Shopware 6 comes with some powerful features for cross selling, and showing products in a dynamic way with Dynamic Product Groups. However, as anyone who has tried it will attest, setting these manually is cumbersome and the offering is generic across all verticals.
With the steady rise of personalisation in e-commerce it’s become increasingly important to augment Shopware 6 with some AI-powered functionality.
To find out how to harness that power, we talk to Hello Retail, one of the market leaders in this field.
Hello Retail began life a decade ago as a cross-retailer wishlist solution, after the founder saw the gift-giving chaos of a wedding he attended. Today, it’s an AI-powered search and recommendation system, leading the way thanks to its ability to fine-tune the solution to a webshop’s target audience and vertical.
The company’s most recent release has been a Shopware 6 integration, offering an easy way to set up recommendations and site search on a Shopware 6 webshop. The aim is that the power and intuitive use of Shopware 6 is mirrored in the Hello Retail experience, and that the company will benefit from the ever-growing community of Shopware retailers.
With years of experience combined with practical ecommerce knowledge, Simon Aaen Vaala, CSO at Hello Retail, shared some top personalization lessons for Shopware retailers.
Lesson #1: Personalization is about more than just cross promoting a static list of products
When talking about personalization I like to look at it from the point of view of a brick-and-mortar store. As an owner, you would hire friendly staff and train them to know everything about your products.
A good customer service assistant will be paying attention to what a customer is browsing. So when a customer asks for advice, asks for similar products, or an alternative to an out of stock product, they can provide a relevant recommendation – whether it’s the same shirt in a different color, or similar pair of running shoes to an out of stock product.
A good webshop experience should be able to do exactly the same.
In Shopware 6 we can create cross sell sections on the Product Detail Page or use the Shopping Experience to create beautiful landing pages implementing Dynamic Product Groups. We can then make these pages extra impactful by tailoring the offering to the users behavior.
Solutions such as HelloRetail add a layer on top that, which is AI-powered, automating and personalizing anything from cross sells and upsells to category pages and the Shopware product search results. With an average of 25 to 30% of users navigating through search, addressing both your catalog and your search navigation is an important topic.
Lesson #2: Consumers are no longer keen on being tracked online
We all know from experience that if the user can’t find the right product, you only have a few seconds to make sure you give the right recommendation, otherwise you will lose this customer.
Customers are impatient to get to what they need, but don’t want to be tracked online, posing a challenge for any online retailer. But with an increasing focus on online privacy, it’s getting harder to track users and get individual data on their shopping habits.
Therefore it requires a tool that can offer relevancy, while also fitting with the customer journey and their comfort levels. Instead of looking at the customer themselves, HelloRetail now looks at the user from a segment point of view, combined with trend analysis and general product knowledge.
HelloRetail tackled this by building a plugin for Shopware 6 which provides them with a product data feed. This allows them to quickly get something up and running on any webshop for any vertical.
Shopware 6 offers a fully integrated cookiebar through which 3rd party integrations can ask permission to set cookies. This gives users granular options for their privacy, which means behavior tracking based on cookies isn’t a given. So with privacy options becoming more and more sophisticated, webshop tools need to become smarter. And Hello Retail evolves its ways of keeping the data relevant.
Lesson #3: Your software can only be as smart as you make it
In the same way that bricks-and-mortar stores need to train shop assistants, online retailers need to provide the data to make the most of the level of personalization available. By inputting as much as possible about each product – color, size, pricing, style, gender, various categories, etc – you can be much more proactive in offering a user an alternative to the product they’re currently looking at.
Take a bottle of shampoo. If a customer is looking at a large bottle of shampoo specially formulated for curly hair (hair type), you can be confident that they’ll be interested in other curly hair products and not just brand, size, price, etc. By combining knowledge about product specifics, with the motivation of users to purchase the product, the retention strategy can be improved.
How can you put this into effect on Shopware 6? By making sure all your products are enriched with relevant properties. Not only are those useful for powerful filtering on the category page, and show data in an organised way on the product detail page, but they’re also very valuable for data export to Hello Retail and other 3rd party integrations.
Here are the steps to take:
- Prepare a Product Data Model in Excel by mapping out for each type of product.
- Take a look at other webshops in your vertical, what properties do they use?
- Create the properties, and values, in Shopware.
- Curate each product by setting the right value for the right property.
Lesson #4: Use personalization to increase retention
When it comes to retention, it’s very important to integrate your retention strategy into your personalization strategy. Many webshops work with email marketing tools, which offer great flexibility in terms of building email flows and newsletters, but building them from scratch is extremely time consuming.
Plus, these tools need to be fed with the right content such as text, product suggestions and images.
Instead, you can let automated personalization work for you by including it in your email automation flow. By connecting the personalization engine, such as Hello Retails email suite, you make sure recommendations are similar across different communication channels.
Your webshop preferences in what offerings are promoted on Shopware 6, are then carried over into the email campaigns you run. This means personalized product offerings based on various parameters, ensuring relevance to the reader.
In the case of the aforementioned shampoo buyer, they buy the same shampoo month after month. And if you don’t have a subscription, then you need to make sure that they come back every single time they need to buy this shampoo, because if they start looking for the shampoo on Google, there’s a risk that they are going to go to another shop.
Think about the likelihood of a second and third purchase based on the type and size of the product. This is very valuable with both the short and long term retention strategy. We have various, triggered email opportunities in our platform – such as Abandon Cart, Price Drop, and Post Conversion, and they are built around the strategy for the shop.
Lesson #5: Make sure your site is ready for personalization
A reasonable amount of traffic is definitely a requirement – around 10,000 to 25,000 monthly users is a good place to start thinking about personalization. That’s because the more traffic we have, the quicker we can detect patterns and start building segmentation. The same goes for products – with less than 250 products it might not make a lot of sense to automate recommendations.
If you’re a relatively small operation or just at the start of your business journey, there are proven steps you can take to increase your traffic – not only through paid but also organic means.
Make sure you’ve done the following:
- Shopware offers a SEO optimized frontend. Make sure your content is original and contains relevant information to have a good score in Google.
- Make sure the sitemap generated by Shopware is submitted to Google, and is mentioned in the Robots.txt.
- Leverage the out-of-the-box functionalities for a Google Shopping feed and Facebook store to increase your traffic.
From relatively small beginnings, Hello Retail’s offering can grow along with the clients. They work both with both B2C and B2B shops globally ranging from small and medium businesses, all the way to large enterprises.