March 26, 2020
  |   Analytics, Digital Marketing, Ecommerce, UX / CX

How to Add Value With Personalization

In today’s competitive market, brands are doubling down on personalization to survive and thrive. However, it’s easy for a brand to lose sight of the personalization strategy and over personalize in a way that does not add value to the consumer. “The right mix is personalization and value. Personalization alone is creepy,” said Julie Van Ullen, Managing Director, U.S. at Rakuten Advertising. It’s one thing to send someone personalized product recommendations, it’s another to parse someone’s last name into a paid social media ad.

According to Accenture, 41% of consumers switched companies due to poor personalization and lack, costing US organizations $756 billion annually. As more consumers become concerned about their online privacy, it’s up to brands to be transparent about the data they collect and how they’re using it to add value to the customer experience.

Personalization With a Purpose

Personalizing the experience for the sake of personalization won’t deliver the results you’re hoping to achieve. To create a personalization strategy, collaborate with your analytics team to define goals and KPIs. The obvious metric is conversion rate, but there may be others that measure the overall success of your business. For example, a lower bounce rate would indicate your personalization efforts are improving customer engagement (they’re staying on the page).

Sophisticated personalization efforts need the foundation of scalable technologies that can support data, content, and intelligence capabilities. Adobe Experience Manager leverages Adobe Sensei, an artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tool, to understand a brand’s content library. Sensei removes the manual task of tagging content and delivers personalized, dynamic experiences.

Blue Acorn iCi optimized Web.com’s Adobe Experience Manager instance, enabling their marketing team to deploy immersive content via unified infrastructure across all of their brands and URLs. This ultimately saved the company internal costs associated with production time while providing a consistent and personalized message across every consumer touchpoint. Read the full story here.

Download Blue Acorn iCi’s Complete Customer Experience Report to learn how to create an unforgettable, personalized customer experience.

Where To Add Value With Personalization

Data-Driven Product Recommendations

Dedicate content blocks throughout the online store, including the homepage and product pages, to show personalized product recommendations. When using a platform like Adobe Target, you can take product recommendations beyond the typical “what you last viewed” or the “people who viewed this, also viewed” approaches.

If a customer is shopping for a sweater in the winter and typically only views neutral-colored sweaters; by storing this type of data, you can later leverage this insight to promote neutral colored dresses or swimsuits in the spring and summer via email or social campaigns.

Tiered Promotions and Rewards

Treat your customers with a one-on-one experience through personalized promotions and loyalty rewards. Tier promotions based on how frequently your customers shop or their average order value. Or give your most loyal customers early access to site-wide promotions or new product launches.

When it comes to loyalty rewards, use customer insights across all touchpoints–online and offline—to identify how you reward shoppers. Customers that frequently visit a physical store location could benefit from an invitation to an exclusive store event. If a shopper typically buys products from the same brand, send them a new product sample.

Serving Relevant and Timely Content

Leveraging content to personalize the experience requires a balance with commerce. You want to ensure that your content drives engagement or conversions rather than distract from the desired goal.

To deliver personalized offers or landing pages that drive desired actions, you will need a content management system (CMS) that supports variations of digital assets and optimizes the content across different devices and views. Adobe’s CMS, part of the Adobe Experience Cloud, enables brands to deliver dynamic and engaging content. As you add channels to your brand’s ecosystem, you can use the platform to easily repurpose content.

Post-purchase, personalized content can enhance customer loyalty and retention rates. If a customer recently purchased a lawnmower, provide them with tips on care or warranty information. B2B companies can leverage personalized content to drive users to helpful articles on post-purchase support pages, reducing the amount of service cost.

Don’t Forget the Human Element of Personalization

AI and machine learning are great tools for automating manual tasks, but adding a human element will create authentic experiences that differentiate your brand in crowded markets. “One of the key aspects of being a challenger brand is being authentic and transparent,” said Neal Hubman, Head of Growth Partnerships at Reddit, Inc.

Nuuly, a subscription clothing company owned by Urban Outfitters, hired their store employees to be part of the in-house customer service team. These employees have seen first-hand how customers interact with the brand and what common issues they run into. This experience combined with access to customer data allows the team to personalize each conversation and proactively find solutions.

Social media is another avenue brands use to communicate directly with their customers. For example, Glossier built their business on the back of their existing beauty community. Their value in community carries over into all of their channels, including the online store and Facebook. Marie Suter, Creative Director at Glossier, said, “One of the things I love that happens on Facebook or Instagram is people talk to each other on our platform. The best part of it all is when we have someone helping someone else that doesn’t work at Glossier.”

Adding a human element to personalization doesn’t always mean human-to-human interactions. It can be as simple as an automated email on a customer’s birthday or a letter from the company’s founder that shares the brand story and company values.

If you need help creating or implementing your personalization strategy, reach out to a member of our team here. We’ve helped brands across B2B and B2C personalize their customer experiences, including Web.com, SouthernCarlson, and Wilton.

Shannon Abel
After graduating from Clemson, Shannon started her career in marketing, focusing on content creation and engagement. As Blue Acorn iCi’s Media Marketing Specialist, she keeps clients and customers up-to-date on the latest trends and news in the ecommerce world. She also produces and hosts Blue Acorn iCi's podcast, The Funnel. In her free time, she enjoys running with her dog and checking out the local breweries in Charleston.
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