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  • see on a website something you did not know but instantly like?
    that’s the power of e-commerce – recommendations are effective
  • think of your online offering as an experience
    from being found to making your visitors decide for you
  • personalized emails are very powerful
    combine data with custom content and design to make them work

E-commerce personalization for print and dummies

Let’s decode some e-commerce buzzwords and break it down to the fundamentals.
How could this work for you?

So you’re in a store trying on some shirts. A sales associate takes a look at what you’ve picked out and brings you a few more shirts you might like. You might just call him a nice guy. But the fancy word for this type of service is in-store personalization.

And guess what, you can apply it to your e-commerce website as well. Users have come to expect personalization built into website design through the use of data.

As the print industry gears increasingly toward customization, personalizing your website opens up a world of customers you can target with exactly what they’re looking for! When you tailor your offerings to individual customers, you build loyalty and increase revenue.

So let’s decode the buzzwords
and break it down to the fundamentals.

D is for Design

Designing your website to adapt to user behavior is key to cultivating loyal customers. The goal of website design is an optimal User Experience (UX): This refers to all aspects of the user’s experience interacting with the website, from ease of use to their emotional reaction.

Personalizing the user experience increases the conversion rate. This is the rate at which customers complete a desired goal, like signing up for email updates or purchasing something.

Think about your own experiences. Aren’t you more likely to buy something from a website that looks nice and is easy to use?

One essential part of user experience is findability. Your website might have just what the customer wants, but if they can’t find it quickly, the potential sale is lost.

The more you personalize content based on a user’s past browsing behavior, the more chance they’ll find something they like. Amazon has got this down to perfection: Every time you log in, they suggest things you might like based on past views and purchases.

It’s estimated that 35% of Amazon’s revenue comes from their product recommendation engine.

OK, so you’re not Amazon. The good news is, it’s not that hard to start personalizing the UX on your e-commerce website and make sure your customers see the products they need.

Get started right away with these basic steps:

  1. Step 1: Set up dynamic content
    This allows your website to segment and adapt to the viewer, customizing what the user sees first when they log on based on their viewing preferences, location, and other indicators.

    Info on user behavior is stored to personalize subsequent views and emails, encouraging users to come back for more. For example, you could display labels suited to a specific sector that follow brand guidelines. This can be done in a custom way by your web developer or quickly with third party software.

  2. Step 2: Offer personalized product recommendations
    Recommend products based on browsing history, on or off your website. You can show other things people who were interested in the same things looked at or bought. Or they could view new custom products with a design they’ve used before. This makes people feel like the store is made for them.
  3. Step 3: Personalize your emails
    E-commerce platforms like Shopify easily let you customize your email content. Or you can use a third party app like Omnisend to hyper-personalize them. That way you only email people with stuff they’re really interested in. Email recommendations have a higher conversion rate for Amazon than product recommendations on their website!

D is also for Data

So by now we get that the point of using software that gathers user preferences is to gather data to get to know your customers better. But what do you do with all that data you gathered?

The sky’s the limit with analytics, and big companies have data teams that go deep into it. The good thing is, it’s not always the more, the better. You can get quick results by mapping just a few basic metrics on programs such as Google Analytics. For example:

  • Acquisition reports help you analyze how your customers find out about you, their behavior on your website once you acquire them as customers and what their conversion patterns are. This helps you adjust your marketing strategy to go where the potential customers are.
  • Looking at the behavior of your web visitors is key. You can look at how often visitors return to the site and how often they purchase. If you get a lot of return visits but not a lot of purchases, encouraging these interested visitors with a personalized actions such as discounts could give you the boost you need to close the deal.
  • Speaking of closing the deal, you’ll want to analyze your conversion rate: Who is actually buying your product? This will help you reach conclusions about what you can do to improve it, such as upgrading your visual content, providing discounts or free shipping, adjusting prices or streamlining your checkout process. There are also neat helpers like cart abandonment software which remind customers they still have items in their cart.

Now you know your ABC’s…
Next time won’t you personalize for me?

Your website is not just an online store. It’s an experience. The content, the design, the products, the recommendations, the advertisements and even what happens after you leave the site.

Personalized design and data analytics has become an unmissable part of the commercial landscape. For the print industry, e-commerce personalization goes hand-in-hand with the trend toward customized products.

The more options you have for your customers, the more you need to personalize your offerings to cater to their unique needs. How sophisticated you want to get with these depends on the cost and benefit to your particular business.

But if you have these basics down, you’re on your way to creating a user experience that will seal customer loyalty and power your success. It’s just one way that digital experiences can impact analog feelings.


  1. So, you’re not Amazon, that’s fine, but
    can you look at your online offering as an experience too?
  2. What would it take to make your website found
    and create a personalized service in line with your offering?
  3. Could you address current and future customer needs
    in customized emails? Inspire them, help them and build loyalty
    and traffic to your website?