Explore our E-commerce and Retail Digital Marketing Toolkit

Personalized marketing in a competitive environment for brands and e-commerce retailers

Author's avatar By Gabrielle Wright 18 Nov, 2020
Essential Essential topic

Personalized marketing, as we know from our experiences as brand-lovers and as marketers, is the make or break of any e-commerce marketing strategy in a competitive environment

Personalized marketing is all about offering improved user experience (UX) by serving relevant content, or targeting key messages in the funnel, based on your customer’s e-commerce activities and behaviour. Personalized marketing unlocks tactics for retailers to form personal relationships with their customers during their online experience (CX), to nurture leads and drive more sales from digital marketing.

According to SmarterHQ, 72% of consumers say they now only engage with marketing messages that are personalized and tailored to their interests. And with competition at an all-time high, value added by personalized marketing is exactly the tactic your retail/e-commerce marketing strategy needs.

Is your E-commerce or Retail business competing online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers

Get started now

Despite this, customer security and privacy concerns are at their peak. A McKinsey 2020 consumer-data report found 87% of respondents declaring they would 'not do business with a company if they had concerns about its security practices'.

These concerns, although not new, are growing as we all mature as digital consumers. High-profile data breaches and increased targeting options for digital marketers in prospecting and retargeting ads mean we are all aware of marketing personalization around us all the time.

So, this leads us to a sophisticated, customer-centric, digital marketing proposition: Successful digital marketers must cultivate trust through a personalized and appropriate customer journey at every stage of the marketing funnel.

Business membership badge iconStarter Membership
RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path

RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path

Part of the Marketing strategy and planning Toolkit

Learn how to create and implement an integrated omnichannel marketing plan

Learn More

Our most trusted industries

The chart below from McKinsey demonstrates a wide range of opinions on consumer sentiment broken down by sector. Healthcare and financial services being the most trusted brands with 44% of respondents choosing these sectors as their most trusted. At the lower end of the spectrum, consumer packaged goods, agriculture, media and entertainment and oil and gas on 10% each.

Marketing personalization trustworthyness by sector

The SmarterHQ brakes this down even further to name individual companies and industries, with Amazon.co.uk coming out top as the most trusted retailer. 48% of consumers claim this is the brand or industry they trust most to use their data responsibly.

Unsurprisingly, following the number of recent and well-publicized data breaches, social media companies are last on the list with only 6.3% of consumers trusting them with data.

In the wake of the July 2020 Twitter hacking scandal, which saw Twitter accounts of Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Elon Musk compromised, NextTv found that 60% of US adults don't 'trust' social media companies to securely manage their personal data.

Personalized marketing for brands and e-commerce

Amazon.co.uk is the most trusted retailer when it comes to customer data, with 48% of consumers saying it is the brand or industry they trust most to use their data responsibly.

Unsurprisingly, following the number of recent and well-publicized data breaches, social media companies are last on the list with only 6.3% of consumers trusting them with data.

In the wake of the July 2020 Twitter hacking scandal, which saw Twitter accounts of Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Elon Musk compromised, NextTv found that 60% of US adults don't 'trust' social media companies to securely manage their personal data.


Customer data sharing for personalized marketing

According to SmarterHQ, 90% of consumers are willing to share their behavioural data with brands if it means a cheaper and easier shopping experience. With this willingness for (and growing expectation of) personalized marketing,

Digital marketing has come on leaps and bounds in terms of website personalization, and with increased customer satisfaction (and opportunity!) coming from these personalization, now is the time to perfect your personalized marketing tactics.

Core Module
Web personalization

Web personalization

Part of the Digital experience management Toolkit

Learn how to provide more personalized website content and experiences to your customers

Learn More

While we already know that 72% of consumers only engage with personalized marketing messages, 80% of self-classified frequent shoppers will only shop with brands who personalize their experience. In terms of those who are more willing to share their data, women are around 9% more likely to give personal information than men so as to receive a personalized experience.

Reasons consumers share personalized marketing data

When it comes to the reasons that consumers share their data, the most popular reason is to receive discounts on products, with 90% of respondents selecting this reason. This could be the form of an email sign-up, with many e-commerce sites offering an immediate discount in return for a newsletter sign-up.

This reason was followed by getting issues resolved quickly and in a hassle-free manner, with 87% of consumers choosing this. The third reason to share data was to get back-in-stock alerts for products they are interested in purchasing.

Core Module
Improve digital customer experience

Improve digital customer experience

Part of the Digital marketing strategy and planning Toolkit

Learn how to review and improve the effectiveness of your digital experiences, focusing on how website experience quality can be improved to encourage customer engagement and loyalty

Learn More

Best communication methods

In order to provide personalization while allaying fears around privacy, brands need to look at ways they can accurately and safely collect data. This means being more sensitive when it comes to the way in which consumers want to be contacted. Personalizing messages via consumers’ chosen channels is more likely to see results and garner brand trust.

Best ways for brands to communicate with consumers

Some 51% of consumers say that the best way for brands to contact them is via email. This is a positive result for marketers, with many reporting that email is their top channel in terms of driving traffic and ROI.

Core Module
Review opportunities for using email for acquisition and retention

Review opportunities for using email for acquisition and retention

Part of the Email marketing and marketing automation Toolkit

Learn how to recognize the different opportunities for acquiring and retaining customers using email marketing

Learn More

Another popular communication channel is social media, with a quarter (25%) of consumers saying this is the best way for a brand to contact them. This suggests that tying in your email marketing and social media campaigns could see the best results in terms of ROI while also helping consumers to trust your brand more.

Core Module
Customer service and success

Customer service and success

Part of the Social media marketing Toolkit

Learn how to review the quality of customer service delivered by online channels and balance this against the cost to serve

Learn More

The least favourite methods of brand communication for consumers are mobile push notifications (3%) and phone calls (2%), showing that brands should allow consumers to engage with them when they feel like it, rather than forcing communication on them.

Retail marketing tactics sought by consumers

It's no surprise that emails with special discounts for personalized products is a highly desirable marketing tactic for consumers.

Other popular tactics include promoting products or brands a consumer may like, suggesting products based on past purchases and reminders of what has been left in their cart. When it comes to frequent shoppers, they find these types of personalization to be 25% more helpful compared to non-frequent shoppers.

Top 5 desired personalized marketing tactics

All of these findings support the idea that consumers want brands to understand them better, including what they like and when they want information. Designing your personalization campaign to offer a smoother, easier and cheaper shopping experience is the ultimate aim.

Boost your e-commerce strategy with personalized marketing

In order to truly see the best results from personalization, marketers need to ensure the tactics they are using are helpful and not invasive. Showing that your brand understands the wants of a consumer will lead to the best ROI in the end.

With so many consumers being unsure whether they can share their data with retailers, it is important to cultivate trust and demonstrate that you are adding value through e-commerce personalized marketing for them.

Delight your customers with personalization bespoke for their wants and needs. Segment and target marketing content to support prospects and leads at every step of their customer journey.

Not only will this result in better relationships between brands and consumers, but it will also help improve customer loyalty.

Author's avatar

By Gabrielle Wright

Gabrielle Wright is the Smart Insights blog editor, managing the company's SEO and social media strategies. With specialisms in marketing for the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry, financial services, manufacturing, IT/high tech, brands and e-commerce, Gabrielle can generally be found in her second-floor Bingley terrace home office, with a cup of tea, reading and writing about marketing theory and its practical application in the global economy! You can connect with Gabrielle on LinkedIn.

Recommended Blog Posts