Putting Online Personalisation Into Practice

It’s easy to think that personalised customer experiences are most suited to physical spaces such as shops, banks or travel agents, where members of staff greet customers (perhaps by name) as they walk through the door and make recommendations based on face-to-face interactions. Selling online can, in comparison, seem a little more detached and impersonal, particularly when someone is browsing several retailers’ sites at once.

In fact, it can be easier to personalise customer interactions online compared to a busy store environment, where retail teams often don’t have the time to tailor experiences to every shopper’s needs and preferences.

If someone can’t find what they’re looking for, perhaps because it’s poorly displayed or still in the stock room, they’re likely to walk out of the shop empty-handed. Without purchase data, conversion opportunities are also limited – unlike online where you can use site visits to retarget ads and cart abandonments to drive conversions (and measure your success) through personalised offers.

One reason why online sales channels are so valuable is because brands of all sizes can use past transactions to deliver a more consistent and personal service, no matter how broad their product range is.

The most obvious ways to generate audience insights include analysing social media interactions, email sign-ups, account creation and past purchases. However, as well as being time-consuming, traditional data collection methods tend to only apply to existing customers and warm leads: what about those further up the sales funnel?

Our research shows that less than a third (28 per cent) of marketing professionals currently personalise online experiences, with 42 per cent saying it’s because they lack access to data.

Rather than waiting until someone has actively engaged with the brand, either by making a purchase or signed up for emails, you can use detailed data sets to build an accurate customer profile from their first visit.

With this information, you’re then able to segment your audience and target them with relevant content and offers across all digital channels. This enables you to optimise the customer journey and make the most of sales opportunities via retargeting platforms, sooner rather than later.

This is particularly useful if your company sells products that people buy infrequently, such as white goods or electrical items, and you’ve previously relied on data generated once a customer has created an online account and/or made a purchase.

The level of personalisation you aim for depends on the nature of the business and it’s vital that activity doesn’t become intrusive. But by getting to know your customers, and adding value to their journey as early as possible, you’re better able to communicate with them and drive conversions.

For more information on Experian’s Audience Insights tool, which enables you to personalise digital interactions with your customers, click here.

Experian’s data can also support personalised marketing through traditional, direct channels such as email and direct mail.