Customisation vs Personalisation for better user experience



Despite their differences, customisation and personalisation can coexist to improve a website user experience.  

Both reap similar benefits towards the user experience. Each term refers to the process of tailoring content and features to fit the preferences of individual users, or even specific groups.  

In this blog, we’ll compare the differences, benefits, and importance of customised experiences and web personalisation. Discover how to evaluate a website user experience to determine the outcome of customisation vs personalisation to see which one provides a better user experience.

What is website personalisation and customisation? 

Personalisation is a process of tailoring an experience to an individual based on their individual preferences, interests, and behaviours. In the digital world, we see personalisation utilised to suggest product recommendations, encourage repeat purchases, and to execute targeted ad campaigns.

It’s also inherently used by businesses to create unique website experiences and foster a personal connection with users.

As digital user behaviour has changed, web personalisation has become an essential part of a business model. Web personalisation has become a long-term driver of growth and is significantly influential towards customer lifetime value.

A positive website user experience is crucial, and personalisation has become an integral capability for improving website and product loyalty and increasing conversion rate.

Customisation provides a far broader experience.

Customisation places the user in control over their experience. Rather than solely relying to data to tailor the website user experience, customisation allows users to create an experience that’s uniquely suited to their preferences.

It can vary from configuring their profile or the appearance of the site or application itself. Users could add and remove products or services at will, modify digital features, or literally customise the products or services themselves.

We are seeing deeper customisation options within subscription services, where users can take complete control of their subscription content. Businesses have recognised the importance of subscription models and the benefits that come with them.

Subscription models help build long-term, personal relationships with their audience, and this is why businesses are aligning their subscription models with loyalty schemes and customer services

There’s an argument that both customisation and personalisation are similar. Both cater to enhancing the user experience, but they’re not interchangeable processes.  

Why is personalisation and customisation important?  

Personalisation and customisation both play a vital role in the growth of digital businesses. 

They enhance customer experience by tailoring products or services to individual preferences, leading to increased satisfaction levels. Leveraging data analytics and algorithms will help businesses understand customer behaviour and preferences. They can then offer relevant recommendations and suggestions and improve the overall user experience. 

Personalisation and customisation foster customer loyalty and retention.  

Customers are more likely to return to a business for future purchases when they feel understood and valued. Tailored promotions and content help strengthen the relationship with customers to increase lifetime value and reduce churn rates. 

Grow your revenue with personalisation or customisation. 

Delivering targeted marketing campaigns and personalised product recommendations can effectively upsell and cross-sell to customers. Tailoring products or services based on individual preferences increases the likelihood of conversion that leads to increased sales and revenue. 

 Stand out from the crowd by embracing what your users want. 

Personalisation and customisation allow businesses to stand out in a competitive marketplace. In the digital age, consumers are inundated with endless options. Businesses should offer web personalisation to differentiate themselves from competitors, attracting more attention and gaining a competitive edge. 

Personalisation and customisation facilitate data-driven decision-making. 

Businesses gain valuable insights into market trends, product performance, and consumer preferences by analysing customer data and behaviour patterns. This information allows them to make informed decisions about product development, marketing strategies, and resource allocation, ultimately driving business growth and profitability. 

Implement a personalisation or customisation process to build a strong brand identity. 

Businesses establish themselves as trustworthy and customer-centric brands when they consistently deliver personalised experiences that resonate with their target audience. This positive brand image attracts new customers and fosters brand advocacy and word-of-mouth marketing that fuels business growth. 

"Seventy-one percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions. And seventy-six percent get frustrated when this doesn’t happen."

- McKinseyThe value of getting personalisation right – or wrong – is multiplying.  

How to use web personalisation to improve conversion rates? 

Implementing personalisation on a website can significantly boost engagement and conversion rates by improving the overall user experience.

Tailored recommendations based on user behaviour and preferences can increase product relevance for improved conversion rates. By displaying products or content that aligns with individual interests, users are more likely to find what they're looking for quickly, reducing bounce rates and increasing the chances of a purchase.

Web personalisation creates a sense of connection and loyalty with visitors by tailoring an experience for each individual. This connection can translate into higher conversion rates as users are more inclined to engage with a brand they feel a connection with, leading to repeat visits and purchases.

Personalised targeted marketing increases the relevance of marketing efforts that can increase the likelihood higher click-through and conversion rates. Users are more likely to respond positively to offers that cater to their needs and interests.

Whether it's simplifying the checkout process, suggesting relevant products, or providing personalised assistance, web personalisation moulds a seamless and engaging user experience to help drive higher conversion rates and maximise revenue. 

What’s the difference between personalisation and customisation?  

Ultimately, the difference between personalisation and customisation is dependent on who inputs the data and who makes the changes.  

Personalisation creates or modifies an item using customer data to meet user’s needs.  

Customisation allows the user to manually make changes to the item to meet their preferences or requirements.  

The differences between personalisation vs customisation


  • Focuses on tailoring the website experience from user behaviour, preferences and demographics.  

  • Typically controlled by the business or automated algorithms that analyse user data. 

  • Involves adjusting content, recommendations, and offers to reflect individual user needs and interests.  

  • Relies on data analytics, machine learning algorithms, and user tracking technology to deliver personalized content and experiences.  

