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Conversion Rate Optimization

[Guide] Advanced content personalization examples for ecommerce

Many stores fail to utilize content personalization to increase conversions.

The truth is, while product recommendations are fantastic, they are just part of a comprehensive conversion optimization strategy.

This guide breaks down what content personalization is with live examples from  Alo Yoga, Drunk Elephant, Haus, and more. If you'd like to skip straight to the examples, click here

What is content personalization?

Content personalization is an umbrella term describing changing a user experience based on user preferences.

The personalized content can refer to offers, products, notifications, or other messaging. Content personalization is not restricted by channel. While many techniques were first developed for web experiences, today's personalization tools like Barilliance use a variety of retail omnichannel strategies.

What are different types of content personalization?

eCommerce stores have a multitude of effective content personalization tactics available. They include:

  • Dynamic content - Personalize inline content by adding or removing images, text, or products inline. 
  • In-page edits - Similar to dynamic content, except it is user-led. Users can choose to minimize or adjust content on screen according to their preference. 
  • Pop-ups - windows that show over the current page being viewed, often triggered by some customer action.
  • Modals - similar to  a pop-up, but triggered by a user led (a user must perform some interaction for the modal to pop open)
  • Message Bars - Typically top or bottom "sticky" bars, these widgets normally advertise ongoing promotions. 
  • Banners - A type of message bar that sticks to the top of a page that provides a message and gives users an action. Typically they are persistent and nonmodal.
  • Apply discounts, gifts, or coupons - Some bonus automatically applied to a customer's cart.
  • Web push notifications - In browser notifications sent from your store to users. 

Content personalization examples

1. How Target personalizes email content based on customer lifecycle and demographic segmentation

Company: Target

Segment: Parents. Demographic segment, identified via past purchases

Offer: Target expertly uses content personalization to maximize a customer's lifetime value. 

Based on past purchases, they have segmented a customer as someone with a new baby. Therefore, the email messages they send are targeted for these staple purchases.

Target maximizes the deal in a few key ways. First, the incentive is for a Target giftcard. While it conveys a full $10 value to the customer, it costs Target less (only the cost of goods sold), ensures a repeat visit, and most likely results in a purchase beyond the $10 gifted.

Second, they introduce the customer to same-day delivery & pickup, which is part of their click and collect strategy.

2. How Ace Hardware uses geolocation to increase repeat purchases

Company: Ace Hardware

Segment: Loyalty members. Physical store shoppers

Offer: Ace Hardware wants to drive in-store shoppers. While in-store, Ace Hardware has less price competition and is able to drive repeat purchases. 

Above, they target in-store shoppers with bonus incentives to come back. They attach a short expiration date to help establish a customer behavior of coming to Ace for their regular needs.

Content personalization popup examples

eCommerce popups are a popular form of content personalization. 

Use cases include targeting first time visitors with welcome offers, prompting returning visitors to join loyalty programs, and providing various incentives to opt into future communication. 

3. Alo Yoga popup content personalization

Company: Alo Yoga

Segment: First time visitors, Visitors who haven't joined mailing list

Offer: Alo Yoga promises to keep you up to date on weekly styles and events. They keep the language light with a few well known yoga terms and no urgency. 

4. Bodyrock popup content personalization

Company: Bodyrock

Segment: First time visitors, Visitors who haven't joined mailing list

Offer: In contrast, Bodyrock a combination of incentives: 15% off your next purchase, a free gift, and a promise of free workouts and fitness advice. 

5. Doyoueven popup content personalization

Company: Doyoueven

Segment: Visitors who haven't joined mailing list

Offer: DYE doesn't offer an immediate incentive. Instead, they hint at future sales, restocks, and new releases. 

6. Drunk Elephant popup personalization examples

Company: Drunk Elephant

Segment: New visitors

Offer: Finally we have Drunk Elephant. The offer is a clean 15% off your first purchase. 

Creating pop-ups with Barilliance's Live Editor

Barilliance features a true front-end live editor to quickly create beautiful pop-ups

Below you can see a glimpse of how it works. 

Create Personal Popups with Ease:

Easily identify profitable segments and present relevant offers though advanced popups. Discover if Barilliance is the right personalization solution for you here

Content personalization message bar examples

Message bars are another hugely popular content personalization tactic. 

