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How to Use Dynamic & Targeted Content to Stay Competitive in e-Commerce

by Nadav Dakner

Life in the e-commerce fast lane is tough.

E-commerce bounce rates average 33.9% and go as high as 68%. Cart abandonment rates of more than 66% add to the problems that any e-commerce business faces. The growing showrooming trend further threatens the very existence of online businesses.

But here’s the good news: Shopping cart abandonment can still be viewed as an opportunity to be harnessed. And with behavioral targeting and dynamic pricing, you can recover many of those lost sales.

What is the problem?

Basically, customers have become savvier when it comes to online transactions. As belts have tightened over the previous decade, online buyers have developed a skill in finding the best deals.

In a brick-and-mortar setting, retailers would be able to assess each potential customer browsing the store. Sales staff will offer different incentives to different customers in order to make products more attractive.

In the same way, you need a way to automate your e-commerce platform so potential customers are shown offers that are appropriate for them.

This is possible through the use of big-data-driven applications that use high-level analysis of customer behavior to show each visitor the most appropriate incentive. It also gives you the potential to close more sales.

Fortunately, with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach, these platforms are more accessible than ever. And the improvement in your bottom line will likely be more than enough to pay for the costs of the services.

Let’s take a closer look at how they work, and then review specific solutions you can use to improve your overall conversions.

What Is Behavioral Targeting?

The ads you now see online seem more relevant to you than they were a few years ago. This is because of a mix of contextual and behavioral targeting.

You are being shown ads on the basis of your location (gleaned from your IP address) and previous online behavior, for example. The factors taken into account include cookies on your computer, ads you have clicked on and sites you have visited recently.

Behavioral targeting allows advertisers to increase the accuracy of campaigns, making them more cost effective for retailers.

But it’s beneficial to consumers too. Because of targeting, there are fewer totally irrelevant ads and more that are useful and relevant.

What Is Dynamic Pricing?

The ability to price your products flexibly can provide a huge advantage. It means you can adjust your prices automatically according to holiday dates, demand and competitor pricing.

Attractive pricing means you can capture the interest of your potential customer, reducing their tendency to look elsewhere.

Your prices are a large factor in how many customers buy your services. Dynamic pricing can adjust prices downwards when sales are slack or if your competitor is offering discounts. It can also adjust your prices upwards when competitors are out of stock or customer resistance to higher prices is low.

Sweeten the Deal – Make the Sale

In a high street store, your sales team will have a lot of discretion over when they add sweeteners to the deal. You need ways to do that in your e-commerce store too. Here are some SaaS applications that will help:

1. Fanplayr

user funnel
Screenshot source

Fanplayr allows you to segment your site visitors and create offers suitable for each segment. This application works by continuously analyzing visitor behavior, including the time they spend on each page and the items they show interest in.

Fanplayr then allocates each user to a segment you’ve defined and shows that user an offer you’ve set up for that group of customers.

Making user-specific offers like this helps you maintain your brand quality image, and also to increase conversion rates by offering discounts to specific segments of your users. Slightly smaller profit margins are more than made up for with an increased conversion rate.

According to case studies published by the company, Users can boost their conversion rates by at least 14% by implementing a segmentation strategy, such as generating segment-specific coupons and targeting through A/B testing features.

2. Volusion

Volition
Screenshot source

Volusion offers an end-to-end e-commerce solution, which includes hosting, an online store builder, and even built-in search engine optimization mechanisms.

The entry-level plan provides a basic e-commerce platform, including a product list and shopping cart.

The premium plans provide added functionality, such as a customer relationship management (CRM) module, loyalty plans and deals of the day. These premium features are key to creating offer that improve conversions.

Apart from optimizing for conversions, Volusion also has a built-in manager for pay-per-click campaigns, helping e-commerce sellers promote their goods across other websites. According to Volusion, the service works well with brick-and-mortar companies that have set-up online stores.

3. Wiser

Wiser Analytics
Screenshot source

Wiser enables automatic price changes within criteria that you set. You set your own pricing criteria, so you could always match any lower price in your niche, or maintain a 5% difference.

There are several pricing rules, and you can choose which ones you want to apply. The platform can track and change thousands of prices multiple times a day if need be.

So far, the company’s case studies cite success stories among online retailers through several ways.

For example, a retailer of health products was able to track competitor pricing across 40,000 products, and the ability to adjust its own prices empowered it to negotiate lower prices with suppliers when needed.

An auto parts retailer was able to find more insight into its direct competitors and automatically adjust prices across 10,000 SKUs according to competitor prices, as well as sales and supply data.

4. Zendesk

Zendesk Overview
Image Source

Zendesk is a CRM platform with focus on customer support, and it provides a way for both small and big enterprises to process, execute and monitor resolution of customer service concerns.

