Personalization is now an essential part of any eCommerce strategy that the term itself is in danger of becoming redundant. Its existence is now considered a given for any business with designs on acquiring, retaining, and engaging online consumers. Suppose you’re not offering a personalized user experience with content tailored to the needs of your customer or prospect. In that case, you’re likely to lose them to a competitor who is doing precisely that.
But as personalization becomes the norm, and with so many online retailers scrambling for the coveted attention of consumers in an increasingly crowded space, the simple concept of personalization is no longer enough. Those once seemingly cutting-edge techniques (including a prospect’s first name in an email, for example) are old hat, replaced with an ever-more dynamic, highly-adaptable approach that takes design, UX, and digital marketing to a higher level, and can turn that casual consumer into a devoted (and big-spending) brand advocate.
That’s where ‘hyper-personalisation’ comes in. Unlike its more elementary predecessor, this supercharged version of personalization operates on the premise that artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and real-time data can be leveraged to create a user experience that is more bespoke, more exclusive, and, ultimately, more relevant to your target consumer, advancing your engagement strategy and driving that all-important customer loyalty.
If your online business has still not caught up to this notion (or you’re unsure of how to implement and develop a robust hyper-personalization model successfully) then read on, as this article outlines the steps needed to tap into the potential of AI-led, data-driven content for maximum engagement and growth.
What are the benefits of hyper-personalization?
Firstly, it’s important to understand the key reasons why implementing a more advanced personalization strategy is so imperative, and how it can help your business engage, inspire and retain more and more customers than ever before. If you get it right (and you have the right tools and capabilities at your disposal) there is almost endless potential for growing your online presence, your brand reputation, and your annual turnover.
More loyal customers
In an ever-expanding online marketplace, the value of consumer loyalty is at an all-time high, so it’s more important than ever to turn prospects into first-time buyers and one-off purchasers into frequently-returning regulars. But that also means it’s increasingly difficult, as an abundance of choice in an overcrowded market means customers can be as fickle or as choosy as they like when it comes to the brands and companies they pledge allegiances to.
Advancing your personalization strategy is the most effective way to build a loyal customer base, and the benefits are plentiful. Most businesses agree that customer retention is cheaper than acquisition (up to five times cheaper, in fact) so loyal customers cost you less than newly-acquired ones. Furthermore, your most devoted consumers are likely to contribute up to 80% of your overall revenue, despite often making up a much smaller percentage of your total audience.
Increased conversion and revenue
Conversion and revenue are increasingly tied to personalization, as a highly-personalized shopping experience is far more likely to lead to a sale and slash drop-off rates. A so-so experience with little in the way of tailored content will often fail to excite or entice a potential lead, but an acute knowledge of exactly what makes your customer tick coupled with the ability to offer it to them at precisely the right moment in their buying journey (whether that’s an exclusive discount, a personalized buying guide or a fully customizable product offering) will unlock their capacity (and their inclination) to convert.
Additionally, an advanced personalization strategy invariably drives an increased shopping frequency, an expanded basket size and a heftier average spend, meaning the average lifetime value of your customer will only continue to grow over time. Combined with an escalating conversion rate, the potential for revenue growth is unbounded.
The ability to adapt and evolve
Businesses generally fail when they standstill and the same principle can be applied to your personalization strategy. Remember that your customers’ needs, behaviors, and motivations continually evolve based on their circumstances (personal, financial, etc.), their values, and life choices. The way they interact with your brand is likely to shift over time.
And as technologies improve and adapt to a more demanding landscape, this can reshape your customers’ demands and expectations. It’s therefore crucial that your personalization strategy is adaptable enough to meet the ever-changing needs of your audience.
The benefit of an AI-based personalization strategy (which can learn, evolve, and adapt to your customers’ interactions in real-time) is that it supports this need for constant evolution and can pivot rapidly when needed, meaning your customers’ needs and expectations are consistently being met and that the content you serve (and the experience you create) is always relevant, up-to-date and likely to keep your customers fully engaged.
How to implement a hyper-personalization strategy
Use data effectively
An advantage of advanced customization is the ability to access real-time data about your customers’ buying histories and activities and utilize that data to create a unique, personalized environment that meets their anticipated needs and wishes (and offers solutions to problems expected). Netflix does this well, using its robust algorithm to make relevant, personalized TV and movie recommendations.
AI-based machine learning can not only process and analyze a slew of data in super-quick time but also use the information it collects to make predictions on what a customer might do next, such as where they’re likely to go, what they’re likely to buy or when they’re due a return visit to your store. Using this automated approach, you can then tailor their experience to focus on their anticipated next move.
Focus on the customer experience is one of the best Personalization Strategy
The more you learn about how your customers interact with your site, the more you can tailor their experience to enhance satisfaction and further engagement. Many marketing professionals believe customer experience is the most critical aspect of a leading-edge personalization strategy; your customers’ time is at a premium, and a chaotic, impersonal approach is likely to turn them off for good, but if you have a detailed profile of your customer and capable development resources, you can build a truly personalized experience.
When concentrating on experience, though, you must first ensure that you’re covering all your bases regarding infrastructure. There’s no use in having a heavily-custom journey planned out if the underlying architecture of your website can’t reliably support it. To ensure a smooth and frictionless user experience, using a robust and high-performance eCommerce hosting service is a must — and with services like Cloudways offering managed cloud hosting options with 24/7 support for staple platforms like WordPress, it’s pretty easy to focus on enhancing your UX without needing to think much about technical factors.
Reward your most loyal customers
As we’ve already mentioned, the ability to convert casual onlookers and infrequent purchasers into loyal, repeat customers is one of the biggest advantages of a dynamic personalization strategy. And to keep your most engaged customers buying into your brand or your product offering, it’s important that you use personalization to continue rewarding their loyalty. Using machine-powered intel, the data you collect about your audience will allow you to identify your ‘gold standard’ consumers (those whose time and money are most valuable to you) and enable you to serve bespoke, tailored content directly to them.
Creating a VIP-type experience that serves their anticipated desires is an incredibly powerful way of making your key brand advocates feel like they’re more than a bit special. You could even offer them first access to your latest products and services, an exclusive behind-the-scenes view of your company, or invites to events and experiences that align with their interests.
Use social media to your advantage
While there are several digital marketing spaces where personalization can be leveraged for maximum impact, a progressive personalization strategy is crucial when it comes to marketing via social channels. With users scrolling through their social feeds at breakneck speed, you have little time to divert their attention, so highly-tailored content based on their anticipated appetite is the only way to cut through the clutter.
Social platforms like Twitter use analytics to profile your followers and offer insights into their interests, occupations, devices, and more — with these things all being invaluable personalization cues. Social retargeting campaigns are also great marketing tools to re-grab the attention of a prospective customer who has already interacted with your site, as long as the content is highly relevant to their previous behavior or search history.
In summary, when it comes to driving customer engagement and building consumer loyalty, you need more than a mere personalization strategy; you need a hyper-personalization strategy. And if you want to break through an increasingly overcrowded online space and optimize the user experience, a highly innovative approach to personalized content and tailored marketing is essential.
You’ll need to equip your business with an advanced personalization strategy that is equal parts dynamic, adaptable and scalable so that you can continue to meet the needs and anticipate the desires of your customers even in the face of their rapidly evolving demands and expectations.