ECommerce Personalization: What It Is and How to Get Started

ECommerce Personalization: What It Is and How to Get Started
eCommerce personalization is becoming more important as consumers use social and mobile apps that offer shopping personalization. Here's what you need to know to get started.
by Chidinma Nnamani Feb 27, 2023 — 6 min read
ECommerce Personalization: What It Is and How to Get Started

Personalization is fast becoming an essential, rather than optional, eCommerce strategy. According to research by McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect personalized interactions from businesses, and 76% get frustrated when interactions are impersonal. Nearly half of all consumers (48%) have abandoned a purchase on a business’s website because it was poorly curated. 

Perhaps the more telling statistic is the number of customers who are willing to spend more on businesses that invest in personalization. According to research by Accenture, 91% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from brands that remember their preferences and provide relevant offers and recommendations. As social and mobile platforms offer consumers a curated and customized shopping experience, incorporating personalization into eCommerce is critical to winning and retaining customers. 

If you’re considering eCommerce personalization strategies for your business, here’s everything you need to know and some tips for success. 

What is eCommerce personalization?

eCommerce personalization is the practice of tailoring a customer’s shopping experience to match their individual preferences. It involves using customer information such as age or gender, past purchases, or browsing behaviors to dynamically deliver product recommendations, content, and special offers. 

The good news is that customers are willing to provide information that can help businesses deliver a more personalized shopping experience. Salesforce found that shoppers would be happy to share their personal information if it would translate to more tailored experiences, including information such as birthdays, sizes, and phone numbers, as well as lifestyle preferences.

Benefits of eCommerce personalization

Increased revenue: Companies that succeed at personalization generate 40% more revenue from those activities than average players, according to research by McKinsey. In addition, personalization can boost conversion rates and ultimately increase sales. Results from research by Netcore/Wakefield show that for retailers, personalization can boost conversion rates by 45% on average. 


The best eCommerce personalization tools for increased sales

As a business owner, there are a lot of personalization options available to you. Below are some of the most important tools to consider.

1. Your online store or website

Your website or online store is a crucial personalization tool. First, it’s usually the best place to collect firsthand customer data through opt-in or sign-up forms. Second, you can gather valuable insight by studying your online store statistics and then tailor content based on shopper behaviors. For example, you can offer a special discount to first-time shoppers in exchange for their emails and show customized product recommendations to returning customers.

Square Online offers personalized order screens to show customers dynamic landing pages based on their past interactions or activities, as well as a customized app-like mobile shopping experience for consumers shopping on their mobile devices. Customers can create accounts, track orders, and see personalized recommendations based on order history.

2. Text and email marketing tools

Email remains one of the most personal and direct communication channels open for your business, and according to the Square Future of Commerce report, 60% of consumers want to hear from businesses via email. Text and email marketing tools, such as Square Marketing, allow you to send personalized email campaigns and build a one-on-one relationship with your customers. For example, you can send special email- or text-only offers based on previous purchases, or set up different types of automated campaigns, including welcome and win-back emails, birthday offers, and loyalty anniversary celebration emails.  

3. Social commerce tools

Social commerce is on the rise as more sales continue to happen directly through social media channels. Consumers no longer need to leave their favorite social platform to make a purchase, which can mean a faster checkout process and fewer abandoned carts.

Social media feeds are algorithm-driven, and this could work in your favor as a business owner. If content from your page is recommended to a social media user, it’s probably because they’ve shown interest in similar products in the past, so they are more likely to buy from you. And if someone already follows your page, that shows they have an interest in your product or service. Your goal, then, is to ensure a seamless shopping experience for both new and returning customers and simplify the checkout process on their preferred social platform.  

If you have a Square Online site, you can do this, for example, by syncing your Square Item Library to Instagram or Facebook so you can create shoppable posts. Since the sale happens directly on your Square Online site, you can collect valuable data that you can use in your marketing campaigns and loyalty programs to increase repeat purchases.

4. Visual commerce tools

Visual commerce involves using fascinating visual content and augmented reality to attract customers and improve their shopping experience. With visual commerce tools, you can generate product photos that are personalized and more meaningful to your customers, helping to create a customized shopping experience. For example, with a visual configuration tool like Threekit, shoppers can customize their products or create and preview 3D versions of a product in their preferred spaces before making a purchase. 

5. Loyalty programs 

Loyalty incentives can help enhance personalization while shopping, both online and in-store. Loyal customers are more likely to make repeat purchases: Square found that sellers who use Square Loyalty see a 40% increase in customer visit frequency. You can start a digital customer loyalty program from your Square Online site to encourage repeat customers, track purchases, and provide rewards and incentives that are tailored to specific customer segments. 

How to create a successful eCommerce personalization strategy 

1. Segment your customers 

The first step is to group customers based on shared characteristics, such as age, geographic location, or purchasing behavior. To create meaningful segments, study the customer data you’ve collected from all your existing sales channels and identify the customer groups that are most important to your business. 

For example, the Square Customer Directory automatically creates smart groups like new, regular, and lapsed customers based on your sales data. These groups can be targeted in your email or text campaigns, or you can create other custom groups that fit your business. 

2. Identify personalization opportunities

Once your customers are in distinct groups, you can start to brainstorm ways to personalize and improve the shopping experience for each segment. For example, you can create a welcome email campaign that is sent only to first-time customers. You can dynamically pull in the customer’s name and provide product recommendations that are similar to the items they just purchased. That way, the email is tailored to each customer. 

You can also create new offers for specific customer groups and create or revise existing content on your website to meet the needs of different customer groups.

3. Deploy tools and technology that support your personalization efforts

Delivering cohesive, personalized experiences at scale is impossible without technology. You’ll need to find technologies that enable you to dynamically deliver personalized content, offers, or product recommendations. Square tools provide all the essential features you need to deliver a consistent and personalized omnichannel shopping experience

Square Customer Directory, for example, is a free customer relationship management tool that is built into all your Square payment tools and gives you a 360-degree view of customer interactions with your business across various touchpoints. The Customer Directory helps you understand your customers better so you can make more informed marketing decisions and build a personalized, lasting relationship with each one.  

Ecommerce personalization ideas to try

Below are some curated examples of eCommerce personalization you can adopt in your business. 

By channel:


By shared characteristic:


Tips for delivering a personalized customer experience

Chidinma Nnamani
Chidinma Nnamani writes about the food industry, digital marketing, and technology — and explores the fine spaces where they intersect. She works with B2B startups and agencies, helping them deliver clear, actionable, and insightful content for business audiences.


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