Personalization is the real-time individualization of a site to suit each visitor’s unique needs and guide them through a custom conversion funnel. But what companies expect to get from personalization (lots of orders) and what they’re actually getting from personalization (often, disengagement) are seemingly two different stories. Companies think data and personalization are the clear route to higher conversion and increased revenues. While, well, they will be when the AI becomes more sophisticated, for now we are still in a somewhat clumsy state and should not be heavy-handed. It won’t be overnight that we get it right, but here are three definite ways to get it wrong, and make your customers feel like an animal being tracked by a hunter.
Showing Something Again Because They Looked At It Before
Just because someone wants a Miu Miu belt bag today, doesn’t mean they want another one tomorrow. Why we want what we want isn’t that linear. Also, they could be looking at a product for a myriad of reasons. I am often looking at dresses I don’t want, which I am recommending to friends as they asked for styling advice. Or showing a consulting client competitor products. A woman could be looking for or purchasing baby items or maternitywear for a friend or family member who is hosting a baby shower, rather than for herself. Just because she searches for these items doesn’t mean she needs to receive emails or see targeted ads about baby formula nine months later. If someone searches for an item once or twice, it could be a gift or a topic being researched. Bottom line: there are so many contexts to figure out.
Lack of Globalization Savvy
In-house marketing teams I’ve worked with are often obsessed with “regions” and getting copy or content right for said region. “Are you sure they say “jumpsuit” in the US”? Will they understand “runway”? Isn’t it catwalk over there?!” It’s painful to explain over and over that these things don’t matter so much to the global-minded fashion consumer. Anyone spending over $300 on a sweater, or jumper or whatever, travels. They’re perfectly comfortable with the quirks of other lands, truly. And this lack of acknowledgement of today’s travelling customer wreaks lots of havoc and makes your company seem out of touch. Especially when there’s inaccurate location targeting at play. Using the customer’s location to provide relevant messaging adds a level of convenience, but can go wrong if it’s not accurate. If someone looks up dresses while on a week-long work trip in San Francisco and then goes home to London, chances are they no longer need offers from the West Coast. In fact, buyers who continue to see ads long after they’ve left the Marina District will likely be annoyed. Make sure all content is localized to the buyer, and don’t forget that people travel.
Too Much Contact Masked By Faux Friendliness
”Oh, hey! Remember us? We miss you! And uh, oh, did you forget something in your cart?” is the quickest route to unsubscribe-ville. Yes we know you were told in some marketing webinar that you’re supposed to stay at the forefront of your customer’s mind (and use a “conversational” tone of voice), but the consumer seduction happens just like any other seduction. It works when performed as a dance, meaning a sequence of presence and absence. Stop chasing and let them feel that scarcity, and of coursem the confirmation that they really must have that item.