Why you Need Web Personalization & Search

Have you ever shopped online? Your answer may range anywhere from “sometimes” to “daily.” It’s a part of our reality as consumers in 2017. But how do certain sites keep us coming back as return customers? You’ve probably signed up for more online retail accounts than you can remember, but it’s likely that you only frequent a few of them. The most successful ecommerce websites offer great user experiences that are primarily driven by two key features: content/product personalization and powerful search capability.

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google Have Changed Our Expectations

Did you know that the top four non-game app downloads (WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram) in Q1 of 2017 are all owned by Facebook? It’s tough to deny that user experience expectations are being influenced by the Mark Zuckerberg Empire.

In addition, 43 percent of US online retail sales go through Amazon. That absurd number is not only due to the fact that you can get whatever you want, at any time, through Amazon; it also has a lot to do with how quickly you can find exactly what you are looking for.

It starts with Search

Forty-three percent of visitors navigate immediately to the search box on a website. Not only that, searchers are 2-3 times more likely to convert compared to non-searchers. So, say I want to buy some Bluetooth Headphones on Amazon. Like almost half of consumers, I go straight to the search box.

Before I even finish typing, I’m already getting help. Autocomplete gets me where I want to go quickly and even offers some additional suggestions that I may be interested in, too! However, powerful search does not end there. Filtering by facets moves me even faster through the cart path.

This kind of experience is what your website visitors expect and demand. This lesson does not only apply to online retailers, either! In our work with membership-based association clients, we have diagnosed a major issue that most run into:

“If a member goes to the website, can’t find anything, can’t find policy—they are not going to want to be a part of the organization because it’s not part of their reality.”

Users need to find the information that they are looking for with very little effort. You do not get multiple chances to impress your users, so you have to get it right the first time and it starts by employing powerful search capabilities.

Next Step: Personalization

Once you have return visitors, the next step is continuing to provide relevant content or products. In some cases, this could be through personalization on your site or it could be through email marketing.

74 percent of consumers get frustrated when website content appears that has nothing to do with their interests.

A major gripe of mine is seeing an email subject line from an online clothing retailer that says something to this effect: “Come browse our 40% sale!” and then once I click in the sale is only on women’s clothes. This company knows who I am and knows that I have only purchased men’s clothing from them. So why am I getting this email? This is a great way to decrease brand loyalty and get me to ignore your emails in the future.

Only 29 percent of professional organizations ever personalize communications by age.

With the technology available to us, we can control who sees what content, and when. Starting small is usually the best idea. With a little effort, we can personalize content based on age or location (e.g. if I live in California, I don’t care about a local event that’s happening in Washington, D.C.). You must provide users with relevant, substantial, and contextual messages.

Conclusion: Powerful Search AND Personalization

It should come as no surprise to you that the leaders in ecommerce are leveraging their search and personalization capabilities better than anyone else. Companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google are providing tailor-made experiences for each and every customer. And you can do it too! Take the first step toward upping your digital game by joining our webinar on personalization and search, and unlock your website’s conversion potential.

Since joining Adage in January of 2012, Jake Toohey has worked with association, ecommerce, and manufacturing clients to help them realize and reach their digital goals. Through consulting and strategizing, Jake focuses on clients immediate and long-term needs to help develop solutions from marketing websites to full-scale digital transformations.

Jake Toohey

Author Jake Toohey

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