Galloping Personalization: Ecommerce Brands Rush To Meet COVID-19-Driven Surge

Ecommerce brands have seen 10 years worth of growth in a 90-day period as COVID-19 has driven shoppers online. 

This, in turn, has accelerated the use of personalization, according to Personalization After COVID-19, a study by Yieldify. 

Of the retailers polled, 74% have a website personalization program in place, and that number is expected to hit 93% next year.  

UK marketers are ahead — 81% have website personalization programs, versus 65% in the U.S.

Mobile apps are second to websites — overall, they are personalized by 56%, with 26% planning adoption in 2121. 

Email is third — 60% have email personalization, and 30% plan to adopt it in 2021.

Website personalization is being driven by:  

  • Real-time behavioral data (i.e., targeting shoppers dwelling on cart page) — 76% 
  • Individual user profile data — (i.e., using a Customer Data Platform) — 63% 
  • Cookie-based historical data (i.e., ‘new users’ vs. ‘returning users’) — 62% 
  • Data ingested from other channels (i.e., targeting email subscribers) — 62% 



All this is happening as retention has taken over acquisition as a website personalization strategy. Sports and leisure retailers lead the way, with 82% hoping to improve retention.

Overall, brands hope to:

  • Increase retention rates — 58%
  • Increase conversion rates — 55%
  • Increase order size — 53%
  • Increase engagement rates — 50%
  • Meet customer demand for personalized experiences — 50%
  • Keep up with competition — 46%
  • Increase return on acquisition spend — 45%

But brands face obstacles. The biggest barriers to website personalization are: 

  • Resource: a lack of expertise — 37%
  • Tool: limited functionality — 36% 
  • Resource: a lack of time — 35%
  • Tools: too expensive — 34%
  • Data: lack of actionable data — 34%
  • Data: privacy laws preventing action — 31%
  • Strategy: concerns over ‘over-personalization’/creepiness — 29%
  • Return on investment (ROI: not measurable enough — 24%
  • Strategy: too complicated a project — 23%
  • Strategy: lack of internal buy-in — 23%
  • Strategy: higher priorities elsewhere — 22%
  • Return on investment (ROI): too low — 20%
  • N/A—nothing in particular/don’t have any impediments — 6%

In the U.S., 75% of customers have tried new shopping behaviors since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. So have 71% in the U.K. And 58% have done so in France, and 54% in Germany.

To meet this demand, 60% overall use dynamic creative, product recommendations that change from user to user, and 69% use static creative.  

In contrast, 57% have user-specific content in which the person’s name is used, and 55% have variable copy that changes with the target audience.  

Meanwhile, 68% of the respondents employ real-time behavioral decisioning, in which customers are shown different content at the checkout page. And the same percentage uses dynamic segments — i.e., customers who have purchased in the last 30 days. 

In contrast, only 54% use AI-driven predictive segments — customers least likely to convert. 

Yieldify surveyed 400 ecommerce leaders in the U.S. and UK.


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