Once you have made that sale and shipped a product, it’s important to ensure that customers are happy all throughout. To do that, you need to maintain a profile, keep records, and use data to find actionable insights and easily reach out to your existing user base.

The platform integrates well with communication solutions, and provides a personalized and proactive interface, with its touted self-service helpdesk.

For tickets that require human intervention, the platform also provides a capable analytics dashboard that enables you to track performance across your support team or even benchmark the organization against others within the same industry.

In Conclusion

All of these solutions provide low barriers to entry, meaning small businesses can get in on the game without worrying about huge capital expenditures and complicated integration with existing e-commerce solutions.

Such services come at some price, although the benefits — increased conversions, improved revenues and happier customers — make it a no-brainer.

Behavioral targeting and dynamic pricing are proven to increase sales and profits. And while they’ve been in use by big ecommerce companies for a while, they may now be a necessity for smaller companies as well.

We are at the point where customers demand the best service available, and they want it personalized and easy to access from any device.

Knowing what your customer wants and optimizing the sale is key to ensuring your business stays ahead of the competition.

Your Input

How do you propose to overcome the difficulties that e-commerce faces as a sector? What would your dream SaaS service offer? Please share your thoughts using the comment box below.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Nadav Dakner.

28 Comments

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Nadav Dakner

Nadav is a veteran online marketer and the Founder & CEO of InboundJunction, an Israel-based content marketing company. Nadav helps well-known brands in boosting their online visibility through PR, SEO and Social Media.

28 COMMENTS

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  1. Pankaj Singh says:
    October 26, 2016 at 3:52 am

    Nice and well written article. I think that using a correct template and by giving some flashy discounts we can reduce bounce rate drastically.

  2. arsh says:
    January 14, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    great post bro

  3. Gaurav Kumar says:
    January 14, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Thanks for this article This is very helpful for me.

  4. Nadav Dakner says:
    May 20, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Hey Sherman,

    You are right on the money, it isn’t easy to figure out what to leave to automation. With that, as SaaS’s get more sophisticated they allow growth and scaling to any business. It’s quite obvious that the automation trend will become more prominent with time. Best to hop on that train to get a competitive advantage.

  5. Sherman Smith says:
    May 20, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Hey Nadav,

    There are many more options for customers today and customers are taking advantages of them. This leaves a big challenge for e-commerce sites.

    These tools you mentioned can help alleviate this. I never heard of dynamic pricing or behaviorial targeting and I’ll have to add these two to my vocabulary.

    But as Sunday said, you must figure out what areas need to be automated and which ones do not which can be another challenge. I’ve never heard of the tools to mentioned by will look into them later.

    Thanks for sharing! Have a good one!

    I found your post on kingged.com under the category of Internet Marketing and E-Commerce

  6. saranraj says:
    May 20, 2015 at 5:31 am

    Hi Nadav,

    That’s nice to read your article. Its an worthy one. Making use of an content for marketing ecommerce website is an attractive one. It will let to gain more visitors to and which you can convert it to a customer.

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      May 20, 2015 at 9:14 am

      Thanks for your kind words Saran! Glad you liked it.

  7. Sam says:
    May 18, 2015 at 1:35 am

    These tips will help in decreasing the bounce rate on e-commerce sites. The same can be applied to affiliate sites ?

    • Aira Bongco says:
      May 19, 2015 at 2:41 am

      I think e-commerce sites are not that different from affiliate sites. The only difference is that an affiliate site is not created by the owner of the product or the service. It is merely a marketer who is hoping to get a commission from the sale.

      • Kathryn Aragon says:
        May 19, 2015 at 10:05 am

        Agreed. Good point, Aira.

      • Nadav Dakner says:
        May 19, 2015 at 4:46 pm

        Somewhat agreed. Affiliate sites are usually very “passive” in nature versus e-commerce/online stores which require more maintenance and active management.

        The way I see it – an affiliate site is much more fragile whereas an online tends to be a more serious business with a predictible income which sometimes requires a capital to start. Affiliate sites are inconsistent in nature as their ranking can change according to the whims of Google, or the main revenue source can alter (for instance, vendor cuts down the commision, AdSense banning you from their program, etc).

        The tempting thing about Affiliate sites use to be it’s”set and forget” hit or miss auto-pilot business, whereas today Google tends to dislike them. For more serious ventures, I’d recommend setting up an online store and using tools to scale you up

        • Kathryn Aragon says:
          May 19, 2015 at 8:47 pm

          Well said, Nadav. In general, affiliates and ecommerce are doing the same thing, but you’re right. I was struggling with how to distinguish between the two, but “passive” is the right word.

