Personalized Marketing Boosts Sales, Study Reports

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted April 23, 2014

Personalization can really pay off for small businesses, according to Meyar Sheik, CEO and co-founder of Certona, a marketing software company.

His firm just concluded a study of 500 retailers and the effects of delivering personalized customer experiences on their operations. Certona's cloud-based platform generates behavioral profiles on customers and employs predictive analytics to deliver tailor-made product recommendations, offers and content.

Essentially, the company's real-time personalization tech lets shop owners provide their online customers the same individualized attention that visitors to brick-and-mortar stores receive. And shoppers like the feeling special.

Certona discovered that adding a dash of personalization to email marketing campaigns can improve their chances of success.

Small Business Marketing Gets Personal

Sheik's company discovered that personalized emails drove a 244 percent increase in click-through rates. In terms of sales, personalization led to a whopping 412 percent increase in revenue per opened email.

Personalized offers simply click with customers better than mass email blasts. "What I'm sending you is not one-size-fits all," said Sheik. Offers and content that are relevant to a customer's interests resonate better, and the proof is in the gains made by ecommerce companies that have embraced personalization.

The study revealed that online retailers and brands that offered personalized content saw a 300 percent higher conversion rate from Web visitors. In general, shoppers hung around longer, viewed more products and drove click-through rates.

The average value of an order grew by up to 50 percent, and retailers recovered up to 25 percent of abandoned carts and Web browsing sessions. Although helpful throughout the entire customer experience, personalization truly proves its worth at a critical time for both shoppers and sellers.

"A critical success factor of driving customer loyalty, and ultimately sales, is using individualized and relevant content in the engagement stage of the customer lifecycle," said Sheik's company in a statement.

All told, personalization delivers a measurable, positive effect on the bottom line. Personalized content and merchandising generally improved sales by up to 13 percent. It's also a tactic that can help build a loyal following.

"The more engaged and personalized the experience, the better the short-term sales and overall lifetime value of the customer," said Sheik. He added that there is no shortage of opportunities to add personalized touches but warned against taking things too far.

Sheik advocates a balanced approach that offers customers the tools for successful outcomes without forcing it upon them. Too many promotions, no matter how laser-focused on the customers, can still feel like spam.

"Understand a customer journey," advises Sheik. "Personalization should be strategy; it's not a site feature."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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