18 September 2020 | Marcin Kapuscinski

Personalization – why should I care?

You know that the world is changing – online and offline channels of communication complement each other now more than ever. Probably you also know that you need to do something about it when it comes to your business. You start to look at your market and competitors. You try to provide the customers with something more than other companies from your industry. But here is a question – is it enough?

As an answer let’s use a quote by Brendan Witcher, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester:

“You’re not behind your competitors; you’re behind your customers—behind their expectations.”

Don’t understand me wrong – it’s great to be a leader in your industry but when it comes to the user experience you need to look wider. It’s about how you interact with your customers. Facebook had 2.7 billion active monthly users in Q2 2020[1]. In 2019, 111 million people used Uber each month[2]. Netflix had 192.95 million paying streaming subscribers worldwide (Q2 2020 data)[3]. Those apps changed the world and changed the way users perceive their interaction with a brand. All of them not only listen to users at different stages of the buying process but also adjust the message to the client needs. They provide to the customer speed, convenience, and transparency – things which people are now looking for in all of their experiences as customers. Those expectations affect or will shortly affect most or all industries. That’s why it’s important to watch and copy (or outperform) market leaders in customer experience (and by the market, I mean the whole market, not only your industry).

 

Because COVID-19 speeds it up…

Although we are still fighting COVID-19 we can see that the pandemic has influenced the way people interact with a brand. Thefinancialbrand.com portal conducted a survey[4] and the results show that the current situation will change consumer behavior in the USA for the long term. 40% of respondents declared that even after lock-down they will shop online more than shopping in-store. 38% of those questioned claimed that they will continue using food service delivery and 29% grocery store service delivery/order ahead for pick-up. Change in their habits declare also respondents of the “Omni-commerce. Kupuję wygodnie 2020” report[5]. According to the research, 27% of polish internet users shop online more often due to the threat of COVID-19. Mladen Vladic, General Manager, Loyalty, FIS noticed:

“Once consumers begin using convenient new digital services, few tend to go back to their old habits, so we expect this to be the new normal going forward.”

So more and more users will check the possibilities offered by online shopping. However, it doesn’t mean that they will completely drop traditional in-store shopping. The key to success is to combine both elements of the customer journey in one, great experience. Of course, it’s not a new trend in the market, it’s rather an acceleration of changes that have been going on for several years. And they will be continued in the future thanks to technologies like AI, 5G or VR and AR. Personalization will benefit current users but for the next generation it won’t be an expectation but rather a requirement, part of daily life.

 

…and changes the rules

Because the pandemic will most probably impact our home budgets including beyond the short term, a change in spending behavior is also occurring. Customers are becoming more mindful of where they spend money. They want to gather better knowledge and understanding of options regarding products before buying. Customers research brands and products more frequently before purchase. For example, according to McKinsey research[6], 61% of respondents in India declare a more careful approach to spending due to the COVID-19, and 40% say they check the brand or product before shopping. As a seller, you are responsible for providing customer information which will help him to make a decision. It has to be clear, easy to find, and adjusted to each customer’s needs.

Don’t annoy your regular client with a promotion banner “20% discount for new users”. Get to know your customer to give him what he wants not only when it comes to the product but also at the level of the information they need to make buying decisions. It’s estimated that the average person sees from 6,000 to 10,000 ads daily (the number has nearly doubled since 2007)[7]. To stand out from that crowd you need to provide information which your customers really want to see. And they will appreciate your work. According to research from Invesp, almost half of customers prefer to shop on the sites which provide personalized recommendations. What’s more personalized ads convert 10 times better than standard ads[8].

 

Because it isn’t easy but it’s necessary

To provide smooth customer experience you will need to engage marketing, sales, IT, UX design, customer service, and other teams. You also need to make sure that they have access to the same data which will be provided from different channels. But instead of being apprehensive of the complexity, practically you should start to implement personalization in your business on a step-by-step basis. You can start by using a proven existing solution of integrated digital marketing and web analytics products. This kind of smart solution allows gathering data from different sources, creation of customer profiles that update in real-time, and provide analytics and insights through channels. It’s a collection of products that together give you the possibility to create a great customer experience. But, you don’t have to implement all the products at the same time. You can adjust project scope and journey to your current business needs and make sure that you give your clients exactly what they want.

What you can’t do is wait – personalization isn’t just a trend, it’s a direction for the whole market. Stop thinking, start providing a fantastic customer experience. Or other brands in the market will do this instead and they will win your customers hearts, minds… and business.

Would you like to learn more about how effective personalization can transform your business? Check the recording of the free webinar organized by Adobe, Avaus, and TTMS!


Natalia Kozłowska – Business Analyst in Transition Technologies – Managed Services