Website Personalization Strategies for 2012
Imagine if you could see all the tabs your visitor had open while browsing your site. You’d see some names that would make you cringe:
Yes my friends, your site is NOT the only one open. Half the ‘time on page’ metric is really time on the page of another website. Sharing is caring, no? What’s the next level of differentiation after price and basic usability?
Other than having a clean navigation, a good internal search algorithm or application and all the web metrics in the world…how are you crafting the site experience to be more aligned with your visitor’s specific objectives? No doubt you’ve heard of ‘personalization’ but what are you doing about it? Here’s a portion of a study by Adobe I received through an eMarketer email:
Surprisingly, email is the dominant strategy followed by the shopping cart and then standard site templates. Now, depending on your industry this could be flipped upside down or shuffled quite a bit. Let’s list out a few ideas:
Travel: recently viewed hotels or date based searches. This can span single or multiple sessions. Itinerary related emails post-booking with upsell or simply information value can help build loyalty.
Any site with a login: abandoned browse or abandoned cart emails with promotional aggressiveness ranging from reminders to actual discounts.
Appliances: homepage content that’s set based upon the category browsed in the previous visit (eg if you viewed AC units during your last visit, that would be the focus of the homepage)
Media: next articles or videos with a high x-viewing affinity with the existing one.
Clothing: items frequently purchased in the same market-basket ( a general term ).
While there are many SaaS solutions that help automate recommendations or triggered email campaigns, the challenge is always determining whether they added incremental value. Coming up with clear KPI’s and clean data to measure initiatives gives you free reign to TEST things. If you’re using an out of the box recommendation engine, do you even know how the algorithm works? It could be completely backward! With abandon browse emails…what’s the best latency or schedule to use? 1 hour, 12 hours, maybe you MUST wait for the data to be sent to the email program nightly which limits you depending on the time of day the action was taken. Before embarking on a costly and confusing quest to personalize your site experience, ask yourself these basic things:
1) am I making the site easier to use? 2) do I actually understand the technology or application? 3) will I have a set of clear KPI’s? 4) what unepxected spillover could the feature have on existing processes.
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