          • Nadav Dakner says:
            May 20, 2015 at 6:45 am

            True.. And bottomline would be affiliate – you can only grow as big as the product/service you are promoting, whereas if you have your own store, you can scale and control.

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      May 20, 2015 at 6:47 am

      Hey Sam,

      Some of these tools can apply to affiliate sites, especially those that optimize the sales funnel. However, not all are applicable, especially if you don’t have full control over some aspects of the affiliate business, such as pricing. Also, customer service may not necessarily be applicable to affiliate sales.

      However, the concept of targeting and optimizing the sales funnel should be applicable to both direct e-commerce and affiliate sales.

      Perhaps a follow up post dedicated to affiliate sites, Kathryn? 🙂

  8. Sunday says:
    May 17, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    The use of any SaaS service to overcome e-commerce challenges could be welcoming at the time.

    However, the fact still remains that the owners must first develop the skills of identifying the areas needing the automation.

    It is only when this is done that an automation will work effectively for any organization!

    Nevertheless, I am glad to read this piece and learn of how SaaS services like Wiser and ZenDesk actually work!

    I shared this comment in kingged.com as well.

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      May 18, 2015 at 5:23 am

      Thanks for reading and sharing Sunday! Glad I could get you acquainted with Wiser and ZenDesk.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      May 18, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Good point. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Manu Mayank says:
    May 16, 2015 at 6:08 am

    Nice article, i think all these methods are very helpful for the ecommerce websites.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      May 16, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks, Manu. Appreciate the thumbs-up.

  10. Ankit says:
    May 15, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Hii Nadav !
    Bounce between 33.9% to 68% is still looking good for e-commerce sites .
    You know what bounce rate of my all the affiliate marketing related sites is above 80% .

    • May 15, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Ankit, great job on your ecommerce bounce rate. 80+% isn’t uncommon for some sites. It often takes a powerful content strategy to lower it.

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      May 15, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Hey Ankit,

      Having a high bounce rate on your affiliate sites doesn’t necessarily translates to a bad thing. For instance, if your goal is to make money from Ads then the numbers you’re seeing might be related to users funneling into your ad partners (e.g., Adsense). This is especially true if you have attractive banners/ads ATF and your website is optimized to get those clicks.

      I would worry more if a site/blog that is supposed to provoke thought leadership has a high bounce rate, since the goal is to make users stick around and read (no direct sales).

      The bottomline question is – are you making money with your affiliate sites?

  11. Atish Ranjan says:
    May 15, 2015 at 3:04 am

    Hello Nadav,

    I agree that customers are now more clever in finding the best affordable deals and specifically behavioural targeting makes things easier for both the seller and the customer.

    You have introduced few of the great tools which I never heard of though I heard 1 or2 of them.

    very informative post.

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      May 15, 2015 at 11:46 am

      Hey Atish,

      Thanks for reading! I’m glad you’re familiarized with more tools now 🙂 This trend is going to grow and grow and it’s a great idea to start using these tools or similar ones.

  12. May 14, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Nadav,

    You hit it on the head: shoppers know they can price-check and showroom to get the best deals in town (and out of town). Smart retailers — especially local stores — will do well to get on the bandwagon. Many of them don’t know about SaaS services like Wiser so glad you’ve pointed that out.

    The factors taken into account include cookies on your computer, ads you have clicked on and sites you have visited recently.

    Like anything, this has upsides and downsides.

    One good experience I’ve had with retargeting me resulted in me wading through the noise when I was in the market for a SaaS project management system. I kept seeing ads for a particular PM app. It was only later when I learned about “retargeting” did I realize that that was what had happened. (It was later confirmed by a retargeting ad provider because they had a case study about that specific project management developer increasing their sales 1000% due to retargeting.)

    The downside includes what a barrage of irrelevant ads following my every digital footstep.

  13. May 14, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Hi Nadav,
    you have introduced me some new tools I’ve never heard of.
    Building an ecommerce and automate the sales is one of my projects for the next future.

    You mentioned two interesting concepts that I should definitely keep in mind: behavioral targeting and dynamic pricing.
    I think that as long as we don’t violate the privacy of the potential customers, and we try to satisfy our audience, by suggesting targeted offers, based on different interests, we’re improving both our business and user experience.

    Great insights, thanks for the post!

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      May 15, 2015 at 11:35 am

      Hey Erik!

      Glad you like the post! There are tons of amazing tools nowadays to ramp up online stores.

      Regarding privacy, it’s perhaps an implicitly accepted fact that online services try to strike a balance between convenience and privacy. For instance, how much of your privacy are you willing to give up in order to get free services that work great? This is the case with Gmail, Google searches and Facebook posting.

    • Amit kumar singh says:
      July 28, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      nice article about ecommerce and other imp things

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