  • Offers limited flexibility to users in regard to making immediate changes to the website but provides engaging personalised content.  

  • Focuses on delivering relevant, tailored experiences to users to boost engagement and conversion rates. 


  • Allows users to modify or design aspects of the site (or application) to their specific preferences or accessibility requirements. 

  • Places the user in direct control over the changes they want to make. It allows them to configure layout, colours, content, and more. 

  • Users can implement customised experiences through interactive tools, menus, or settings that enable them to make changes.  

  • Greater flexibility to users, but it may not provide them with real-time adaptation based on their behaviour.  

  • May not involve data because of the level of permitted customisation options. 

Top tips for using personalisation and customisation through ecommerce 

Here’s our checklist of the top tips for using web personalisation and customised experiences in ecommerce:  

Allow configurable user profiles. 

Create user profiles to track individual preferences, purchase history, and spot their behaviour patterns. This enables the possibility of creating personalised recommendations to up-sell and cross-sell, along with targeted marketing campaigns.  

Explore dynamic product recommendations. 

Utilise algorithms to display personalised product recommendations based on user browsing history, previous purchases, and demographic information to increase upselling and cross-selling opportunities. 

Tailor your email campaigns.

Increase engagement and conversions by segmenting email lists based on user preferences and behaviours. Then fill email campaigns with personalised offers and content. 

Implement interactive product customisation tools. 

Offer interactive tools that allow users to customise their website user experience. Gift the ability to modify options such as colours, sizes, and features to create personalised items. This will help meet their specific needs and preferences. 

Create personalised landing pages. 

Build rich landing pages based on user segments, interests, or referral sources. This will provide a customised browsing experience that increases engagement and conversion rates. 

Consider real-time personalisation. 

To improve relevance and increase conversions, use real-time personalised content techniques. This allows customisable website content, promotions, or prices based on user behaviour, location, or visit time. 

Optimise recommendations placement. 

Strategically place personalised product recommendations, related items, or upselling suggestions throughout the website. Optimise the homepage, product pages, cart, and checkout process to maximise visibility and effectiveness. 

Incorporate social proof customisation. 

Incorporate user-generated content, such as reviews, ratings, or testimonials. Customise their appearance according to user preferences or demographics to build trust and credibility, leading to more conversions. 

Offer personalised recommendations in checkout. 

To encourage more purchases and increase the total order amount, show personalised suggestions or add-on options at checkout. These suggestions should be based on what the user has in their cart or has previously bought. 

Strive for continuous improvement via testing and optimisation. 

Continuously monitor user interactions, analyse performance metrics, and A/B test different personalisation and customisation strategies. This will identify what resonates best with your audience and continually improve the user experience and conversion rates. 

Examples of Customisation and Personalisation 

Types of Customisation 

Customisation empowers brands to promote their commitment towards offering exclusive and personalized experiences to users. 

Here are some examples of customised experiences below: 

Collaborative Customisation 

Collaborative customisation enables consumers to work alongside brands to co-design products and be part of the creative process. 


Nike lets users customise their shoe from heel to toe using the Nike By You customisation feature. 

Cosmetic Customisation

Customisation also encompasses brand identity and its message to various audience segments.

Cosmetic customisation changes an item's appearance and packaging to meet user preferences or provide a tailored, luxurious experience. It allows shoppers to express themselves uniquely.

See MAC’s example of custom makeup palettes below. 


Adaptive Customisation 

Adaptive customisation provides consumers with various standard products. It can be used differently by end-users for their own needs and occasions. This approach provides personalisation and flexibility which are extremely popular with demanding modern consumers. 

Adidas Glitch was marketed as the world’s first interchangeable boots. It allowed fans to customise the interior and exterior of the footwear and wear them across different occasions. 

Types of Personalisation 

Let’s explore some successful personalisation examples, starting with the most famous digital retailer. 

Amazon’s unstoppable recommendation engine.

Bezos’s product recommendation engine reportedly contributed to 30% of the ecommerce giant’s revenue by 2015.

It set the bar for other businesses. It reflected the need to consider a multitude of diverse factors when deciding what products to recommend. This includes purchasing history of the user, and similar purchasing history of other users. It's realised the importance of considering the influence of that of a user's friend.


Amazon is always quick to identify market trends and popularity of mainstream media. It’s always on alert to react to social media booms to see what’s popular or trending.  

There are many product recommendation engines on the market, but none can deliver a personalised experience quite like Amazon.   

Sainsburys’ reward card renaissance. 

Loyal Nectar users are rewarded with personalised prices on their frequently bought products. These are accessible from the comfort of their customer's own home, with the launch of Your Nectar Prices on the UK grocer’s website. 

Digital Nectar customers receive up to 10 personalised prices weekly, saving up to 30% on each item. Suggested items are based on what each customer often buys and what Nectar thinks they will enjoy based on their shopping habits. 

The prices change every Friday and star valid for a week, giving customers great deals on a range of items. 

Offers can also be redeemed more than once so customers can make the most of the personalised prices. 

Personalising lead generation with Marketing Automation Insider 

Marketing Automation Insider is a great example of personalised lead generation.


Users provide information about their company and their software requirements via a questionnaire. MAI then refines the options the site provides as recommendations. The greater the information submitted, the more relevant the recommendations will be. 

It then sends users a free report in a neat email package, instead of generic content downloads.