There are three things you’ll need to get started with personalization: Data that is joined up, real-time content, and techniques to make sense of it all.
The importance of unified data
The more data you are able to gather about your customers, the more refined and targeted marketing messages become. Being able to collect various types of data is important, but you also need to marry data collected through various channels to achieve a holistic customer view and use these insights to enhance the brand experience.
While you can trigger web personalization using cookies, you can’t send any personalized emails without an email address offered by the customer for marketing purposes. The email address often acts as the unique identifier. With it, you can match the address to other data you’ve collected.
A personalization platform that is able to identify shoppers across channels and devices, even when they haven’t identified themselves, e.g. by logging into their account, will help you collect rich customer data – a vital ingredient for any effective personalization campaign.
Ecommerce personalization requires dynamic content
To really enhance the experience, eCommerce personalization needs to provide value to the customer. Real-time data is vital for making that happen. If you send an email about a flash sale, and the customer opens the email a day later, will it lead them to sold out products? That’s a bad experience, as is getting a cart abandonment email after they’ve placed an order. To truly resonate, content needs to update dynamically to reflect the context when the shopper engages with it.
Tactics and techniques
For many brands and retailers, a triggered email campaign is their first experience with personalization. Or they add behavior-based product recommendations to abandoned cart messages, but won’t use similar recommendations on the website.
Instead of focusing on a specific kind of campaign or channel, you need to align personalization initiatives across as many channels as possible to ensure a seamless experience.
Finally, you need to present the most relevant content to guide shoppers along the customer journey and increase conversions. Personalization can be based on a multitude or combination of factors, including the stage in the customer lifecycle and purchase journey, preferences or contextual data, such as time and location.
Tailor content to the lifecycle stage of each individual in order to acquire, grow and retain customers.
For example, your website hero banner could show:
- Data capture form to new visitors
- Sneak peek of new products to loyal customers
- Personalized discount code to lapsed customers
Display the content that resonates with the shopper’s stage in the purchase journey and helps drive conversions.
For example, your email header banner could show:
- Best-selling products to browse abandoners
- Free express shipping offer to cart abandoners
- Request to write a product review to recent purchasers
Sell vacation packages? Mid-December searchers that have browsed and bought island vacations in the past should see some similar choices, perhaps with a countdown timer for those that want to leave after Christmas.
Time of day
Do you sell baby gear? Why not personalize the website to feature your products for helping baby sleep better for customers that visit the site between 10 pm and 6 am. Especially if the customer has browsed on those products in the recent past.
Location and weather forecast
Recommend products based on the shopper’s location and the weather forecast. For example, promote sunny holiday destinations to shoppers who open your email on a rainy day.