5 ways to harness the power of website personalization


At the end of the workday, you jump in your car and get hit with a notification from Apple Maps: “15 minutes to Home. Traffic is normal right now.” This is personalization in a nutshell. Your phone knows your daily routine and give you a heads up before you even have a chance to buckle your seatbelt. No more having to input the same data over and over again. 


We live in a connected world where convenience is king. Today, many users accept (and even appreciate) their devices’ expanding role in their lives. 64% of customers are OK with retailers saving their purchase history and personal preferences if more personalization is offered. And for 84% of customers, being treated like a person­ instead of a number is crucial to winning their business. In this age of atrophied brand loyalty, delivering more precise personalization than your competitors can make all the difference. 

84% of customers say being treated like a person—instead of a number is crucial to winning their business.

  • Salesforce Research, 2018

What is User Experience (UX) Personalization? Why Is it Important?
Personalization is anticipation and real-time customization. It allows you to deliver relevant content and functionality that resonates with your customers and shepherds them through the conversion funnel. When you personalize your website or app, you predict what your users are looking for before they even have a chance to ask.
Through continuous optimization, UX personalization learns and adapts to meet your needs. In 2017, personalized home page promotions influenced 85% of customers to make a purchase, while personalized shopping cart recommendations influenced 92% of online shoppers. On the flip side, when businesses lose a customer, poor personalization is the culprit 33% of the time.

Most marketers recognize the value of personalization, but implementing it is another story. According to Salesforce, just 28% of marketers are completely satisfied with their ability to engage with customers across channels at scale. To be effective, every brand should have its own personalization strategy. Apple Maps’ personalization focuses on your geolocation. Amazon’s strategy is built around your purchase history. Here are five ways to enhance your website experience with personalization.  

Ask for Geolocation

Pinpointing user locations is one of the most valuable aspects of personalization. It allows you to target customers based on country, state, metro area and city. What happens if a user in the Czech Republic types in www.google.com? They are automatically redirected to www.google.cz. If you’re on a quest for Thai food, the search results will auto-sort to show the closest options first.

Gather Data on Your Customers

The best way to collect a database of information about your users is by prompting them to create a free profile upfront. Once a user inputs their information and starts using your site, you’ll have access to their name, age, address, interests, behavior and more.

Keep in mind—providing a “Continue as Guest” option accommodates users who want to make a purchase but are reluctant to build a profile. Sometimes you just want to snag those concert tickets without jumping through the hoops of creating a password, verifying your email, etc.

Provide Personalized Content and Recommendations
After your users create a profile and share some info about themselves, you’re ready to start personalizing content across your site. Refer to your customers by name. Display products and recommend similar content based on their interests. Auto-fill forms so they don’t have to submit the same data twice. 
Companies like Amazon do an amazing job of personalizing recommendations to upsell and cross-sell products. If you add a coffee maker to your cart, they’ll recommend a box of filters. Fashion companies like ASOS prompt users to “complete the look” by purchasing a model’s entire ensemble.

Pick Up Where Your Customers Left Off

If you don’t finish a YouTube video, your progress is automatically saved. If your online shopping trip gets interrupted, you’ll be shown the items you browsed on your next visit. If you couldn’t complete an application form in one sitting, many sites auto-save your info so you don’t have to fill in the same fields twice. 

Show Relevant Content Based on User History

Watch a lot of true crime? Your top picks on Netflix probably include shows like Mindhunter and Making a Murderer. Having a curated home page that reflects your behavior makes it easy to find content that’s up your alley.

Personalization Pitfalls to Avoid

Personalization can be a double-edged sword. Misusing customer data can reflect poorly on your brand and damage the bond you have with your customers. If your personalization doesn’t have a clear purpose, it runs the risk of cluttering your user experience and bruising your credibility. It’s a tricky thing to navigate. 35% of marketers feel challenged to balance personalization with privacy.

At Horizontal Digital, we implement personalization for our clients through careful planning, detailed execution, testing and continuous optimization. We analyze the data across each touchpoint and study behavior patterns to create rich customer experiences that think forward. At the end of the day, we’re laser-focused on delivering the right message at the right moment on the right channel.


Sitecore & Salesforce

Creating experiences that evolve at the speed of customers


United Health Group

Helping a company find its future through smarter hiring

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