How Content Personalization Helps with Cross-selling

How Content Personalization Helps with Cross-selling

Aug 24, 2017
How Content Personalization Helps with Cross-selling

How many meters can you walk down the street without seeing an ad? There is no way you can avoid advertising. It’s everywhere… all the time.

Billboards, leaflets, posters, emails… but when you go about your business, how much of it do you really see? How much do you filter out? If you paid attention to every ad that crossed your path, your brain would blow up. People don't have enough time, energy, or brain capacity to take in everything around them.

On the other hand, have you ever seen an ad that spoke to you? I mean, directly to you. An ad that addressed your problem or inspired you to try something you've always wanted? (Or something that wasn’t even on your radar.) Chances are that you have. This nifty trick is personalization and it proves to be pretty useful if you know how to use it.

Just… Why?

Perhaps one of the most important things about personalization is the purpose. It seems obvious that you need a reason to personalize, but from what I've seen as a consumer (who also knows a bit about online marketing) the reason is often missing. Personalization takes time and energy, so it's crucial that you don't personalize just for a laugh. The outcome of personalization should be something you can measure. For example, a larger contact base, increased sales—more specifically form submissions, newsletter registrations, or product orders.  It is a waste of time and resources to personalize the banner on the home page just because you can.

Personalization makes targeting your audience more effective because it helps you show people what is relevant to them and what they might be interested in. That's why it is so powerful when used to drive cross-selling. There are several ways you can do this while keeping in mind a few things.

When and Where?

So you want to start using personalization for cross-selling, but you have no idea when to show your customers personalized content? Cross-selling can be tricky but certainly not for lack of opportunities. You can try to cross-sell before, during, and even after your customers make a purchase. The important thing is that timing and placement of personalization complement each other.

Let me explain this by giving you an example. Would it make sense to personalize content on the home page when trying to cross-sell to those who are going through the purchase steps right now? Not really. There is little chance they would even notice the personalization. In this situation, it would make more sense to list related items somewhere in the shopping cart or on the product page. Generally, you would aim to place the personalization to such a position in the space-time continuum where it would bring the most value.


Aligning potential customers to your product or service is vital, and this is where your customers always come first. Base what you are offering on your data. What other products do your customers usually purchase with the one you are trying to cross-sell? Can you offer something that would enhance the product they are buying? This all comes down to knowing your customers and their behavior. The point of personalization is to provide your customers with added value… you want to engage them and offer more than they expected when they came to you. At the same time, don't get carried away. Think about what is reasonable to ask—conceptually as well as financially. When a customer purchases a new camera, you are not going to offer them a new laptop so that they can look at the pictures. Instead, you would offer an extra lens, cleaning kit, or a tripod. After all, you want a happy customer that feels you really care, not an annoyed one that thinks you just want to squeeze money out of their pockets.


Personalizing content in Kentico is fairly easy. There is no Personalization application, you simply create your personalized variants in the Pages application. Let's have a look at an example.

You run a website selling cameras and related products. There is a tripod that only fits one camera, Obscura 360, and it's not selling well. Of course, you could run a campaign to promote this product, but that would be too much of an investment for an accessory, especially since it's only useful to a narrow group of people. Customers that are looking at Obscura 360 are shown the tripod as a related product but you want to push it a bit more. You not only want to sell more of it, but you know that a tripod is a must with this particular camera. Therefore, you decide to target those that have purchased your Obscura 360 but haven't purchased the tripod.

So, you have a reason to personalize, a target audience that would benefit from the cross-sell, the product you want them to buy is within reasonable bounds, and you can measure the success of your personalization. You now need to decide which elements on your website would be the best to personalize. You want to grab the attention of those that have purchased Obscura 360 and are still wandering around your website and those that came back and landed on your home page. In this case, you will personalize two elements:

  1. The bubble appearing on all pages of your website to direct customers to your tripod no matter on which page they are at the moment and
  2. The banner on your home page to attract attention with a strong visual element.

Whether you are personalizing a widget or a web part, the process is similar. First, you need to create a new personalization variant. You'd do this on the Page or the Design tab, depending on which element you are personalizing.

In the process of creating the new variant, you'll set up a condition when the variant shows. Thanks to the macro condition builder, you are free to create pretty much any condition you can think of. The condition in this situation would look like this (for both elements):

Contact has purchased product Obscura 360


Contact has not purchased product Obscura Tripod

Once the variant is created, you'll need to configure it so that it looks different from the original variant. It is good to include a link to your Obscura Tripod page where you can measure views and orders. Why? Because you want to be able to tell how successful your personalization is. The result of your personalization could look like this:

There is one more thing I need to mention about personalization in Kentico. If you create multiple personalized variants of the same element on your website, say, two new variants for your home page, the order of variants will become important. The system will automatically display the first variant that fulfills the condition. You can find out more about setting the priority of personalization variants in our documentation.

Even Better

Though powerful on its own, content personalization is even better in combination with other online marketing features of Kentico 10. Why not use personalization in Email Marketing or Marketing Automation? It's all about providing the right content to the right people at the right moment.

Now you can feel good about improving your customers' experience while increasing your revenue. Good job!

Tell us about your experience with personalization in Kentico. Have you used it for cross-selling?

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