However, unlike pop-ups, there are a few different types of message bars. Below we see a few. 

7. Alo Yoga dynamic message bar content personalization

Company: Alo Yoga

Segment: All visitors

Offer: Alo Yoga features a dynamic message bar. 

As visitors explore the site, they message changes. Over my visit, three distinct offers were shown - from new styles to a free gift if you spent beyond a certain threshold. 

8. Drunk Elephant message bar personalization examples

Company: Drunk Elephant

Segment: US visitors

Offer: Drunk Elephant encapsulates a few offers in one. First, they use a geographic based segmentation to provide free shipping where it is economically possible. Second, they provide a threshold for their customers with the added benefit of two day shipping if they meet it.

These offers directly address some of the most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment.  

9. Haus message bar personalization examples

Company: Haus

Segment: All visitors


Haus borders their entire site in message bars. The top highlights the current "Summer Sale" with the promise of saving up to 25%. 

The offer persists across pages. When you navigate from the home page to a category page, the promise is still front and center. 

10. How Kickstarter personalizes their homepage based on user behavior.

Areas to use content personalization

Content personalization can (and should) be utilized across the customer journey. 

Too many sites we review only employ personalization tactics on their home page. While the home page is the entry point for many users, the truth is as visitors navigate through your store, you should constantly be gathering behavioral in-session data and using it to lead them to purchase. 

You can use content personalization across your website and other channels as part of a full eCommerce omnichannel strategy

  • Home page - Message bars, welcome messages, and personalized recommendations for repeat customers. 
  • Landing page - Especially when they are part of a wider funnel, landing pages can be personalized by traffic source or types of products they are looking for. 
  • Interior pages - We just released a breakdown on how Target creates exceptional customer experiences through their category pages.
  • Product pages - Beyond personalized recommendations, product pages provide a great opportunity to show product specific reviews, how-to articles, or offers related to the product. 
  • Email content - This is the most common used place for content personalization. Email personalization can take the form of segmentation or a more advanced dynamic content in the email itself. 
  • Other areas - Beyond these, some eCommerce stores add personalization to other areas of their customer journey.. Possibilities include ads, on-site search, articles, and navigation widgets. 

Above, Altitude Sports injects a toggle for visitors who are not lifetime members on the product page. 

Content personalization approaches

There are a variety of ways to implement content personalization.  The three most common are rules based, triggered messages, and machine learning.

Using rule based content personalization

Rule based content personalization relies on pre-defined criteria. 

Typically, a rule defines a customer segment and matches it with the merchandizing goals of the eCommerce store. 

The best segments are behavior based. We wrote a detailed guide on how to create effective behavioral segments for eCommerce stores here.

Below are some quick examples.






Engaged shoppers

Time on site > 10:00

Purchase Rate > 0 

Session is within the month

Users who actively previously purchased and shopped around the site in the last month

Holiday Shopper

Bought items > 0

AOV > $50

On black Friday

Users who bought on Black Friday with > $50 AOV

Triggered message based content personalization

We've also created a more in-depth guide on triggered messages. While the article is geared towards email marketing, the principals are the same for using triggers with content personalization. 

In that article, we defined what makes a great trigger. 

  • Customer behaviors - such as completing a purchase or entering a behavioral based eCommerce segment.
  • Failed Actions - such as not completing a purchase
  • Time based conditions - such as an anniversary or upcoming expiration to a subscription
  • Demographic conditions - such as birthdays

Above, DYE triggers a popup based on exit intent. They offer an exclusive, 10% off discount. You can see more examples of browse abandonment content personalization here.

Machine learning based content personalization

The machine learning content personalization approach differs from both the rules based and triggered based approach because it doesn't rely on pre-defined criteria.

Instead, whichever personalization technology you are using will employ a learning algorithm to learn what types of products are most effective given the current visitor's actions. 

If you want to learn more about the various types of machine learning algorithms, including collaborative filtering and content based filtering, you can learn more here

Next Steps

This guide covered a number of practical examples to successfully use content personalization. 

The next step is to select a capable personalization partner. There a number of important considerations. You want a partner who can unify data across devices, use behavioral data real time for behavioral segments, and have a wide array of personalization tactics to use. 

You can click here for a detailed guide on the most common challenges in selecting a personalization vendor.

Or, if you'd like to see if Barilliance is the right fit for you, request a demo here.

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