Objective: Use customer behavior to personalized e-commerce experience with relevant recommendations and targeted email
The Aim: Luck has nothing to do with LuckyVitamin.com‘s impressive Web traffic and high conversion levels. The e-commerce site, which sells discounted nutritional supplements, herbs, and other natural health-and-wellness products, owes its success to a strategy predicated on customer-centricity and deep personalization.
There’s nothing more personal than a person’s health, an insight LuckyVitamin President Sam Wolf always keeps firmly in mind. Visitors to LuckyVitamin.com might just be browsing for a supplement to give their hair more luster and shine—or they might be suffering from a serious illness. In either case Wolf knows the importance of recommendations, and how eager customers are for relevant content to inform their purchase decisions.
Considering that LuckyVitamin’s online catalog contains more than 30,000 items, ensuring smart segmentation and a personalized browsing experience can be a serious challenge. Its demographic set includes everyone from bodybuilders looking for muscle-boosters to moms trying to find the best eco-friendly cleaning products, so providing an individual experience for every customer is no easy feat.
“The customer expects that now,” Wolf says. “They expect the products they’re shown to be relevant and for the recommendations they receive to make sense—and if they don’t get that kind of experience, they’re a little turned off.”
It’s about providing the kind of customer experience a sales associate in a small store might be able to provide, but at scale and with tens of thousands of products. “[I]f we only sold five or six different items one person could become very familiar with them,” Wolf says. “But with such a large assortment of items, technology is what gives you that leg up you need to stay on top of customer data.”
The Solution: In 2009 LuckyVitamin started working with MyBuys, a provider of cross-channel personalization services, to improve the overall effectiveness of its marketing and personalization, from email to mobile to the actual browsing and purchasing experiences on LuckyVitamin.com.
For example, the company uses MyBuys to analyze keyword searches to present visitors with relevant recommendations for similar products they might be interested in. Someone searching for a nail-health vitamin might also be shown a listing for a clear skin or healthy-hair smoothie. It’s a great opportunity for both up- and cross-sell.
Lucky Vitamin extends that experience into its email marketing, using MyBuys to fine-tune its targeting and segmentation capabilities and automate its messages based on specific triggers.
“You could try and set that up manually, but you’d need a massive team of people going through and constantly analyzing the data,” Wolf says. “This way, it’s like having a sales associate come up to you in your inbox and say, ‘I know what you’re looking for. Let me recommend some products to you.’”
Personalization is an important element in the customer experience (CX) equation, but so is cross-channel consistency, says Dan Druker, CMO of MyBuys. “Customer-centric marketing is not just a website, and it’s frustrating for consumers if emails don’t line up with what’s happening in the store and what’s happening in the store doesn’t line up with what’s happening on the website,” Druker says. “We’re all communicating across a lot of channels, so marketers have to be careful that what they do is coordinated, personal, and feels like it’s coming from one company.”
Case in Point: Good CX is simple—well, the concept is, anyway. Druker sums it up: “Treat every customer as an individual, rather than as a segment.” Which is why everything LuckyVitamin does these days is data-driven, Wolf says.
LuckyVitamin is careful not to put too many obstacles in front of the customer. The goal is to collect as much data as possible without disturbing CX. “Obviously, we want people to buy, but we also want them to have the cleanest, most straightforward experience possible when they come to our site,” Wolf says. “And that ties back to the technology. Consumers want to see what’s of interest to them without being distracted by anything irrelevant, which, in the end, is better for the consumer and better for the retailer.”
The Results: It clearly pays to keep the customer at the center. Today, LuckyVitamin customers who engage with personalized recommendations have a 222% higher spend with the company than those who don’t, and are 2.4 times more likely to convert.
“There’s a noticeable benefit when you present the customer with relevant recommendations, whether that’s through email or on the website,” Wolf says. “Any time you show somebody something more targeted, you get greater value. It’s that simple.”
The Takeaway: In the e-commerce space, there’s no excuse for not providing a personalized experience. The tools exist—it’s just a point of using them strategically.
“Since the beginning of e-commerce, the challenge has always been providing personalization at scale,” Wolf says. “What started out as a manual process has developed into something technology can help you accomplish, which means improving a customer’s shopping experience and improving your business overall.”