How SMEs can emulate the success of Amazon through ecommerce personalisation

Whatever your feelings are towards Amazon, there is no denying that they have revolutionised ecommerce and now set the bar for the personalised experience of users when it comes to online shopping.

So much so that it was recently reported that they have more than a 30% share of the UK’s ecommerce market.

With statistics like this, it may feel like it is impossible to compete, especially as Amazon has huge tech and marketing budgets at its disposal. However, all is not lost.

It is possible for SMEs to learn from the forerunner and implement some of their most successful techniques, with regards to their use of ecommerce personalisation and AI, to increase sales cost effectively. Remember, they have already done the hard work so you don’t have to! Here are just a few of the practices of Amazon which can be emulated by SMEs through investment in an ecommerce personalisation platform.

Personal references

Amazon doesn’t tend to go overboard when it comes to referencing personal information, but a simple ‘Hello John’ on the home page instantly makes the user feel like the shopping experience is going to be tailored to their needs. This is something that can easily be replicated on any ecommerce site which requires customers to have an account.   

Recently viewed

One of the first items users see when they visit the Amazon website is a link to their recent browsing history. There are many reasons why a customer may end the buying process prematurely. These range from going to competitor websites for price comparisons to researching products prior to making their final product selection. Also, approximately 80% of the UK has made at least one purchase via mobile phone and WIFI is commonly available in public areas and on public transport. Therefore, online shopping is increasingly happening on the move and being disrupted. Giving shoppers quick access to products that they have recently browsed makes purchasing from Amazon as seamless as possible, even if there has been a break in the sales process.

Intelligent search

An intelligent search function is extremely effective at making users feel that your ecommerce platform is tailored to their needs. The Amazon search function starts to predict what products their customers are searching for as soon as a letter is typed in the search bar. It does this via AI algorithms using data on the previous shopping behaviour of that customer and other customers with similar habits and/or demographics. The suggestions continue to get increasingly more accurate as further letters are added. This significantly increases the chances of the customer finding what they are looking for quickly without the need of navigating through the site. Such functionality can be replicated by SMEs by adopting ecommerce personalisation into their tech stack. However, accuracy is essential, as potential customers will soon stop using the search function if irrelevant products are constantly being suggested.


Amazon is pretty ruthless when it comes to taking the opportunity to recommend other products to customers during the shopping experience. However, there is little evidence of users taking exception to this. There are two main reasons why this is the case. Firstly, the recommendations are personalised i.e. they are based on previous history, data from similar shoppers and also based on their current behaviour online, so they are likely to be products the user actually wants. Secondly, they never interfere with the shopping experience. Recommenders can appear in all of the following areas and more, but they are always secondary to what the customer is trying to achieve.

  • Home page
  • Search results pages
  • Product page
  • Account menu drop down
  • Basket
  • Proceed to checkout
  • Email receipt

Again, similar recommenders can be achieved if SMEs invest in an ecommerce personalisation platform which can easily be integrated into their website.  Intelligent ecommerce personalisation software will use advanced recommender engines that ensure that the right product recommenders are shown in real-time, at the right time and in the right place for maximum conversion. 

The beauty of advanced AI algorithms embedded within AI-driven ecommerce personalisation platform such as PureClarity is that no two products are ever duplicated which avoids repetition and increases visitors propensity to buy.

Product Recommendation Types

If you are an SME, it is unlikely that you will have a product range that is as vast as that of Amazon, but what they are particularly good at, which smaller businesses can replicate, is bundling recommendations into many different types tailored to the interests of the user. On visiting the home page of Amazon, these are just a few examples of the recommendation types that where immediately displayed;

  • Related to items you’ve viewed
  • Inspired by your shopping trends
  • Innovative products for your body
  • Featured computers and accessories
  • Recommendations for you in beauty
  • Items under £15 recommended for you
  • Inspired by your shopping trends in Home, Garden & Tools
  • Products to add to qualify you for free shipping

These different recommender types are based on everything from previous shopping behaviour and lifestyle to particular price points and the relevant times of the year. These types of recommendations are something that SMEs can easily emulate by investing in ecommerce personalisation. Just make sure that your chosen platform has the capability to create unlimited and niche customer types and uses AI to decide which products fit within their customer segment profile.  It is also useful to choose a platform that allows you to override the AI for times when there are certain lines you want to push or maybe reduce stock on discontinued lines.

Cross selling and upselling

Amazon is particularly good at increasing sales through cross selling and upselling products and SMEs can learn a lot from this. For instance, Amazon suggests additional purchases that other customers have bought to accompany items that the user has added to their basket. 

The website also displays tailored banners promoting additional services such as Audible and Prime Video i.e. banners displaying particular audiobooks and movies will be shown depending on the profile of the user. These are just a couple of examples of where Amazon take the opportunity to upsell and cross sell products which SMEs can learn from and achieve through ecommerce personalisation via strategically placed promotional marketing banners and AI or manual recommenders.

For example, if a customer is interested in sunglasses on a fashion ecommerce site, associated items such as sun hats, beach bags and flip flops can be automatically be recommended with a banner promoting 10% all sunglasses.

IF you are an SME and would like to learn more about the benefits of AI-driven ecommerce personalisation, visit PureClarity and ask how soon you can start to reap the rewards.