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Putting the ‘person’ back into personalisation

These days companies have access to vast amounts of customer data. This information is seen as valuable to brands as it can be used to develop profiles to understand individual user’s needs, interests and behaviours.

By segmenting these customer profiles into groups, data driven content can be optimised to target the right audience, at the right time and in the right form.

This is known as personalisation, and while it seems great on the surface, companies can’t simply place customers into segments and assume that they’ll fall under the ‘majority’ of users within the same cluster. It’s time to put the ‘person’ back into personalisation.

By allowing customers to share data on their own accord, companies can get a much richer insight into each unique users personal preferences. Data sharing is becoming a popular and familiar experience to consumers, who are usually willing to partake. The key is to provide a reason for customers to share their data with companies. We see it quite a lot with companies taking a ‘skinny’ approach to registration; taking the absolute essentials when setting up a customer record and then asking for richer information in return for a reward.

This approach allows companies to build a user database with customers that don’t feel like they’re in control of what information they share, providing a less intrusive experience.

Google Analytics can then be used to determine where the user was when they provided this information, what device they were using and what time of day it was. This data can then be used in real­time to create a single customer view across a variety of channels, allowing companies to predict the customer’s next move. As the user consumes more content, their interest in the brand grows which in turn increases brand loyalty, engagement and conversion rates.

Closely coupled with data share, is the increased use of gamification in websites. Customers are obsessed with getting to ‘the next level’ or physically seeing themselves unlocking badges. This gives customers a reason to return to a website, maximising customer loyalty. As is often the case with digital, the power of social media comes into play here as customers will share their scores online, creating competition between friends resulting in return visits.

It’s not uncommon for customers to use multiple devices during each stage of the customer journey, such as browsing on a tablet but transacting on the desktop website. This can make the personalisation element more complex as the customer’s needs and interactions have to be understood from an omni­-channel perspective. Core user journeys and content should be tailored to how the user is engaging with the site and where the user is when they are accessing the site. But it doesn’t stop after the user has made a purchase, companies should be building a relationship and trust with their customers throughout their experience with the brand.

Technology is also changing the way people are sharing data with brands. With Beacon technology, the geo­location on a customer’s phone can be used to track them by location and address. This real time data can be hugely influential to the customer’s behaviour and decisions at key moments in the customer journey. For example, if a customer is within a certain distance of a store which is in their ‘favourites’ list, push notifications can be sent to them to make them aware of any deals on products they may be interested in and even what aisle the product is on.

Personalisation and omni­-channel are a powerful mix, providing exciting opportunities for companies and customers. By tracking the right data and allowing the user to be in control of the data they share, you’re on the right track and can really start to put the ‘person’ back into personalisation.

Adele Blenkin, Business Analyst at Rockpool Digital