How to Begin Product Personalization & Customization in eCommerce
11-minute read
Published 16, Jul 2020

eCommerce has been increasing in revenues consistently ever since its introduction, confidently stealing share from offline retail outlets. In 2017 eCommerce was responsible for 12.95% of total retail sales, and then grew its share to 16% out of $3.76 billion in just two years.

While online retail is gaining momentum from exponential growth, the competitive battlefield within the eCommerce domain is getting ferocious with AR, AI, personalization and customization features helping savvy entrepreneurs to thrive.

Let’s look at two distantly similar techniques of eCommerce marketing that can be utilized to increase conversions, retain customers, reduce cart abandonment, and boost brand loyalty: Personalization & Customization.

Product Customization & Personalization in eCommerce

Personalization and customization in e-commerce are used by behemoths of online sales like Amazon and Walmart as well as by small players, who keep their fingers on the pulse.

eCommerce personalization software is available as a SaaS solution, so it is an affordable technology that can convert your store to a friendlier place for shoppers and produce higher margins for you.

What is Product Customization?

Customization is the option for a client to prescribe a certain feature of a product related to either design or functionality of an item.

eCommerce product customization examples:

Burberry Customized Harry James Potter Scarf

What is Product Personalization?

Personalization is a set of techniques used in the retail industry, that allow businesses to provide a personalized experience based on demographic data, history of interaction, geo location and other criteria.

eCommerce product personalization examples:

  • Local news is given priority in a national digital edition based on geo- location.
  • Name of client, product name or date of purchase are inserted in email correspondence for higher relevance.
  • Product recommendations are based on search history.
  • Discounts for new customers are based on their first visit.

eCommerce Customization Vs Personalization

What are the main differences between personalization and customization?

Customization is a client-driven process. A vendor business provides only the framework used by a client to introduce changes to a product, so that client executes the changes.

Personalization on the other hand, is a business-driven process. The business takes into account data available about a client to provide more individualized service.

Personalization versus Customization

Benefits of Customization Features for eCommerce

Boosts Brand Loyalty

Pretty self-explanatory: clients keep returning to businesses they enjoyed dealing with and become brand ambassadors.

Increase Sales with Product Customization

This is the whole point, right? To get your revenues growing.

Well, with 86% of surveyed Americans finding customization appealing in terms of available widgets and 62% reporting willingness to pay more for customized features, the case for offering it is clear.

This is What Clients Want

We have all been stuck coming up with a birthday present idea at some point – for a friend or a colleague.

Or even worse – for a spouse.

We all want to get it right every time. The more affluent a person is, the more difficult it is to please him or her. They have it all.

But even for somebody on a low budget, a customized mouse mat or a coffee mug can be just the thing – that conveys personal thought was involved to surprise a close friend or family member.

For those who can afford more – monogrammed premier pieces are also a precious sentimental reminder of personal affection.

Get Valuable Data About Customer Base

Whether you offer customized merch exclusively or have only a few customizable products in your store – you will end up with a bunch of actionable data as a result of the product customization option.

Likings, tastes, preferences, seasons – those insights may provide priceless data points upon which to grow your competitive edge.

Gain Industry Leader Status

Burberry provides a perfect example of vast adoption of a customization feature in their store with Scarf Bar and Monogramming choices.

Dalia Strum, Professor at the Fashion Industry of Technology observes: “Personalization is a trending approach, which provides a differentiating factor towards purchases. Customization is a major indicator that the consumer has put more thought into that purchase whether for themselves or as a gift.”

eCommerce Personalization: Segmentation Parameters

It’s useful to understand which client data parameters can be utilized to make your eCommerce store more competitive through the use of personalization and customization in e-commerce. This data can be a guide to creating custom segments in your CRM such as:

eCommerce Personalization Segmentation

Website Personalization Usage

Below are the main types of web personalization:

Price & Conditions: Personalize Your Offers

Your offer consists of the image, video, content, price, description, discount, promo applied, time frames, etc. All of those parameters can be personalized.

For example, you will want to stimulate a newcomer’s confidence to buy with a welcome discount.

Content, Visuals & Descriptions

Whatever it is you are using as educational material for a client to familiarize themself with the product – be it a video or a text – it can be, and should be, personalized, based on the demographics of a user.

Pop-Ups: Order Bumps, Upsells, Cross-sells

There are all sorts of pop-ups.

And most of them are annoying. So use them sparingly, but make sure to personalize them anyway.

Example: An exit popup may be different for male vs female vs unknown gender users in terms of copywriting, based on research and A/B tests.

Announcement Bars

This piece of eCommerce real estate is usually permanent, unlike the pop-ups, sticking to the top of the website.

Example: It can be personalized based on new / returning / loyal client aspect, respective perks & bonuses, like shipping, discount, or a freebie.

