- Why personalization should be at the center of your design
- Why designing for personalization matters
- Personalization starts with a plan
- How can you personalize for an unknown visitor?
- Customer experience: An ongoing process
Delivering a relevant, contextual experience starts with a careful plan and a user experience (UX) that helps capture customer data.
Why personalization should be at the center of your design
Customers visiting your website expect to see relevant information. When they do, the reward is increased conversions. Research shows that organizations that personalize see an average uplift in conversions of 19%. The potential that a truly connected customer experience can generate is exciting.
A recent report from Epsilon shows that high-value customer segments want more, not less personalization, and they will reward you with increased conversions to your key goals.
But that potential needs to be planned for and designed around. In a quest to deliver a fluid digital journey for customers, recent trends have favored seamless site designs. While they might deliver ease of interaction for the customer, they often don’t jibe with digital marketing platforms like Sitecore that are geared toward personalizing and optimizing the customer experience.
For Sitecore to craft the formula that will fuel contextual, relevant customer experiences, it needs touchpoints that generate data about visitors’ behaviors and actions. Your UX designers need to keep this top of mind when designing your site.
Why designing for personalization matters
Selling a product or service in person involves an exchange of verbal and nonverbal cues between you and your customer. These cues are messages you can see, hear, assess, and respond to face-to-face and in the moment, as you guide the consumer through their buying journey.
With the proliferation of digital channels, that face-to-face relationship has been replaced by anonymity as customers now guide themselves through the research, consideration, and selection phases online.
So where and how does personalization become part of their journey? Your site design needs to include built-in questions that Sitecore needs answered in order to identify and then personalize for your customer segments.
How UX helps you identify segments in Sitecore® Experience Platform™
Personalization is a series of questions:
- Who are you personalizing for?
- Why are you personalizing for them?
- What are you going to personalize?
- Where will the personalization be?
- And most importantly — how will you recognize them?
UX plays a vital role in answering each of these questions within the digital channel. The components of interaction and conversion that your UX design will create are not only a way to identify the segments, they’re also the elements that will be personalized. Your calls to action, content sections, imagery, and links can be varied to suit the journey of the visitor as they move through the site.
Personalization is about more than products
Personalization is about more than product recommendations or discounts. According to InMoment’s 2017 Retail Trends Report, more than half of consumers value interactions where a staff member demonstrates a strong knowledge of recent interactions.
Only 20% of consumers report receiving personalized customer service.
In short, every website should be personalized. By building your UX around personalization, you can reinforce relationships with customers looking for support and service offerings. The information you capture through personalization tactics can be channeled to your customer service staff, which will, in turn, enable them to engage with customers in ways that reference their specific needs and interests.
You may not be selling a product, but you’re selling your brand image — and potentially creating loyalty by showing your customers you’re invested in their specific and very personal journey.
Personalization starts with a plan
It’s easy to get excited about starting on your path toward personalization. But before you start mentally counting up all those new engagements and leads, know that all that potential depends on a crucial first step: preparation and planning.
We know it’s not the most exciting part, but without it, the exciting part might not happen at all. If you’re poorly prepared, you can expect your performance to suffer. Experience management platforms such as Sitecore rely on proper preparation, which we also call roadmapping, in order to deliver the return on investment that your organization expects.
Without it, we often see customers with existing sites facing painful roadblocks to optimization, sometimes requiring expensive remediation work. Unfortunately, this often means optimization is put in the “too hard” basket.
Don’t put your brand’s delivery of rich, relevant customer experiences in the “too hard” basket. You’ve come this far, so take the time to start planning and ensure that you get on the right path.
Your personalization plan: Where to start
As a first step, you’ll need to align your organization’s strategic and business objectives to your digital goals and Engagement Value Scale. According to Econsultancy’s 2018 Optimization Report, this is a defining characteristic of businesses with high-performing optimization teams.
Being able to prove the results of their efforts across the organization and tie their optimization roadmap to the overarching goals of the business means they can more easily pursue further investments in optimization.
How can you personalize for an unknown visitor?
Signing up for a newsletter. Downloading gated content. Even viewing your office location. Known as “micro-conversions,” these are some of the actions that a visitor might take that ultimately lead to larger conversions — such as creating an account, making a sales inquiry, or buying a product.
And while they might be small, they can still prove mighty. In the case of the newsletter or downloaded content, the visitor is indicating they trust you by offering you information that turns them from a stranger into a known contact, such as their email address. You can then use that information to convert that contact into a lead to be nurtured.
You won’t capture the same identifying information about a visitor viewing your office location, for example, but that micro-conversion still reveals valuable behavioral information that can help you to optimize all stages of the customer experience even before a visitor becomes a known contact.