Organizations have long understood the need to establish an online presence. In the last decade, e-commerce has grown immensely and according to eMarketer, the global retail e-commerce sales are expected to reach USD 4 trillion by 2020. As organizations fight for a larger share of the e-commerce market, personalization has emerged as pivotal, especially as customers get more savvy and demanding. Basic personalization such as using the first name in the greeting is not enough for today’s always connected, hard to engage, and easily distracted customers.
Up until now, personalization involved using a blend of profile information, historical data, data analysis, and digital technology to understand user behavior and deliver individualized messages and offerings to current or prospective customers. However, the wealth of data that businesses are now amassing has given rise to a powerful new tool – contextual or real-time personalization. According to the Real-Time Marketing Insights Study, conducted by Adobe and Direct Marketing Association (DMA), 77% of marketers surveyed believe real-time personalization is crucial, and most are planning to implement real-time technologies that can help improve personalization efforts with more relevant data.
Personalized to the immediate context
Contextual personalization uses a combination of historical and real-time data to derive contextually relevant, real-time insights about customers. For instance, businesses can map the customer journey on their past orders to anticipate needs and provide customers with the information they are really looking for while shopping.
Contextual personalization helps businesses select and provide information that will deliver value to the customer based on their current situation with real-time data, including:
- Day and time
- Geographic locations
- Devices and browsers
- Loyalty statuses
- Email preferences
- Browsing history
- Customer history – recent transactions, interactions, and site visits
Personalized with chatbots
Recently, Taco Bell unveiled its TacoBot within the Slack messaging platform that allows busy workers to chat with a bot to order a Taco. Amazon too has launched their bot ‘Alexa’ to interact with customers intuitively through voice services. Such virtual robots or chatbots, powered by artificial intelligence are set to change the way businesses engage with customers. They will help bridge the gap of personalization that customers face in online shopping.
Chatbots will revamp and reinvent the way brands interact with their customers making online shopping personal and interactive. In addition, chatbots will be able to quickly understand the customer context, helping deliver better customer service and amassing rich data on customer habits – what they use their device to check and when, upcoming plans, and more. This data would then help deliver relevant shopping experiences: updates, information, and recommendations that would in turn, help increase traffic and conversion rates.
With location tracking, e-commerce businesses can gain deeper insights about their users and provide an optimized customer experience with relevant information, products, and services to fit their geographic needs. For instance, businesses can provide relevant discounts, online reviews, in-store navigation, latest trends, etc. when a customer is in the store or near the store. This will help establish trust and credibility, making it easier to eventually convert prospects into customers. Many organizations such as Best Buy, Gap, and Victoria’s Secret are already using location-based technology in their mobile advertising campaigns to drive their in-store traffic.
Clearly, contextual personalization is the way forward.
As contextual personalization moves in and shakes up the marketing world, we at Skava, an Infosys company have designed Skava Commerce to enable new, richer ways of engagement. Skava Commerce offers a native big data product, user-based recommendations, and integrations with key third-party vendors. These include insights and recommendations on products that were bought together, global / category top sellers, ‘suggested for you’, similar products, ‘also viewed’, and much more. In addition, it allows admin users to create a wealth of customer segmentations based on spending levels, product categories, demographics, geographic location, and other customized parameters. To complete the picture, Skava offers detailed and rich analytics that help leverage insights to offer tailored content, pricing, and promotions.