As companies expand operations globally there can be many challenges with aligning business endeavors across nations. Certona has taken great strides to ensure that this isn’t the case for personalization. Providing advice and guidance to our clients through many multi-country site implementations, Certona has expertise in developing a holistic view of our client’s customers, that enables them to deliver a consistent brand and enhanced shopping experience worldwide.
Operating internationally ourselves, Certona’s team in the United Kingdom have consulted with many leading and innovative retailers; and observe the same trend toward omnichannel personalization that we’ve seen in the United States – a desire to harmonize personalization across channels and extend that harmonization throughout multi-national operations.
In the most recent edition of Internet Retailer's magazine, Meyar discusses personalization and its benefits to customer engagement, noting at the outset of the article how "the more holistic the personalization strategy, the more engaging the shopping experience and the more consumers will gravitate to the retailer's site."
A holistic approach, naturally, must include even those visitors who are visiting your site for the very first time. Despite little data, a more personalized experience is still possible through the provision of recommendations based on products popular with other first-time visitors. This only has to be done for a short time though, as our personalization software starts building a profile after only three to five clicks.
While tracking the click path of these new visitors is important, it is equally important to note what kind of content they are seeking out and engaging with. "Consumers clicking on product videos or reading customer reviews should be directed to these sources of information along with targeted product recommendations, because they give the shopper's additional information they need to make a purchasing decision," Meyar says.
There are a number of things to like about Rob from his always friendly nature to his tireless work ethic to his affinity for stick on moustaches. But, what I will always remember about him is how he opened my eyes to the convenience and glory of microwaved eggs. What a revelation it was for me. Thanks Rob!
How long have you been at Certona?
I joined Certona in April 2011, previously coming from the medical software industry. I was introduced to Certona from a colleague of mine that I had previously worked with; he thought I would be a good fit because of lateral project management experience and work ethic.
What does your typical day look like at Certona?
My days are pretty dynamic, but I typically have a number of scheduled external conference calls and internal meetings.
My client calls concern a number of topics including current project implementations, helping define scoping requirements, and the review of current performance metrics. My ultimate goal is always to help my clients maximize the benefit of Certona's powerful personalization platform.
Some topics of internal meetings range include discussing implementation methods, documentation of process, implementation scoping, process improvement, and the planning of fun related events for our staff (my favorite meeting of the month).
In a world where consumers expect an engaging shopping experience, businesses are seeking to deliver on that expectation by developing strategies that speak to each customer on an individual level. A proven way to accomplish this is to implement a personalization strategy that includes product and content recommendations and leverages the power of real-time customer profiling. In this series, entitled The Reality of Personalization, we will address the different levels of personalization, how to deploy them across channels, and ultimately develop an omnichannel experience.
Personalization has become increasingly common over the past decade, and what was once a basic black box implementation has become an umbrella for many techniques with varying degrees of complexity. From geographic targeting to true 1:1 real-time profiling, personalization is a catch-all for leveraging consumer data to deliver recommendations for the purpose of providing the most engaging customer experience possible.
As businesses develop a personalization strategy it is important to understand the benefits of the various options, and where each fits in accomplishing their goals.
Interview with Meyar Sheik, CEO Certona
What are retailers’ concerns about personalization now and looking to the future?
One of the trends, as you know, is that multichannel is becoming more omnichannel. Personalization on the web has been challenging enough. Now retailers are looking at a more complete picture for their consumers. More and more consumers are sophisticated, well informed and connected through different devices and touch points. Being able to deliver a more consistent experience, regardless of where the customer engages and interacts with their brand, is really important.
Which ecommerce retailers are doing personalization right, and how do they go about becoming omnichannel?
There are a number of retailers, that are our clients, that are doing it right. Certainly, I think Staples is doing a great job, and Home Depot is doing a great job. It’s a process that has to be done in layers. You have to understand which channel is most important to you, or really most important to your customer. Start from there and work your way through the whole customer journey.
Personalization is becoming more and more important. In the past it used to be synonymous with recommendations. It’s based in recommendations and we started our roots in personalized recommendations, but it’s a lot more than that now.
It’s more about that entire customer journey, and there is a growing trend among retailers to have a new position called a Chief Digital Officer. Digital retail is here to stay. What’s really important is to be able to have a holistic view from the CEO down and embrace personalization as a strategy, and not just as a feature or doing something to try to keep up with your competitors. You have to have sponsorship and endorsement from the entire C-Suite, so that the personalization strategy is weaved into all aspects of engagement with your client as a retailer.