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In an age where personalised experience is a core customer expectation, if your digital customer experience isn’t hyper-personalised, it risks being irrelevant. Nearly a year in to the Covid pandemic, businesses across all industries are having to challenge the ways in which they interact with customers, and in many cases, re-create or even re-imagine their in-person experience, online. Justin Masters, CTO at Netcel, reflects on how businesses can utilise Episerver Intelligence Cloud to compete in a digitally focused world.
As we continue to adapt to the pandemic through 2021, using digital channels to connect with others and carry out everyday tasks will remain the new normal. However, for many this lack of human contact can lead to isolation, particularly if the digital experiences they receive aren’t relevant, human and personal.
While the world may still be far from ‘normal’, there are ways in which we can use digital content to build empathy and trust with people. This is especially important for companies and brands who can no longer serve their customers face to face due to social distancing and travel restrictions.
The key is to ensure every experience delivered is hyper-personalised to your audience. This will require a shift from treating your users in groupings such as personas or website visitor groups, where an experience is delivered based on several assumptions, to making data-driven decisions that truly deliver 1:1 personalisation.
So how can you pivot from delivering a one-size-fits-many to a relevant, hyper-personalised experience that can create digital intimacy, even in these most extraordinary of times? The first step is to develop and evaluate your business case for investment in personalisation.
Commercially, a personalised customer experience has long been heralded as a key factor to winning new business – with more than four in five B2C and B2B buyers saying being treated like a person and not a number is very important when considering making a purchase. According to Econsultancy, 93% of companies reported an uplift in conversion rates since implementing a personalisation strategy.
For businesses with a growing customer base, it’s near impossible to stay ahead of your customers’ evolving desires and the nuances of their various needs. Many businesses currently do offer some form of personalisation through creating personas or building visitor groups to segment their customers into different groups or personas that warrant a different experience. Largely, these groups use data such as demographic, geographic, psychographic and behavioural traits. However, just because User A and User B may share similar traits, their needs may, in reality, be quite different and changeable on each visit to your site.
For this reason, businesses need to re-evaluate how personal and relevant their current experience is. Then gain buy in from senior leadership to ensure true personalisation, informed by data, is a high priority objective for 2021.
Manual and rules-based segmentation can be both time consuming and flawed. For businesses wanting to deliver a relevant and customer-centric experience and deliver this at scale, the optimum way to effectively achieve this is through real-time data, predictive analytics and AI-generated insights.
The next step is to plan a clear personalisation strategy. You’ll need to answer questions such as: How are your customers’ needs and preferences changing? How can you deliver 1:1 personalisation at scale using digital channels? And what technology is available to deliver real-time analytics, actionable insights and automation to deliver optimal and personalised digital experiences? Most importantly, what are the desired outcomes and value delivered to your customers through personalising your digital experience?
Customers want personal and connected digital experiences. The more you know about a customer, the better you will be able to optimise their individual experience. Episerver Intelligence Cloud analyses visitor data to form actionable customer insights. This in turn enables companies to deliver relevant, seamless and personalised content and product experiences at scale, completely automated, and with no need for manual segmentation.
There are three main elements of Intelligence Cloud: Content Intelligence, Web Content Recommendations and Web Product Recommendations.
Content Intelligence provides real-time insights on the type of content your users are engaging with, the topics which deliver the highest ROI and helps to inform content strategy through highlighting the gaps in your current content.
Web Content Recommendations uses AI to translate data captured from each unique visitor to recommend and automatically deliver the most relevant content to them to improve their experience and increase their likelihood of receiving the information they need, and ultimately enables them to convert.
Web Product Recommendations provides users with personalised product recommendations through analysing a visitor’s current journey and the actions of similar visitors. Product recommendations is underpinned by machine learning algorithms which deliver higher accuracy and require less manual intervention than rules-based personalisation.
A versatile feature of Intelligence Cloud is that it can be used with any DXP, CMS or Commerce engine. In other words, you don’t need to be using Episerver DXP in order to take advantage of Episerver Intelligence Cloud.
One of the most exciting benefits of Intelligence Cloud is its ability to learn the interests of a user in real-time, then compare their behaviour to previous users, so to serve the next best piece of content or product to deliver an optimal experience. Leveraging real-time and AI-driven insights enables users to receive a completely individualised experience that meets their unique needs.
For example, a new website user will be shown a set of products perhaps based off an initial search query. Depending on which products they interact with, they will then next be shown the most relevant products and surrounding content to best guide them on their online buying journey, all powered through automation.
Data is very much the enabler of this capability. Businesses hold an enormous amount of customer data across their entire organisation – the challenge is to manage and leverage it so to create hyper-relevant experiences for your customers. However, with a clearly defined personalisation and data strategy, and with the right systems and processes in place, the final step is to consider the capabilities required of your in-house team.
Once a personalisation, data and technology strategy has been established, companies need to consider the day-to-day management of the various systems and processes in place. There are several benefits to Intelligence Cloud that enable digital teams to get the most from their digital experience solution without having to drastically up-size their internal teams or bring in new capabilities. These are:
Implementing your personalisation strategy doesn’t need to be a burden on your internal teams. With the right data, technology and processes in place, Episerver Intelligence Cloud seamlessly integrates with your customer-facing systems to deliver optimum customer experience while requiring minimal intervention.
Episerver Intelligence Cloud has proved to be a real game-changer for companies looking to deliver a personalised, customer-centric digital experience at scale.
To move forwards, first gain buy-in from the business and plan your personalisation strategy to define how your customer needs and preferences are changing, then determine the most relevant insights to optimise your digital experience. From that, you’ll be able to evaluate the technology available to empower your business to compete digitally, while serving customers a truly individualised experience throughout their entire customer lifecycle.
Sign up for a complimentary digital consultation for guidance on how to plan a personalisation strategy, so you benefit from having clear actions to move your digital experience forward with confidence and clarity.
Alternatively, learn more on improving your digital experience, by reading insights from our Content Optimisation and Personalisation event.
For an immediate chat, get in touch with the team via the links below.