ecommerce site personalization Blue Stout

Increase Your Store Revenue 300% with the Ecommerce Site Personalization App Used by Patagonia, Bonobos & Vineyard Vines

by Jenna Compton
May 5, 2016

Why do you think brands like Patagonia, Bonobos & Vineyard Vines are top-performers?

It’s because they’ve nailed their product recommendations. These brands know their customer so well that items they suggest to them at various stages in their purchase journey sell like hotcakes.

By showing personalized recommendations to your customers, you can increase your store revenue by 300%, conversions by 150% and AOV (average order value) by 50%.

Let’s look at what exactly website personalization means and how you can introduce it to your own online store.

61% of Customers WANT Personalized Offers

ecommerce site personalization comparison

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Personalization is when a brand does something that reflects they know who you are.

Gone are the days of an ecommerce website being a one-size-fits-all place to shop. Customer demands have now shaped ecommerce websites into personal experiences with relevant products.

That could translate to a personalized shopping experience: Hey Jenna, last time you bought these running shoes. Have you seen our best-selling tights?

It could translate to a personalized offer via email: Hey Jenna, last month you ordered these running shoes. We just received these new lightweight running tanks that our customers already love,just in time to shape-up for summer!

It could translate to a personalized offer in the form of a discount: Hey Jenna, to show our support for the Chicago Marathon, we’re giving 15% off to all Chicago customers! Stop by your nearest Chicago location today!

Or, if can translate to personalizing suggested items to add what’s already in your customer’s shopping cart: Hey Jenna, you’re purchasing a deep tissue foam roller and a pair of running recovery sandals – why don’t you add this 12-pack of energy gels for just $10?

Personalization is powerful. If I saw any of the above offers when visiting a site, I would absolutely feel compelled to spend more money with the brand because their suggestions feel natural. They are relevant to my purchase history, my purchase intent, and my geo-location!

You’re probably thinking this is way easier said than done.

That’s why we’re going to focus in on the one tool that Bonobos, Patagonia, and Vineyard Vines use, and how they’ve been successful in using it.

The Personalization App Used by The Pros: Monetate

Monetate is a solution that allows stores to highly personalize the offers that their customers see. By taking information about your customers, where they live, what they’ve previously purchased, and what you think they want to purchase (intent), you can show them the most relevant products.

Why do you think 70% of Amazon’s home page is devoted to product recommendations?

Because personalization works.

Let’s take a look at how it’s done by top-performing brands:

Patagonia: Authentically Acquiring New Customers & Growing Repeat Purchases

As your business grows and your customer database become larger and more diverse, it becomes challenging to make an impact with offers.

Displaying the right offer to the right customer should be done strategically, otherwise the offer will come off as “inauthentic”, or as a general “stock” offer that everyone sees. Customers want to feel special, so nothing is more of a turn-off than getting what everyone else gets!

For example, if you’re currently running an offer across your entire site for 10% off, change that offer to target your customers location (IP address) and display a personalized message like “10% off for our Portland customers!” Your customer will instantly have a more personal experience, and be more incentivized to receive the offer that’s “just for them”.

Patagonia struggled with remaining authentic because their customer base is massive, and they have an almost cult-like following. Their customers are not just customers, they’re loyal fans and brand advocates.

So, screwing up and coming off as “inauthentic” could very well mean more than just a lost sale. They needed to nail their personalized offers or risk bad press, negative brand image, and loss of their fan base.

Let’s consider the challenge of “not enough sales”, something that every brand suffers from.

Using Monetate, Patagonia created a campaign offering International Shipping to “increase lift for all traffic” as seen below:

Patagonia Monetate international shipping ecommerce site personalization

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If you’re a Patagonia customer in Costa Rica, you visit the site and instantly see a popup saying: “We now offer international shipping to Costa Rica!”. You now have an extra incentive to browse through the site and purchase from the store.

Because of this, Patagonia will drive more traffic to its product pages and capture sales that otherwise may have been lost.

Dmitri Siegel, VP of Global Ecommerce for Patagonia, says Monetate has allowed their team to gain insight which provides “clarity to conversations about the customer”.  (source) Another example below shows how they’re able to use this insight to create a campaign around a specific behavior – in this case an “item purchased”.

Patagonia Monetate item purchased ecommerce site personalization

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Patagonia Monetate measure AOV ecommerce site personalization

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By tracking this behavior in Monetate, Patagonia is able to better understand the conversion rate, average order value, and revenue per session of all visitors who have most recently purchased this T-Shirt.

If you can gain the same level of insight into your customers’ behavior, you can create segmented campaigns to deliver a very personal experience. And, your customer will respond well because it feels natural and it feels relevant.

Bonobos: Pushing Brick-and-Mortar Visits

Another challenge of implementing personalization is dealing with all your retail channels. How can you carry over a personal experience or offer from your ecommerce website to one of your physical store locations?

It’s all in the data.

The more you can learn about your customers, the easier it is to create a streamlined, personalized experience taking them from digital to physical.

Successfully leveraging this data is a way to not only increase overall revenue, but also develop a strengthened sense of trust with your customer (hint, hint: create a loyal fan).

For example, if you can know that a customer is currently viewing your website from mobile, it would be effective to show them a popup encouraging them to visit the nearest location that’s only 5 minutes away!

This just one way harnessing personalization can integrate your digital and physical channels.

Let’s see how Bonobos accomplished this:

Bonobos began as a purely online retailer for men’s apparel. When they decided to introduce their version of a brick-and-mortar store, they took nontraditional approach: Their “guideshops” are physical locations that don’t hold any inventory. As a customer, you can go into a guideshop and try on something you’re interested in, order it in-store, and even return items you’ve purchased online.

