instagram may be more interested in inspiration than users entering via blogs. The latter would probably be more interested in hard facts about the product. And as different as the click-in channels are, so are the needs of your customers.


Alternative product recommendations are particularly important for users accessing via Google Shopping as they enter on a product detail page. If the users don’t like the product, they return to Google. In order to avoid this and not lose paid traffic, even smaller online shops can make use of the advantage of displaying recommendations.

Product recommendations such as “Other customers also bought” or “You might also be interested in” are placed on the product detail page, often above the product itself. This way, if the user does not like the product he is originally looking at, he might consider one of the alternatives and will not leave the shop immediately. In addition, suitable accessories can also be recommended to users. Ideally they will then even add one or two more products to their shopping cart.


Even the location of the respective user is of great interest to the online shop. By using geotargeting, special regional offers can be displayed in the user’s region, while offers that are not available can be hidden. Furthermore, it is possible to integrate suitable elements depending on the weather conditions: If it is raining at the users’ location, waterproof clothing will appear on the website. If the sun is shining, the user might be more interested in summer clothes, BBQs or sunscreen. This increases the relevance for your users, without having to know a lot about them.


Marketers have a great deal of data at their disposal when looking at onsite behavior – customers don’t even have to be logged in. Every filter set, every product viewed, and even the search terms entered reveal more about the user’s intentions. Through segmentation, which can be refined dynamically, the web shop can thus respond effectively to the interests of the users.


If the user enters the website and first clicks on the men’s section, he moves to the “Men’s fashion” segment. The offers for women’s fashion thus move into the background. If the user then repeatedly looks at sneakers, he is probably looking for new stylish shoes. The current offer for business clothes can then be replaced by an offer for sneakers. Perhaps the user is particularly interested in white sneakers? Then bright colors might not be the best choice for a recommendation. Step by step, the content becomes more relevant for the user.


If available, the customer account can also provide valuable information. Should, for example, demographic data such as name and gender be known, the user can be personally greeted on the homepage and directly guided to the appropriate categories and corresponding products. In addition, the shop can surprise him with a voucher on his birthday. Using the information from the customer account, the shopping process can be facilitated and the customer’s needs can be brought to the fore. 

Testing is the key!

There are many possibilities to adapt the webshop to the user, even for smaller shops – so make use of it! Personalization offers a great advantage over your competition and improves the customer experience on your website.


With personalization, it is not the amount of data that matters, but rather the smart use of it! But even for smaller shops, testing your changes is essential. How is the webshop received by the users? Are the actions used worthwhile at all? Testing is the only way to know whether you can actually compete with the ever-increasing competition. Smaller shops should also resort to simple A/B tests, because the less traffic there is on the individual variants, the longer it takes for reliable results to emerge. Over time, you will learn what your users like and what they don’t.


So do smaller, newer shops stand a chance against the e-commerce giants? 

Yes, indeed! Not only does it give shop operators the opportunity to start small and score points with a special user experience,  the recommendation rate will also increase as well!


Related Posts
trbo Insights – Karyna's Favorite Feature
Karyna shows you how a survey can positively influence the performance of your shop.
Read More
Conversational Commerce and Personalization teamed up – the future of e-commerce?
Why conversational commerce and personalization should be an unbeatable combination.
Read More
The Everyday Impact of Customer Experience: Cosmetics and Beauty
Discover how the cosmetics and beauty industry can improve consumers' daily lives.
Read More