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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : May 02, 2012

Top 3 tips to improve ecommerce personalization

Recommendations aren't new to the social space, but during the 2011 holiday season merchants began seeing a change in recommendations. Namely, the sharing of recommendations and the seeking out of product information through the social space. With more tablets and upgraded smartphones on the market, this trend will likely continue; here's how merchants can capitalize.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: How can etailers use the social space to improve customer experience?

Millie Park, ChoiceStream Vice President and General Manager: We know that our biggest influencers are often those that are closest to us. We tend to listen to the opinions of our friends and family (most of them, anyway), and we value their input. Harnessing the social space gives us key data around our social network's activities and interests - what they are doing, and how they might affect what we do. Etailers can use the social space to market their products and services, and they can also use the social data they gather to influence personalization and recommendations that are made. For example, at a very simple level, etailers can use product "like" data as inputs into their customer profile to further hone recommendations.

Kristina: What are your top 3 tips to improve and/or personalize the etail experience:

Millie: Personalize where it counts. Start with the areas on your webstore that will give you the most bang for your buck and expand from there. Typically we've seen the product detail page, home page, cart page, and search results page as key areas to engage the customer. Don't forget other touch points are also opportunities to personalize. Email, mobile and tablet, and even kiosks and direct mail are other areas where recommendations can be extremely effective. Once you've started with personalization, ubiquity should be the goal.

Location, Location, Location. Real estate matters, and possibly matters more than anything else with regard to recommendation performance. Once you've determined where along the discovery and purchase experience recommendations will appear, place recommendations in high-visibility areas. Above the fold. If there's not enough space to put recommendations horizontally above the fold, vertical recommendations on the margins work well since they show at least some items above the fold and can entice the shopper to scroll down to see more content.

Test and optimize. Constantly. Find out what works, and maybe more importantly, what doesn't work. And continue to test everything. The market changes, your customers change, and your brand should your recommendations.

You can read Part I of my chat with Millie and ChoiceStream, including trends in personalization, here.

Tags: ChoiceStream, ecommerce trends, personalization, product recommendations, social marketing, social sharing

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