If you think about it, the guideshop is really an ultimate extension of website personalization.

Bonobos guideshop ecommerce site personalization

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Bonobos used Monetate when they’d just opened a new guideshop in NYC to retarget online visitors from the area. And it worked. By letting them know they could book an appointment to get some wardrobe tips they not only successfully booked appointments, but their conversion rate on the overall campaign beat the ecommerce industry’s Q3 average by 146%! (source)

Since mobile browsing has surpassed desktop in the U.S., it’s becoming increasingly important to be able to implement personalization strategies for all channels your customers use.

To create a strategy to personally incentivize customers to visit a physical location, you need to:

  1. Understand where they are (geolocation).

    The most effective way to drive people to a physical location is to know where they currently are. For example, you can send a targeted email to your customers within a certain radius of an underperforming physical location. The offer feels personal to the users because it is physically near them, and your store can bolster its sales from this targeted promo.

  2. Choose or test your offer delivery channels.

    Once you know where your customer lives, test different delivery channels for your offer. You can send a targeted email to a segment of your customer list, show them the offer on a popup on your site, and more.

  3. Make sure your physical location is prepped.

    Creating an offer to push customers to a physical location will only be worth the investment if your physical location is prepared! Make sure that you have enough inventory of the item being promoted and that your customer service is on-point to create an enjoyable shopping experience in your brick-and-mortar location.

Vineyard Vines: Making Relevant Recommendations

There are many places you can implement personalized offers on your ecommerce website, but implementing product recommendations on your actual product detail pages can help increase your customer average order value (AOV) and overall sales.

Product recommendations are responsible for an average of 10-30% of ecommerce site revenues. (source)

You may already be recommending products to your website visitors, but if done incorrectly this can actually deter sales. For example, if you are making a product recommendation to a user before they’ve even selected a product, you are squandering your website real estate on a visit that my not convert.

If you know nothing about your website visitor and you’re already suggesting a product to them based on what you “think” they would be interested in, this is a wasted shot in the dark.

Instead, wait until they’ve selected a category, then a product, and show them some recommendations that are relevant to their selection. By doing this you’ll have higher chances of converting them and increasing their AOV.

Before Vineyard Vines found Monetate they were manually making product recommendations on their product detail pages. That means they had a merchandiser actually pick products and decide on which pages those would be displayed.

Not a very efficient process for a scaling company.

Once they implemented Monetate, Vineyard Vines used the Merchandiser Module to show products that were also viewed and purchased in conjunction with the particular product customers had already selected.

product suggestions Monetate ecommerce site personalization

Imagine all of the time this saved Vineyard Vines! This is a very specific example of how your ecommerce platform and its integrations can streamline your current business processes and end up saving you precious time.

3 Steps to Start Personalizing with Monetate Now

Want to start personalizing your customer’s shopping experience with Monetate like these brands are doing? Here are your next 3 steps:

  1. Use specific key performance indicators (KPI’s).

    The end-goal of personalization can’t be to create a tailored experience for every single customer. That’s not practical. Instead, focus on what you want to increase. Here are the best KPI’s for you to track throughout your personalization strategy:

    • Increased engagement (measured by pages/visit or return visits).
      You can get a snapshot of your customer engagement via Google Analytics. See this by taking the following steps in your dashboard:

      1. Audience > Behavior > New vs. Returning
      2. Dimension: eCommerce (depending on site type)
      3. Segments: Traffic Type (optional)

        new vs. returning customer engagement google analytics ecommerce site personalization

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    • Increase shopping cart size via personalized recommendations.
      In order to increase the customer shopping cart size, you need to have a clear idea of what your average order value is. You can see that information with the following steps in Google Analytics:

      1. Audience > Custom > Custom Variables
      2. Dimension: eCommerce (depending on site type)
      3. Segments: Traffic Type (optional)
        average order value google analytics ecommerce site personalization

        [image source]

    • Increase conversion rate (% of visitors that purchase).
      The best metric to look at here would be your cart abandonment funnel. This will show you where customers are jumping ship in their purchase process. To view this data in Google Analytics, go to:

      1. Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization
      2. Dimension: Goal (the one you want to evaluate)
      3. Segments: None
        conversion rate cart abandonment google analytics ecommerce site personalization

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  2. Select one KPI and create your first campaign.

    Monetate dashboard campaign creation ecommerce site personalization

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    Don’t try to tackle all your goals at once. Instead, start with one well-defined goal. For example: “Increase shopping cart size via recommendations”.Use your new Monetate dashboard to create a campaign around this initiative. Once you’ve launched, tested and analyzed this campaign, you’ll feel more confident in rolling out multiple tests.
  3. Keep an eye on your campaign to stay relevant.

    Monetate analytics optimizations ecommerce site personalization

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    By creating a campaign and being able to visualize its performance compared to your control data, you’ll be able to see valuable information that can inform store optimization.For example, if you find that your “sneaker personalization campaign” converts higher in a specific geolocation, you can make an informed decision to only display the offer to that location. Create other targeted offers for other locations so that they remain relevant to the data you’ve acquired from testing.

Your Turn to Get Personal

I’ve just outlined the steps you need to take in order to be as successful in ecommerce website personalization as Patagonia, Bonobos and Vineyard Vines are.

To recap, you need to first choose a personalization tool to help you – we wrote about Monetate (you can request a demo here). Then, you need to:

  1. Identify what KPI’s you want to track
  2. Create a campaign around ONE of those goals
  3. Monitor and adjust your offers to remain relevant

Good luck with creating more personalized offers! If you have questions about personalization, leave them in the comments below.


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Jenna Compton Jenna is our Director of Marketing and provides regular contributions to the blog. When she's not reading about business, she can be found running, drinking good coffee, and fiddling with projects.

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