A personalized experience is the core of today’s internet browsing. News stories, product recommendations, Facebook posts, and advertisements are all tailored to an individual user’s preferences.
People have come to expect this personalized experience – so, here’s how you can make it work in favor of your online business:
1. Let Cognitive Search Do Most Of The Work
Site search capabilities are rapidly evolving. We’re moving into an era where traditional search functions don’t meet user needs like they used to. People expect personalized, relevant results – not a twenty-page list of items vaguely related to their search query.
According to Coveo, a top-ranked leader in cognitive search technology, site search is a major blind spot for marketers, even though visitors who use it are 216 percent more likely to convert.
[pullquote]Modern e-commerce websites house numerous relevant pages waiting to be found but are often invisible during the search.[/pullquote] Why? The traditional site search box is incapable of tailoring results to the user the way cognitive search does.
Forrester defines cognitive search as, “Indexing, natural language processing, and machine-learning technologies combined to create an increasingly relevant corpus of knowledge from all sources of unstructured and structured data that use naturalistic or concealed query interfaces to deliver knowledge to people via text, speech, visualizations, and/or sensory feedback.
Equipping your website with cognitive search lets you influence traffic to increase conversions, up your average order value, and make your site more usable.
You can even leverage behavioral data captured on other websites. For example, let’s say a user views a specific Coleman 8-person tent on Amazon and then visits your website selling camping gear.
With cognitive search, when they type in “tents,” the first results they’ll see will be the same product they viewed on Amazon or similar 8-person tents. Without cognitive search, they’ll get a list of randomly sorted items and they’ll have to work hard to narrow down their results to find an 8-person tent.
2. Capture Your Website Visitors’ Search Queries
To provide a personalized experience for your visitors, you need to know what’s relevant to them. Capturing search queries will tell you almost everything you need to know here.
Google no longer allows you to see the search phrases that bring organic traffic to your website, but you can capture all the terms visitors enter into the search box on your website. You can use this data to fine-tune your site search capabilities.
Some users perform searches and bounce. Other users browse your site, add items to their cart, and then make a purchase. Collectively, this data is essential to creating a personalized shopping experience, as you’ll learn in the next tip.
3. Capture Visitor Navigation And Purchase Patterns
When you capture visitor navigation and purchase patterns, you’ll discover a lot about how people arrive at the point of pulling out their credit card to complete their purchase. Then you can find ways to make the process even easier.
Not sure how this data can be used? Amazon is a great example.
When Amazon discovered people like to add items to their cart to purchase at a later time, they changed the way their shopping cart functions. Items no longer disappear from a user’s shopping cart after a period of time, and an option was added to save an item for later. This small but significant change eliminated user frustration, contributing to their massive sales.
Another way Amazon uses behavioral data to deliver relevant content is by suggesting additional products in a horizontal carousel with the headline, “customers who bought this item also bought…”
4. Keep Mobile Users In Mind
With more people accessing the internet from the tiny screens of their smartphones, ensuring relevant content pops up first is crucial. Unlike laptop users, mobile users can’t quickly scroll through results with 50 items per page.
Concerned About The Ethics Of Personalization?
A 2016 research study shows that 60-70 percent of people in Spain, the UK, and the USA are more concerned about missing out on important information and challenging viewpoints than they are about privacy when it comes to personalization. Of course, that doesn’t mean privacy should be ignored.
Personalization works because it takes the pressure off of website visitors to do all the work. When your website thinks for your users, fewer barriers will exist to making the sale.
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