Dominating Your Ecommerce Category in 2020: What You Need to Know

Last updated: 08-07-2020

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Dominating Your Ecommerce Category in 2020: What You Need to Know

When the shopper is new and arriving from a search, we only have one point to personalize around: the search term.

And shoppers expect us – no, need us – to solve the problem as they described it: in the form of that search term.

This “first-touch personalization” is easy to do in a physical shop. I need shampoo, and I have very specific needs. (I’m an oily, wavy hair, salt-and-peppery kind of guy.)

I go to the Body Shop and tell them, “Hey, I’m looking for a good shampoo.” They look at my hair, ask me a couple of questions, take me to the right section, and point to the part of the shelf that most likely contains the shampoo meeting my particular criteria.

So let’s summarize what a shopgoer like you or me wants when we walk in a store:

This is all simple to achieve in a physical store with real people running it.

But now, shoppers are moving online in droves. Physical retail is dying. Malls are closing. Staff are getting laid off.

So the onerous task of providing that first-touch personalization in the shopping experience falls to landing pages on your website. And they only have one point of data to personalize around – a search term.

Here are a couple of examples of the difference between the traditional way ecommerce teams tried to convert shoppers from search – vs. adding first-touch personalization.

The first is for Adore Beauty, an online cosmetics that does about $100 million in revenue per year.

The concepts behind these results are well known, as studies have proven the average conversion rate increase for pages satisfying these two shopper expectations is 108% and CAC reduction is 48%.

The improvements make sense when you look at the before and after customer experience for one customer need, “eyelash serum for growth.”

“Before” first-touch personalization, the landing page has only one product. Shoppers dislike this landing page experience when they’re searching, because they want to see multiple options that solve their problem – then compare, select, and buy.

Regardless of what goes on below the page fold, to a shopper, this page contains only that product. A full 75% of shoppers will never scroll down a page that has only one product above the fold.

But, having more than one product above the fold makes them scroll and stay:

Here’s the “after” first-touch personalization experience for an Adore Beauty shopper looking for “eyelash serum for growth.” This properly recreates the experience a shopper wants when they walk in the store:

The revenue returns for brands that move to first-touch personalization are extraordinary, too. On average, internal data from our clients shows they increase their average new customer revenue from organic search by 63%.

Take, an online retailer that does $500 million a year. Tens of thousands of their new customers started their lifetime of buying on a Longtail UX page, generating:

The “before” first-touch experience for a shopper with a need for a “mini displayport to hdmi female adapter” – only one buying option presented:

The “after,” providing more than 20 buying options varied by type, hertz, voltage, length, color, and more:

The digital transformation looks simple, but there is complex machine learning matching going on behind the scenes.

To find out how much more revenue your ecommerce site would get, how much you can reduce customer acquisition cost, and what categories you can easily take on, run our free Scorecard tool here.

Considering Google Shopping Ads is 76% of the average search marketing budget, you would think all ecommerce sites would already be providing multiple options matching a shopper’s needs when they land.

A review of the top 100 ecommerce spenders shows that only 22% of them are providing all three first-touch personalization advantages:

The rest are either showing unrelated products, putting the products below the fold, or showing none at all.

Some notable examples providing the lowest-rated first-touch shopping experience include Walmart and Home Depot, as well as major stores with recent bankruptcies:

Their landing pages all provide the worst possible experience – costing them double the customer acquisition cost of ecommerce brands that do this right.

This means 48% of spend on Google Shopping Ads is wasted on most ecommerce sites industry-wide; it’s a huge opportunity for an up-and-coming contender in any category to compete – and win against brands that aren’t getting this right yet.

Some internal results from our own clients confirm that first-touch personalization can make an emerging brand a force to be reckoned with in any category.

Outbax Camping, an emerging brand in the outdoor recreation space, dominates in categories against bigger brands like Decathlon and UGG with first-touch personalization, improving:

The digital transformation looks simple, but complex matching algorithms are behind the products offered on the page.

The “before” – one buying option for the customer’s need (“lithium power station”):

The “after” – 5 buying options ordered by relevance to the customer need:

AMF Magnets, an emerging custom magnets vendor, is another example of a growing ecommerce store punching above its weight, beating Zazzle and Vistaprint in experience, and doubling their add to cart rate.

Their shopping experience “before” first-touch personalization, with only buying option to meet the buyer’s need (“red whiteboard clip”):

And “after,” with four buying options ordered by relevance to the customer need:

To find out which categories, and much more market share your brand could be owning, we built a free Scorecard tool you can run here.

Go run it now to see what ecommerce categories you could dominate, the revenue you could generate, and acquisition costs you could save while doing it.

There’s now no room for doubt – online customers expect personalization from the first touch.

Brands that don’t go all-in on digital transformation will not make it through the 2020s, and CEOs are getting that message.

Recently, 67% of Global 2000 CEOs polled said they put digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy, and 35% of IT resources are already spent on creating new digital revenue streams.

The data is here – the case is clear.

Now is the time to adopt new tech that can make giant leaps without putting a strain on the internal tech stack – which is why we are now only offering Longtail UX as a fully outsourced bolt-on platform we run for our clients.

Talk to us about how to implement first-touch personalization, increase your online market share, and dramatically reduce your customer acquisition costs.

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