CEO Meyar Sheik in April 2013 IR Magazine: Personalization Tips Sure To Drive More Sales
When personalization is done right, shoppers find products aligned to their tastes and needs and, more often than not, the e-retailer garners the sale. Increasingly, consumers expect this level of service from e-retailers they frequent, says Meyar Sheik, CEO and co-founder of personalization software provider Certona. The vendor’s software generates product recommendations based on a shopper’s current and past on-site browsing, as well as past purchase history.
“Retailers need to think of personalization as a customer engagement strategy, not just a feature for their web site,” Sheik says. “The more holistic the personalization strategy, the more engaging the shopping experience and the more consumers will gravitate to the retailer’s site. The less personalized the shopping experience, the less it inspires consumers.
”Personalization can be applied even when the eretailer may not have a lot of data about a particular shopper. For a first-time visitor, merchants can initially apply data culled from the actions of other first-time customers to personalize the shopping experience. For example, the e-retailer can show a new visitor the most popular products or brands among other first-time visitors. Then, as the consumer clicks around the site, Certona’s personalization software builds that customer’s profile and begins showing personalized recommendations, offers and related content. Certona’s personalization engine builds a customer profile after the customer makes just three to five clicks.
The more data the personalization software gathers, the more personalized and targeted the shopping experience can become. The optimal personalization implementation involves more than just tracking what pages a shopper views as she moves about a retail site and keeping a record of past behavior for a repeat customer to determine what products or promotions to show her. Retailers should also pay attention to all customer clicks to determine what information and additional content a shopper needs to not only find the right product, but decide to buy it.
“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 the additional information they need to make a purchasing decision,” Sheik says. “Personalization is like a jigsaw puzzle and making it work effectively depends on a retailer’s ability to fit all the pieces together.”
Sheik also recommends that retailers tie their personalization strategy to a specific action or outcome, such as increasing the average dollar amount of orders, increasing content consumption or boosting conversion rates. That makes it easier to determine a return on investment.