How to Hyper-Personalize Your Customer Experience
Have you ever noticed that you receive communications from a brand when you’re in the right place at the right time? Maybe you were shopping around online for running apparel and an hour later you receive an email for a discount on a pair of running shoes that you didn’t realize would be the perfect addition to your new outfit. Or perhaps, while you’re shopping online a chatbot appears in the corner of your screen with product recommendations based on what you’re currently shopping for. You might find this creepy at first, but it is a company’s way of making your user experience a much better one. One that is tailored for you and one that only shows you want you want to see. This is called hyper-personalization.
Before hyper-personalization, there was just personalization, which is what you would call inserting a first name variable into an email campaign or calling out their company’s name in the subject line of an email. Although that is still an effective marketing tactic, hyper-personalization takes it a step further by using the shopper’s real-time behavior to determine how the website or app will engage with the shopper next.
Using hyper-personalization allows you to show shoppers what they want to see (whether or not they even know what it is that they want to see), at a time when they are most likely to engage. It is a customer-first marketing approach. The rule of thumb is that you only have eight seconds to capture someone’s attention; therefore, you have to be showing them something of interest to them to keep them on your website, and conclusively, make a purchase.
Why should you incorporate hyper-personalization into your marketing strategy? When 75% of shoppers are likely to get frustrated when content has nothing to do with them and purchase from someone whose offerings are personalized to the shoppers’ individual preferences, it shouldn’t even be a question. If you still aren’t sure if you should be using hyper-personalization for your business, this statistic might help– 89% of marketers reported that personalization on their websites or apps caused an increase in revenue.
One example of hyper-personalization that I’m sure you can relate to is Netflix. Netflix personalizes your user experience by using your name and welcoming you each time you enter the app or website. Netflix hyper-personalizes your experience by recommending new shows and movies to you based on your past watching history, how long you’ve watched a series for (and how quickly you binged it), and the ratings you gave. Netflix does this pretty subtly so you might not think twice about how heavily they are tracking you, you’re probably just excited you have a new series to watch. In fact, 80% of TV shows people watch on Netflix are found through this recommendation system, and you’re probably a part of that statistic.
Another great implementation of hyper-personalization is Starbucks. They have a similar process as Netflix, but instead of recommending TV shows they recommend coffee and treats. The Starbucks mobile app is capable of generating over 400,000 variables of hyper-personalized messages to account holders each week. These messages have different offers depending on the receiver’s spending habits, past purchases, favorite orders, preferred location… and the personalization does not stop there.
In addition to the real-time data that Starbucks is capturing, they are also tracking you. Creeped out yet? Don’t be. You can opt out of apps having access to your location services through your phone settings, but then you won’t be receiving the benefits of hyper-personalization marketing that companies like Starbucks implement. Starbucks will send app users a notification when they are nearby a cafe location that accepts in-app payment, which has actually caused 24% of total company transactions to take place via mobile app.
You might not be one of the world’s largest online streaming service or coffeehouse chain, but that does not mean you can’t carry out similar tactics in your marketing strategy. If you are an ecommerce business, set up cart abandonment recovery on your website to track who is leaving items in their shopping cart. With this information, you can send that customer a coupon they can use to make the purchase or recommend similar products to complete the purchase. You’re using real data in real time to push a customer through the sales funnel, hyper-personalization is that simple!
Has a user already completed their purchase, have they made a few purchases in the past, or are a regular shopper? You can track the analytics from their site sessions– what sections they shop in, how long it takes them to make a purchase, and what days of the week or time of the day they shop. With this information, you can send them emails or notifications to get your store at the top of their mind, and push them down the sales cycle to the purchasing stage more efficiently. If you haven’t realized by now, people are more likely to act on a stimulus they see in the right place at the right time, and 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase from someone whose offerings are personalized according to individual preferences. If your analytics show that a shopper usually makes their purchases on Sunday mornings through your store’s app on their iPhone, you better be sending them marketing communication on upcoming sales that are happening during their usual shopping time, rather than lumping them into a generic email campaign.
And it doesn’t stop at email campaigns. Here at Electric Enjin, we are big fans of chatbots, and adding a chatbot to your website or Facebook page can fuel your hyper-personalization strategy. A chatbot linked to Facebook can gather information from the user’s profile, such as first and last name, gender, and locale. These are all great variables you can use in your chatbot dialogue tree. For example, you can recommend a certain business location and give them the store’s hours based on the user’s location.
The chatbot that lives on your website can act similarly to a salesperson. There are many different ways your chatbot can interact with users, but basically (1) it can start the conversation upon entering the site, (2) the user can start the conversation at any point, or (3) the chatbot can open up once its collected the information it needs to hold a hyper-personalized conversation.
The information it gathers can be anything from what pages the user is visiting to how long they are staying on a single page. From there, you can train your bot how to act on this information. People prefer to receive information while they are shopping, as it simulates shopping in a retail store– so make your customers’ online shopping experience a hyper-personalized one. If your ecommerce website sells clothing and a user has spend 10 minutes browsing the outerwear section, then it might be an effective move to have your chatbot open up and recommend a scarf that goes with the jacket they are looking at. If the same user added an item to their cart but has remained idle for several minutes, then the chatbot should ask them if they have any questions or need any assistance in the checkout process.
Hyper-personalization is not the future of digital marketing, it is happening NOW. Your company should be getting on board with it if you aren’t already. There are so many different ways to incorporate hyper-personalization into your ecommerce marketing strategy or digital marketing strategy– email campaigns, mobile apps, chatbots and more. People are becoming accustomed to personalized digital experiences, from their iPhones telling them how long it’ll take to get home when they literally just sat their car, to Starbucks knowing their coffee order before they get into the parking lot. This is the level of personalization people expect now, so you’re going to have to provide the desired digital experience in order to see engagement with your audience. Or they will just go to the next guy.