Popular Features of Personalization Vendor Solutions

There are a number of personalization vendors out there, helping eCommerce businesses to thrive and master the art of customization and personalization. Some of the big players include DynamicYield, Barilliance, Evergage, and Bound 360.

These are the most common personalization vendor features that cover pretty much every realm of this complex subject that gets more sophisticated by the minute:

  • Product recommendations modules
  • Retargeting: Abandoned cart saver
  • Experience management
  • Campaign Segmentation
  • Account-based marketing
  • A/B testing features
  • Strategic pricing solutions
  • Personalized browsing & navigation
  • Offer & discount pop-ups
  • Social insight analytics
  • Behavioral targeting & messaging
DynamicYield no-nonsense personalization product demo on hero slide
DynamicYield personalization product demo on hero slide

Types of Product Recommendations

Personalized product recommendations are an amazing way to collect slightly higher hanging fruit. Amazon is reported to be making almost 30% of its revenues as a result of its powerful recommendation engines. Let's check out the types of product recommendations out there.

Best Sellers

This is one of the most effective ways to suggest an upsell to a new customer, whose preferences are unknown.

On the terra incognita, a line-up of products to display will be based on the most popular items on average in the specific geo or category.

But when the mist clears and you get access to more detailed client data, the recommendation engine will instead pull and display the best products according to search history, location, gender, age-specific preferences. Such informed suggestions have a significantly higher conversion associated with them.

“Inspired by Your Browsing History”

Using this wording, Amazon shows it’s being open and transparent with its clients. It is also very user-friendly. You don’t need to go back and check for the items that you scrolled past that caught your eye.

browser history

Upselling & Cross-Selling

These two categories are self-explanatory, but may need a little differentiation between the two of them:

Upselling is a way of offering a product that is essentially a higher-priced version of the same product (for example: a product + warranty combo).

Cross-selling is offering a product that complements your chosen option and belongs to a different category. (think a matching belt with a faux leather bag).

What People Buy After Viewing This Item

Social proof works like magic every time. Why not use it in product recommendations then?

On the other hand, this suggestion is based on the result of hundreds of browsed pages and price comparisons performed by other users, so it’s a lazy shopper’s route to success.

“You Might Also Like”

This is a suggestion based on the items that are viewed in this session. Based on the price range of previously purchased items a system may suggest the products with higher than average or lower than an average check.

More like this suggestion by Macy's: choose by color, pattern, price

Challenges with E-Commerce Personalization

When it comes to implementing some of the eCommerce customization or personalization features, things may get tricky.

Entrepreneurs get all sorts of hiccups on the way to a perfectly working model. Below being the major ones:

  1. Choosing the website development company to integrate the individualization modules
  2. Choosing the right eCommerce personalization vendor
  3. Ascertaining the priority in terms of personalization features most needed currently for your company
  4. A/B testing for the most high-converting content on the chosen features
  5. Accessing skilled talent to implement and train internal staff to manage the system from implementation onward

How Do You Begin Product Customization & Personalization?

In order to roll out a few personalization features in your online store, you should consider hiring a professional team with experience in integrating such solutions.

If your company is really big, you can also work directly with the eCommerce personalization vendors, grooming your talent to work on the transition and further maintenance of the systems. In this case, starting with selection of the best supplier is a good path to take.

Once you decide to embrace this ubiquitous technology, there are hurdles to be overcome, but there are impressive ROIs waiting at the end of the process. So you know it’s worth it.

Phases of eCommerce Personalization

Depending on the stage of the genesis of your online store, company size, product assortment, shipment terms, capital available for investment, future plans, and a myriad of other factors you will need to determine your priorities for rolling out personalization features.

Irrespective of the above criteria, most companies will need to undergo the following phases, either with external help or by means of engaging internal professionals:

  • Create a strategic roadmap
  • Collect data & analytics
  • Define customers’ behavior & design targeting
  • Finding case-appropriate solutions
  • Implement

The Time to Personalize You Customer Experience Is Now



Or lag behind.

Like not even page 3 of Google behind.


Considering ways how your company could improve its conversions, increase customer retention, lower cart abandonment rates with eCommerce personification features?

Then reach out to your website development company to see what potential ROI may be feasible for your niche when implementing specifically chosen modules.

How Can Zoolatech Help You?

We thought you’d never ask!

Zoolatech specializes in retail software development. We know more than we disclosed to you in this extensive article. That was intentional, though.

We want to provide you with a custom-made offer that meets your current needs, budgets, and expectations, in keeping with industry trends.

Allow our custom eCommerce development experts to dive deeply into your niche and come up with a set of perfectly fitting solutions to bridge gaps in website personalization and customization.

Having second thoughts? Check out the Zoolatech portfolio, including the Nordstrom case study, for a demonstration of the eCommerce web design expertise in our professional mobile and web dev team.
Drop us a line, let’s get personal!

Let's build great productstogether!
Contact us