How Retailers Can Set Themselves Up For Successful Personalization At Scale

Q: How should a retailer structure its team internally to drive the best results with personalization? When is it time to think about bringing in outside help?

COLTON PERRY: Personalization needs to be an interdisciplinary and broad initiative. When done correctly and strategically, it touches multiple departments, teams, and constituents. These can include email and CRM, marketing, customer support and call center, digital and customer experience, merchandising, analytics and more. That being said, it is crucial to have someone on the team who is able to work with internal teams, translate their goals and customer profiles, and create and implement an integrated personalization program.

If that resource does not exist internally, partnering with an agency or consultancy with expertise in personalization and optimization is a great way to go.

REID BRYANT: We believe that personalization programs can be a natural evolution from existing optimization programs. It’s best to bring in outside help when you no longer see desirable results from your optimization program, or you simply want to stay ahead of the competition. With mature optimization programs, you begin to see diminishing returns when trying to optimize for all users.

The opportunity to reset the ‘result for effort’ curve comes from contextualized experiences implemented via your personalization program. Personalization is inherently more complex than optimization so it can accelerate your path to ROI when partnering with an experienced agency.

Q: Let’s talk about data. What are the most important data sources to inform your personalization efforts?

BRYANT: From experience, the most important data in structuring personalization programs is appropriately granular and organized behavioral clickstream data. A user’s past site interactions give you the best clue as to how they interact with your brand and what they will likely be seeking in the future. By offering a value proposition to facilitate authentication, you can tie that clickstream data to a customer profile and then bring in any additional data like in-store purchases.

PERRY: It’s less about the sources of data and more about how you leverage the data to create optimal and relevant customer experiences. For example, it means nothing that you can onboard CRM data; the key is that you use that data to understand where an individual is in their relationship with a brand, whether it’s lifetime value or purchase history, and craft customer experiences that meet and address their needs proactively. That’s where the magic happens.

Q: How should the volume of traffic shifting to mobile web and apps affect your personalization strategy? Do the same best principles from desktop apply?

BRYANT: With the shift of traffic to mobile and native apps, it is becoming more important to gain a unified view of the customer, in an authenticated state, across all devices. If the user is…