Hyper-personalization – Reinventing Customer Experience
Customers expect hyper-personalization. They have started experiencing the benefits of it with other brands and come to anticipate the same from you. Especially in recent years, customers have started looking for more tailor-made experiences in exchange for the sensitive data they are prepared to share. To make their journey more engaging and valuable, businesses must start providing specific, relevant, accurate information and services in their interactions and messaging.
It is becoming increasingly important for businesses to act in a more contextually relevant, informed, and impactful way to succeed in today’s competitive landscape and this requires a granular understanding of their target audience. To persuade customers to connect and place orders, businesses need to find a way to personalize their messaging or to put it succinctly, incorporate hyper-personalization.
71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions - McKinsey 1
Let’s dig into this concept of using a personalized approach through contextual data and segmentation. Simply put, you need to understand what buyers expect and create targeted and emotionally intelligent experiences, through a data-driven hyper-personalization strategy to provide them a superior buying experience.
Why embrace hyper-personalization?
Hyper-personalization has become a strategic imperative for better service, greater efficiency, growth, profitability, and increased customer lifetime value. Businesses build in-depth information through comprehensive data and analytics to anticipate consumer needs and to create a progressively better customer experience. In essence, make customer interactions easier, more familiar, and enjoyable.
Hyper-personalization acts as an enabler – it helps brands be more aware of customer requests, patterns, priorities, behavior, and more. They can then collate all the information, track the pivotal metrics, learn, apply, optimize, and improve the messaging to make customer experiences more fruitful. The Hyper-personalization approach helps brands provide concrete value to their clientele.
So, what are the different areas in which brands can hyper-personalize to elevate engagement, minimize abandonment, and generate more business? Let’s take a look.
Top 7 Applications of Hyper-personalization
1) Right Product recommendations: An AI-driven recommendation engine running on the backend can suggest the right goods, based on past purchases and/or the products added to the cart. The right product shown at the right time in a customer’s journey can lead to a prompt checkout. The idea is to confuse less and captivate more – something that can generate more order placements.
67% of consumers expect brands to give relevant product or service recommendations - McKinsey 2
A customer who wouldn’t have otherwise purchased an extra product was tempted into buying it, simply because they couldn’t resist the offer. Online stores and even offline retail shops can leverage this to their advantage – cross-sells, upsells, and combo deals are all a result of intelligent product recommendations that entice customers into buying more.
Once again, it comes down to showing the right product, at the right time, and in the right place. Offline retailers give a lot of thought to how they will showcase a window or a poster for a newly launched product, its placement, the messaging on it, and of course the graphics. The targeted customer will take an immediate interest.
- Uses predictive analytics built around personal data to anticipate needs
- Use real-time and historical data to gain a deep understanding of customers
- Refer to Wishlist, “Saved for Later” list, historical shopping patterns, and shopping cart
2) Dynamic product pricing: Standard product pricing and stock discounts rarely ever lead to customer satisfaction. Brands ought to adjust the pricing based on a customer’s specifics, which could be loyalty, past purchases, location, and other parameters. Even in B2B, the price component is split into tiers, with the Platinum tier, heavily discounted pricing reserved for long-term customers.
Anyone in the Silver and Bronze tiers receives far fewer discounts. Similarly, someone living closer to the shipping center doesn’t deserve to pay the same shipping charges, compared to someone situated far away. This goes to show that businesses cannot look at every client through the same lens. An ideal brand carefully regulates the prices based on the customer’s identity.
Essentially through this approach, brands tweak the offer, promotion, or price based on the customer’s propensity to convert. Customer centricity means integrating customer data to make informed decisions about the customers, which entices them to even make an impulse purchase – seeing as the final product price was in sync with their expectations.
3) Provide more value on the right channel: Redefine the omnichannel approach and focus on giving customers more value on the channels they prefer most. Hyper-personalization is an integral part of providing an exceptional customer experience in the right channel at the right time. Utilize data mining to understand where each shopper prefers to spend more time and money.
Once you have this individualized information, you can target them right there, without wasting money on showing ads and offers on touchpoints that they rarely connect with. If customers interact with different channels throughout their journey, then it requires better alignment and integration between all the channels to capture customer sentiment and time the right information.
Establish your brand’s presence on YouTube and other social media platforms through enticing and relevant content. Tap into what’s trending at the moment and try to incorporate that into your messaging. Most buyers frequent these websites, and a memorable experience here will lead to them preferring your brand over your competitors for future purchases. Even leverage credible and popular influencers on these channels to plug/promote your brand through relevant content. Why? Because your buyers are visiting their pages anyway and this is where you want to be seen. A supportive post from these internet sensations can go a long way in establishing your brand’s credibility and multiplying your sales.
Providing high value on the right channel will require companies to embrace an automated, connected, and customer-centric approach that taps into buyer behavior and engages customers on a personal level. An efficient omnichannel system will use a data-driven approach to maximize value for the customers on their preferred channel.
- Arm yourself with the right information to serve customers in the best way
- Design custom channel experiences post understanding customer intention and behavior
- The right strategy can push customers from any channel to a channel of their choice
- Leads to higher customer satisfaction and “moments of delight” on the desired channel
4) Tailored Content and overall messaging: The best content is the one that pertains to the individual’s true needs. Businesses want to create bespoke content that contextualizes and individualizes the messaging to suit the buyer persona. The right content, sent to the right segment, at the right time, and at the right place has the power to trigger a purchase.
