The Personalisation of Customer Experiences Is Becoming the Standard [Feb. 10, 2015]

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015
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Elite Business Magazine

By Josh Russell

We all like to be treated as individuals. That’s why the personalisation of customer experiences has increasingly become de rigueur, with data driving more and more tailored experiences across the web. But whilst personalisation of customer experiences has only recently worked its way to the top of many retailers’ agendas, it’s important to remember that it’s not, in of itself, a modern innovation. “It’s not a new thing at all; it’s a very old thing,” says Adam Cleaver, founding partner at Collective London, the digital agency. “But it just feels like people are only to just waking up to the realisation that personalisation is a very powerful thing.”

Certainly there’s no shortage of evidence of the efficacy of personalisation, which has had a long heritage in the offline world. “We’ve been doing personalisation for years,” says Jason Nathan, global multichannel capability director at dunnhumby. For well over 20 years, the data analysis firm has been responsible for driving Tesco’s Clubcard scheme, which delivers personalised vouchers based around users’ shopping habits. “We have found with every retailer that we’ve worked with globally that the redemption and engagement rates for those vouchers when they are targeted are many magnitudes of scale higher than a blanket set of offers,” he continues.

But what has led to the upsurge in attention that personalisation has been receiving? In part, it’s an inevitable reaction to the realities of modern commerce. Whilst the shift online has introduced myriad conveniences for retailers and consumers alike, the rigidity of the digital experience is a poor imitation of the offline world. “The internet can be quite anonymous and quite cold,” says Frederik Demets, solutions architect at Acquia, the unified platform for content, community and commerce. Using the picture one has built up of the customer to provide a more unique offering can help to counteract the customers’ feelings that they are just seen as a cash cow to be milked. “It creates that feeling you have when you go to the same store every week and they know your name and your preferences,” he says.

Personalisation can also act as a filter, cutting the amount of poorly targeted messages consumers are bombarded with. “There is too much noise in people’s digital lives,” says Nathan. Given the huge volume of marketing emails the average consumer receives and that, with the increase of promoted content, social media is going the same way, there’s no room for poorly targeted efforts. “You soon realise that is noise in your system,” he continues. “But if it’s stuff that you actually want, you’re so much more likely to click on it for that immediate investment.”

However, to tailor your offering to a consumer’s needs, you need to get to know them. Whilst it may seem that in the modern age that we’re swimming in a sea of data, it’s worth appreciating the various sources of data that are available. Demets feels that there are three significant categories of data that can help drive personalisation: profile data, which focuses on profiling key categories of user, situational data, which is based on environmental factors like the weather or the date, and behavioural data, based on past user activity. “The key is to combine the three in a real-time manner so that we can actually use that as a basis for the best offers on the website,” explains Demets.

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