The ‘Micro-Moments’ Dilemma: How to Provide Accurate Online Recommendations Post Father’s Day
The National Retail Federation recently projected that nearly 30 percent of U.S. consumers would purchase at least part of their Father's Day gifts online. That's good news for all those dads out there because they were sure to have many interesting and wonderful items to open and enjoy. Yet now that Father's Day has come and gone, consumers who purchased gifts for their dad online will go back to focusing on their own online shopping needs. However, those online purchases for dad may cost you more than you thought in the form of poor product recommendations if marketers and retailers aren't on top of their game.
Unfortunately, gift-giving "micro-moments" like Father's Day may lead to a series of irrelevant recommendations for designer ties and grilling accessories that could haunt consumers’ online shopping experiences for a long time. That's why the savviest retail marketers are now turning to third-party vendors that provide world-class algorithms to identify behavior and appropriately adjust online recommendations. This assures these micro-moments are recognized accordingly and don't negatively impact future recommendations.
Marketers need to consider not only these micro-moments but also the consumer's preferences for how and when to shop. Through the use of predictive analytics and algorithms, retailers can track behavior so that almost every online (as well as offline) activity feeds back into the algorithm.
As a result, consumers are being given more control over the recommendations they see based on data they provide retailers. Through the use of algorithms and predictive analytics, retailers can track behavior so every click, search or purchase feeds back into the algorithm. This allows retailers to keep an accurate, dynamic profile of the customer and keep recommendations fresh and current.
Done right, personalized recommendation solutions can deliver a big part of the Holy Grail of retail marketing: a true one-to-one customer relationship that transcends channels and creates a retail experience that's positive and respectful of the customer as an individual. Beyond solutions that provide this service to retailers, there are simple steps you can take to support even early-stage personalization efforts:
- Have a solid strategy: Think about what site activity, customer data and third-party data matters most to your business, then use that data appropriately. Do a sanity check of the results to make sure that even the most basic recommendations make sense to the customer, and always keep in mind what customers have already purchased, especially recent purchases. There's nothing worse than getting a recommendation for an item that you just purchased and haven't even paid the credit card bill for yet.
- Tune in to the right channel: Businesses that have a loyalty program, for instance, should be able to match up online and offline purchase behavior to more effectively target individual customers where and when they want to be reached. Also, be sure to consider additional data as well, including mobile channel data. There are pieces of information contained in the core subscription data (geographic region, gender, etc.) that can be helpful in making more relevant recommendations if used correctly.
- Test, tweak and optimize: Regardless of how and where you get started, always test to see what works and what doesn't. Continue to optimize. Personalization is an ongoing process of improvement. Consumer behaviors change, your product catalog changes and the marketplace changes. Your algorithms — which are powering your e-commerce life — should adapt accordingly.
Marketers who follow these tips and use technology that analyzes behavioral data to drive meaningful recommendations are the ones who will succeed in winning the customer's business in the end. Marketers that make the mistake of being inaccurate in their targeting efforts — i.e., confusing a micro-moment for consistent behavior — are at great risk of losing sales and customers. The best of the automated personalization solutions are those that match customers and recommendations with extreme precision, leading consumers in the right direction, whether the purchase is for a gift or themselves.