The challenge for companies is that consumers have come to expect a more personalised experience from the companies they engage with. Brands such as Amazon, Netflix and Spotify, in particular, have raised the bar by delivering personalised experiences and recommendations to their customers, increasing customer expectations and putting pressure on other companies to do the same.
Over two-thirds (69%) of consumers indicate they want an individualised experience, whilst two-thirds are expecting it. This expectation is also being mirrored with B2B customers who have an even higher expectation for personalisation.
Personalisation has the potential to increase sales and revenue, with 80% of consumers indicating they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalised experience. It can also be a major differentiator and influence which brands people prefer and lead to greater customer loyalty. Almost two thirds (61%) of consumers say that they are now loyal to brands that tailor experiences to their needs and preferences.
Econsultancy’s new Harnessing the Power of Personalisation report looks at what is holding companies back from delivering personalisation, explores how some of these challenges can be overcome, along with highlighting the benefits which can be realised from personalisation.
The research also includes insights from interviews with senior executives working for brands and agencies including Virgin Holidays, L’Occitane en Provence, Vodafone, Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd, Domino’s Pizza, Gatorade, Tails.com, Sitecore, Monetate, Experian plc and Inviqa.
Based on interviews and research this report also sets out some best practice principles and considerations for developing a personalisation strategy and some of the strategies and tactics that are working well for companies.
For more insight, Econsultancy subscribers can download the full report, but here are several key themes and recommendations emerging from the study.
Effective personalisation is strategic not tactical
Effective personalisation needs to have strategic importance and not be seen as a tactical activity. As recommended by Orinta Gaucyte, Customer Experience Manager at Tails.com:
“Have a clear understanding of what personalisation means for your company and put that personalisation at the heart of your business strategy and build it into the DNA of your company. You can then understand what you can achieve with it and whether this is what your customers want.”
Personalisation, therefore, requires clear objectives and goals with the right support within the company, very much as part of an overall digital strategy and not delivered in isolation.
A clear data strategy is key
The key to good personalisation is data, which requires having a clear data strategy. Organisations need to ensure the right data sources are in place to identify and prioritise the best areas for personalisation.
A personalisation model can help to determine who to target and how to target them. The model needs to identify what data is available and which signals to use to define and enrich the user personas around which a personalisation strategy can be built.
Richard Jones, Chief Technology Officer at Inviqa, who was interviewed for this report, highlighted in an Econsultancy blog post that any personalisation model will need to encompass the following key elements of the customer experience: signals, personas, targets, and engagement.
Behavioural data is the foundation of personalisation and smart personalisation targets people based on behavioural personas and the actions they take.
Marketers must understand customer context
Interviewees talked about the need to be customer-led to ensure personalisation enhances, rather than disrupts the customer journey. To personalise in a way that is relevant, companies need to understand the context of their products and how they fit with the context of their customers. Loanne Le Gac, E-Business Product Co-ordinator at L’Occitane, talked about how their promotion of their ‘relaxing pillow mist’ is a good example of looking at the context of the customer and product:
“Looking at the data we found out that we had many visitors coming to the website in the early hours of the morning and surmised they were probably having trouble sleeping. Aligning with our global teams we decided to test an experience with our Brazilian site. We, therefore, deployed an experience which highlighted our ‘relaxing pillow mist’ product with the message ‘Having trouble sleeping?’. Soon after the launch of the experience, the pillow mist spray became our 3rd most popular experience in Brazil. The real result was that we were able to roll the same experience out to many other global domains with great success.”
“We recognised an opportunity with AI, took advantage of the insight and matched that with a business opportunity, identified the individual live on site to trigger the experience, saw huge success regionally, and rolled it out globally”.
Another example given by Loanne is the way L’Occitane capture an individual before they abandon the website. She says “we often see visitors add things to their bag and never end up completing the purchase. In these instances, when the individual displays abandoning behaviour we fire a layer with an image of the chosen product and the message ‘Still Thinking?’ – this experience in the UK is driving a 2.65% uplift in revenue per visitor”.
Personalisation will continue to be a focus for the future if companies want to stand out from their competitors. Gartner predicts that by 2020, smart personalisation engines used to recognise customer intent will enable digital businesses to increase their profits up to 15%”.
To find out more about how your company can develop its personalisation strategy download the report now.