Over the past few weeks, we primed the pump for beginning the digital personalization journey, followed up with more in-depth strategies and this post we will focus on the frictionless customer experience and how to achieve it. With all of this available technology and preliminary work to better understand your customer; won’t personalization get it wrong sometimes?

Of course.  Today I’m shopping for toiletries for my home, tomorrow I’m shopping for toys for my three-year-old niece.  I might only be interested in children’s toys once or twice a year, around the time of her birthday, so a personalization strategy built around toys for my niece’s birthday would be misguided.

Personalization really comes down to the 80/20 rule.  If you can offer a more relevant experience 80% of the time and are only incorrect 20% of the time, the benefits of offering an individualized experience far outweighs not providing this type of experience.  Remember a personalization experience not only contributes to the top line for retailers and brands, most customers are more satisfied and actually prefer an experience that is tailored to them.

Digital Personalization: A comprehensive frictionless, customer experience – New Frontiers and Beyond

Ultimately retailers should strive for a completely personalized customer experience, the coveted 1:1 engagement.  A website and shopping experience should not be the same between you and I because well, you and I are completely different people.  I like chocolate, you prefer vanilla.  I wear shoe size twelve, you wear size nine.  I like to browse the website for available selections, you always perform a search.  So why would our websites look the same?

Eventually everything on websites will look different between each user from the size and location of the search bar, the typography and font colors, and the arrangement of the header categories.  Are you a cat lover?  Well, you see an advertisement with a cat in it.  Me, I’m a dog lover so my advertisement features a dog.  This is not science fiction, it is right around the corner.

Another area of opportunity for multi-channel retailers is amalgamating the in-store, marketplace, and website sales so that the information can be utilized across channels.  Retailers should be capturing and storing information from an in-store experience and distributing that data throughout their other channels and vice versa.

For instance, store associates can easily contribute to the customer profile by collecting a customer’s email address and then noting a customer’s size and preference for particular styles and colors.  This can then be recorded and used when the user logs into your website.

That red dress size six that you tried on in the store last week and it fit perfectly is displayed prominently on the homepage.  Size six is auto-populated when you click onto dress product pages and red dresses in size six are prioritized above other products on search results pages.  Other dresses fit differently?  Well you can inform the customer that if she wears size six in this dress then she will need size eight in another dress style.

Utilizing behavioral marketing, in onsite search and navigation should be clues in the overall customer experience.  If a customer browses your website using the navigation and views men’s shirts and men’s pants, it’s a pretty good indicator that in a subsequent search you should prioritize men’s shoes over women’s high heels in the search results.  So, this means that your website’s search and browse capabilities must be closely tied together to improve the customer journey.

While kicking off your digital personalization program may be a long journey, you don’t have to go it alone. At Sophelle, we can help you navigate the personalization landscape, develop a personalization roadmap, select the right digital personalization software and tools, and even oversee the implementation and manage the execution.  Contact us today to learn more.

Contributed by Timm Henderlight