Customers expect a seamless and integrated experience across channels. They also expect you to know and understand them, and for you to provide a unique experience that includes personalised information, service and promotions.
Personalisation is all about delivering a more relevant and engaging experience to your customers based on anything you know about them. The best customer experiences are those tailored to react to their profile, location, needs and behaviour so that they receive messages, offers, convenience and engagement at the right point and at the right time.
The Quarterly Digital Intelligence briefing from Econsultancy last year identified delivering personalised and relevant experiences as the top priority for improving customer experience:
But marketers also recognise the value of personalisation for improving overall business performance:
- Increase conversion: Personalisation demonstrably increases conversions. Over 50% of online shoppers believe that personalisation is valuable and 45% of shopper prefer to shop on sites that provide a personalised experience
- Improve customer retention: Alongside improving conversion, personalisation increases customer advocacy and retention. Econsultancy’s research showed that post-purchase loyalty programmes which contained personalised offers were one of the most important factors in encouraging repeat purchase
- More effective marketing: With the volume of content, products and services available, personalised marketing cuts through the noise and give brands a real opportunity to differentiate their messaging
Industry experts consistently agree that to personalise effectively you need a ‘data layer’; a consolidated dataset of all known and anonymous information about a customer that provides a single view of the customer across all channels.
Within the single customer view (SCV) there are numerous signals that can be used to personalise and tailor digital experiences:
- The device or interface they are using
- Their location and whether they are stationary or on the move
- Their current situation and need state including relative elements such as time of day and season
- Their behaviour which includes historic interaction, personal data, browsing behaviour, and social graph
Personalisation has matured. What started with dynamic fields in emails and pre-populated entry forms has evolved to segment based rules and individual behavioural recommendations. But the future vision for personalisation is to provide a full view of the customer across all channels and touch points with predictive capability to pre-empt their individual needs and wants.
However, there are growing concerns over the balance of personalisation and privacy. Not all customers want brands to have an intimate understanding of their life and desires. As a result personalisation strategies must factor in the consent, control and trust that consumers expect as part of what is ultimately a trade-off between exchange of personal data and the tangible benefits of personalised experiences.