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Personalization Checklist for Commerce Websites

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Personalization Checklist for Commerce Websites


It is super easy nowadays to setup a Commerce website but it is not that straightforward to provide the best customer experience in order to assure and expect loyalty.

Well, one of the pillars for assuring customer loyalty is definitely user experience personalization. This concept is not really a novelty today but it is still something that retailers miss from their online commerce expertise.

Some of the reasons why this is happening are:

  • Complex and loosely integration of various third party personalization tools.
  • Lack of internal organization to provide right resources for the job
  • Or simply technological barriers which prevent retailers doing personalization.

But let’s say that your organization overpassed these initial barriers. You chose the right tool for the job and you have the right department organization for this.

The next thing is to plan the personalization campaigns. Before you start the job, have a look at this commerce personalization checklist that I am using during my discussions with customers. It could expand your horizon in possible personalization implementations.

Personalization Rules Categories

First of all, let’s categorize a bit the personalization rules. The categorization is good because usually each personalization campaign might require special skills from the person doing them. For example, an on-site behavior campaign has a different set of best practices than a social media campaign.

Across industry, I have seen these 4 categories:

  • Inbound Sources Personalization. Which covers campaigns done via Facebook or via Newsletters. Essentially campaigns done via third party systems.
  • Anonymous user data: User location, period of the year.
  • On-Site user behavior: User path, trigger marketing goals, etc.
  • History of the user on the website: Logged in users, average of sales.

Inbound Sources Personalization

In this category I include the following personalization sources:

  • Google AdWords keywords.
  • Newsletter campaigns.
  • QR Codes.
  • Social Media campaigns on social media networks like: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Personalization using Anonymous Data

In this category I include personalization done based on the anonymous data provided by the user when they first reach the website:

  • Location personalization based on user IP. You could change the banner in the homepage to reflect the country of the user or promote certain events based on user location.
  • Device based personalization. If the user is using a phone, then the content components could display less information.
  • Personalization based on the device Operating System. You could do personalization based on device operating system. Especially good for iOS and Android devices.

Personalization using the User’s Website History

This category holds all the personalization that can be done based on the user’s website history:

  • “Welcome Back” message. Provide a personalized “Welcome Back” message for returning customers. You can even personalize it based on gender.
  • Send email to remind the user about remaining items in the basket.
  • Recommend complementary products in the shopping cart page. This complementary products personalization needs to be chosen carefully to match the actual products in the cart.
  • Personalization based on past purchases. As an example, users who buy more than $1000 a month, could receive a discount on future orders.
  • Send emails when a product from wish list is discounted.
  • Send emails with discounts to users which haven’t purchased anything in a while.

Personalization using on-site behavior

This category targets the personalization rules which analyze on-site user behavior:

  • Personalization based on specific user journey. For example user navigates to homepage, then to “About Us” page, the to Register page, then finally to “My Account” page. On the “My Account” page you can display a custom Congrats message because they were convinced very quickly to become members.
  • Personalize website based on certain categories that user visits. For example if the user constantly visits the electronics section of your commerce website, start offering category discounts or promote certain products to that user.
  • Personalization based on specific goals. For example, immediately after the user spends their first $1000 on the website, they should receive a promo discount.

As you can see, there are many things that can be done with personalization in order to improve general user experience and to provide a more personal note to your project.

I hope you find this list useful for your next personalization planning project and feel free to share any other personalization rules that I am missing.



Darius Dumitrescu is a creative Senior CMS Consultant with in depth .NET knowledge, focused on Web Development and Architecture Design.

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