E-commerce: Three Personalization Strategies and Requirements
One of the great advantages of Internet marketing is the ability to personalize the user experience, provided you have the data, expertise and technology to do so. E-commerce executives from three multichannel merchants shared their assorted experiences, strategies and failures with personalization during a session at last week’s eTail conference in Palm Desert, Calif.
1. Personalization is just a fancy name for segmentation, according to Andrew Knight, manager of online user experience at big-box hardware retailer The Home Depot. “Personalization starts with customer registration; that’s where we get a lot of the segmentation data for personalization efforts,” he said.
Personalization then can address anything from customer geographic location to contact preference. The trick then is to get the customer to provide that segmentation data, or otherwise tease it out of them through product purchase interactions, Knights said.
2. Use the customer life cycle as a personalization tool. For David’s Bridal, a marketer of wedding dresses and accessories, the wedding time line is the most important part of the segmentation strategy, said vice president of e-commerce Carol Steinberg. Marketing messages are timed to what a bride might need or should have whether she’s six months or six weeks from her wedding date. Knowing the life cycle of your products means knowing what customers need leading up to or following a major purchase with you, she pointed out.
3. Watch for and anticipate purchase triggers. More than just life cycle marketing, watching for purchase triggers requires an in-depth analysis of what products your customers buy following other purchases. “Whenever a purchase is made, either over the phone or on the Web, it starts a communication strategy based on certain purchase details,” noted David Manela, vice president of strategy and business development at Vivre, a multichannel merchant of luxury apparel and home furnishings. “If [customers] buy a particular brand of dress, we know they’re likely to purchase another specific product in a couple of weeks. We try to anticipate and trigger that purchase with an e-mail.”