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Personalising the customer experience with Magento Enterprise

Do you know what your customers are looking for before they visit your site?

Too many retailers fail to understand what their customers want to see. They try hard to cater for the “average person” in an attempt reach as many people as possible, but the “average person” doesn’t exist. Retailers should understand who their customers are and provide an experience personalised to them. So how do you provide valuable content to visitors as individuals?

A personal experience is more than inserting the customer’s name into a content page. Seeing the words “Hello Tom” (or similar) when visiting a website is not useful. At best, Tom is ambivalent to this attempt to personalise his experience. At worst, he finds the greeting invasive and wonders how the company knows his name. Delivering an effective personalised experience should be complementary, not intrusive. Here is my advice to achieve this using Magento Enterprise:

1) Get to know your customers

Magento comes integrated with Google Analytics out of the box. Take the time to drill down and look for patterns in your customers’ behaviour. For example, imagine that a customer has bought a mobile phone from you. You should check to see if they return to the site, and if they do your analytics may show additional products they have bought. If there is a strong trend for customers to return and buy a phone case after purchasing a phone, for example, consider how best you can market your phone cases to more existing customers.

2) Review your customer’s journey

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and follow the same patterns they do. As you browse the site, make a note of where the content isn’t relevant to your journey. Consider our example of a customer returning to buy a case for their new phone. It’s great, that they’ve come back to buy from you again, but there was a missed opportunity to sell the case when the customer bought the phone. Tailor the experience to assist the customer based on what you have learned. The site should realise that the customer needs a compatible case and promote it.

3) Use the tools you already have

Finding Magento sites with dozens of plugins installed is an all too common occurrence. I believe that utilising the tools you have out of the box is the best approach. The decision to install plugins or develop new features requires careful consideration. Magento Enterprise contains lots of features which allows you to personalise your customers’ experience and you should make the most of these features before turning to plugins or development. The tools listed below are some of the many available out of the box with Magento Enterprise. They make it possible to inspire the individual and give a more personal customer journey.

Customer segments

Define customer segments by setting up rules to split your customers into groups. Customer segments allow you to define conditions so when a customer meets with the conditions they will funnel into a group. Customer segments are a great addition to the basic customer group tool available in Magento Community.

For example, if you want to target our high spenders, a customer segment makes this simple. Unlike using the customer group functionality which would require us to assign everyone to a high spender group, segments can group the high spenders using rules. In practice this may mean that a person who has spent over x amount over the last x months would be a high spender. Such rules are quick to configure and automatically update as customers interact with your site, even if they aren’t logged in. Another benefit of segments over groups is that customers can belong to more than one segment while they can only be in one group.

Top tip: get targeted with your segments! Don’t just stick with high spenders; get creative and define rules based on the patterns that you have observed while reviewing your analytics. For example, a segment could be people who bought a brand of phone during a certain date range. Well-defined customer segments mean you can start delivering content specific to these segments and therefore begin delivering a personalised experience. The following tools make it easy to display valuable content to your customer segments.

Rule-based product relations

You can display Related, Upsell and Cross-sell products to your customers. Related and Upsell products are found at the bottom of the product page and Cross-sell products are on the basket page.

There are two ways to configure these products. One is to go into each of your products and select other products which are relevant to them. The second is to define rule-based product relations. Or you can also use a combination of the two.

If you have a large product catalogue, assigning products manually can be a laborious process. This approach also means that the related products don’t change to suit the individual. It is not without benefit though, as it demands granularity. Use your product knowledge to assign products relevant to the product and the customer.

Establishing rules allows you to display certain products when a customer matches set criteria. Using the phone example, a rule could display other products from the phone accessories category. This is a good start, but isn’t strongly personalised to your customer. We can increase personalisation by applying rules to the new customer segments.

For example, if one customer segment contains customers who have already bought a certain brand of phone, the related product rule could display compatible accessories for the phone they have already bought.

Personalised promotions

There is more to promotions in Magento than just giving your customers 10% off. Promotions can be activated when a customer meets the criteria of a segment.

Imagine a customer segment for a pattern of people who abandon their basket. You’ve noticed that abandonment takes place when customers get to the delivery screen in the checkout. This is a great opportunity to offer this segment a free delivery promotion. Promotions could also be applied to a customer segment representing repeat purchasers to promote loyalty.

Automated email reminder rules allow Magento to spot when a customer has abandoned their basket and send a reminder email. This can be set up to target specific segments so that you can email your customer at the key moment with content relevant to them personally. Without bombarding the customer, sending an email a day later might win them back. It’s also a great opportunity to include a promotional code to offer a tantalising discount and clinch the sale. These codes are auto-generated by Magento and can be made unique to the recipient.

Categories with group permissions

Magento also enables you to change the product categories on display for visitors. Using the category permissions you can define which groups can view each category.

A member of a group (not a segment) will only see categories they have permission to view. For instance, permissions could dictate what groups are on display for B2B rather than B2C customers. B2B customers will likely buy in bulk and so you can build a category structure that compliments this way of purchasing. Think about including different banners for promotions which apply specifically for this customer group.

Reward points

Reward points only taking only a matter of minutes to configure in Magento, and can inspire loyalty in your customer base.

I will caveat this by saying that reward points are not suitable for all retailers. It can mean extra work if you want your customers to be able to redeem points in a physical shop. But, for the most part, they are a great way to inspire loyalty in your customer base and to make your customers feel valued.

To use the B2B group example again you can also set up different points to currency values for your groups. This is very handy where you have agreed bulk buy discounts for certain clients.

If you want to take this a step further, you can configure promotions to add reward points to a customer’s order.


Configuring Magento based on your knowledge of your customers is a great start to personalising their shopping experience. It is not a one off process; the individuals buying from you are always moving with trends and you need to as well. Every eCommerce manager’s routine should include time for this.

Wherever possible, review the relevance of the content you offer to your customers and strive to know your target demographics so well that you can predict their next move. This relationship with your customer will increase loyalty, conversion rate and average order value.

About Tom Francis

Tom is an account manager at Session Digital with over five years of experience of dealing with high-profile Magento clients. He is passionate about eCommerce and in particular all things Magento. Tom works closely alongside our project managers to ensure that our clients always receive excellent service.


Article update
This article was originally published under Session Digital, which unified with Inviqa in June 2016. For more information about the unification visit