66% of consumers expect brands to tailor messages to their needs - McKinsey 3
Creating targeted campaigns for the right buyer persona involves relevant, contextual, valuable, accurate, and engaging content for the specific phase in their buying journey. Personalized content could attract, invoke interest, build desire, and result in an action. Businesses need to build a holistic profile using the implicit and explicit data of each customer before initiating any communication.
- Relevant follow-up content post-purchase after a few weeks
- Send timely communication, tied to key moments of a consumer’s life
- Celebrate milestones with relevant promotions or offers
5) Stock visibility on the front-end: Customers suffer and regret their purchase decisions after finding out their order can’t be fulfilled due to stock unavailability. Brands after accepting the order would find out that there is a low stock count or other logistical concerns, which could potentially create delays or increase delivery expenses. They fulfill the order nonetheless but take a considerable loss and ruin their relationship with customers when the product fails to reach them or reaches them late. You can avoid these situations, by managing the stock count better and/or showing an appropriate disclaimer on the product detail page to alert the customers in advance.
Buyers don’t see an “Out of Stock” message on the Product Detail Page, and proceed to checkout, only to go through delays and in some instances have the order canceled. Often brands, as discussed above, aren’t able to deliver orders to a specific geographic location. In this scenario, it’d be best to let the consumer know about your inability to deliver a particular item from the outset. Despite the data trade-off, even if you can’t deliver – do you contact them again when you can?
- Invest in a stock management software that sends timely notifications
- Be in the know about the number of units of each product in your inventory
- Early alerts about low stock count can help to restock goods sooner
- Do not accept orders – lock the ability to add an OOS item to the cart
6) Pre-populated forms and documents: Making consumers fill out checkout forms and other paperwork is exhausting and often acts as friction in their flow. Brands must develop a way to pre-populate fields and other documents with data that is fixed, and only require them to fill fields that vary. This can apply to subscriptions, memberships, identity verification paperwork, and more.
Automate this procedure and try to streamline their data entry as much as possible. This way consumers only have to focus on the necessary details and can complete the process a lot sooner. However, give them the option to edit the pulled data if need be, this acts as another layer of verification. Additionally, the system in the backend must learn and improvise as well.
7) Promotions and Marketing campaigns: The success of Pay Per Click (PPC) ad spending, email campaigns, offline communication, and other promotional activities depend heavily on your ability to persuade customers to take the desired action. Leveraging hyper-personalization through pro-active learning leads to the kind of messaging that adapts and hits the customer in all the right spots.
Companies capture 40% more revenue from personalized marketing actions or tactics - McKinsey 4
Random and uninformed marketing drains cash, wastes effort, and leaves you with minimal returns. Instead, focus on offering unique data-centric solutions that stem from analytical models and deep learning. The insightful data helps to know your customer, which then helps to predict their needs. Once you have that in place, sending a customized and impactful marketing copy isn’t all that hard.
The best kind of marketing is the one that keeps the visual and textual messaging down to the individual’s needs. Knowing what your consumers want and showing just that, increases the likelihood of converting them. The best part, the Return on Investment (ROI) is going to be so much more. Hyper-personalized ads will always stimulate a customer more than a generic ad.
Customers are increasingly expecting hyper-personalization at various points of their journey. Brands that deliver this level of customer service are the ones that will gain preference, competitive advantage, and cement their place as industry leaders. Even small shifts in improving customer intimacy will result in brands acquiring short-term wins.
Beyond this, consistent efforts to drift away from monetary objectives and become more customer-centric will drive long-term benefits. Brands will need to ground their efforts in customer-centric activities and nurture relationships with personalized messaging to win loyalty and thrive & develop into a profitable company.
AI-driven next-generation data collection and advanced analytics will serve as the bedrock of personalized campaigns. Businesses will need to align organizational capabilities, talent base, stakeholders, and other actors to undertake a systematic data-driven approach. This approach will allow companies to have the right ecosystem to sustain all hyper-personalization goals.
This is part 1 of a 3-part series of blogs I am writing on Hyper-personalization. Stay tuned for the second one where I talk about some of the key benefits of Hyper-personalization and how implementing a strategic initiative around the same can lead to concrete value realization and maximize your returns.
1 Arora N, Ensslen D, Fiedler L, Liu WW, Robinson K, Stein E, and Schüler S, November 12, 2021, The value of getting personalization right—or wrong—is multiplying, McKinsey, https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-value-of-getting-personalization-right-or-wrong-is-multiplying
2 Arora N, Ensslen D, Fiedler L, Liu WW, Robinson K, Stein E, and Schüler S, November 12, 2021, The value of getting personalization right—or wrong—is multiplying, McKinsey, https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-value-of-getting-personalization-right-or-wrong-is-multiplying
3 Arora N, Ensslen D, Fiedler L, Liu WW, Robinson K, Stein E, and Schüler S, November 12, 2021, The value of getting personalization right—or wrong—is multiplying, McKinsey, https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-value-of-getting-personalization-right-or-wrong-is-multiplying
4 Arora N, Ensslen D, Fiedler L, Liu WW, Robinson K, Stein E, and Schüler S, November 12, 2021, The value of getting personalization right—or wrong—is multiplying, McKinsey, https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-value-of-getting-personalization-right-or-wrong-is-multiplying