The Path to Personalized Customer Journeys

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on the Web site through organic search, an advertisement, or another way. Adobe Target and Adobe Analytics, two solutions within the Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud, deploy testing and behavioral targeting solutions to track customers as they begin to identify themselves through activity on the site and serve up highly personalized product and content recommendations in real time.

Once a customer is converted, expectations rise and the level of personalization that she seeks skyrockets, so analytics must become far more in-depth, Mathieu Hannouz, an evangelist on the cross-channel campaign management evangelism and SME team at Adobe, says. This is also where a campaign management solution, such as Adobe Campaign, should kick in to complement the analytics solution and orchestrate customer journeys through email, push notifications, direct mail, and any other channels that marketers deem appropriate.

For Adobe client Sephora, working with Adobe Campaign has paid off. The brand is consistently lauded for its personalized customer journeys and is a model for a top-notch customer experience, analysts agree. Sephora's personalization efforts are linked directly to the company's loyalty program, Beauty Insider rewards. After making a purchase, customers are invited to sign up for the program and redeem the points they earn through purchases for samples and freebies, which vary depending on their points value. As customers continue to earn points as Beauty Insiders, they can eventually attain VIB (very important beauty insider) status and enjoy perks that are associated with the achievement, including free shipping or special holiday discounts. Based on their purchase history, customers are rewarded with discounts on specific items, such as fragrances, and receive a free gift on their birthday.

In addition to rewarding customers, this loyalty program enriches the Web site and mobile app experiences. When a customer logs in, she can access a list of favorite items called "loves," as well as personalized product recommendations based on previous purchases, skin tone, and other factors. But the most compelling feature, according to Hannouz, is the "purchases" section, which reveals a list of every item the customer has ever purchased either online, through the app, or in a physical store, all in one place. Though most other businesses also keep track of order history, few facilitate access that doesn't require clicking back and forth between separate orders, and even fewer incorporate brick-and-mortar purchases.

"What a customer craves in a personalized journey is being able to get the most out of every interaction because every interaction is designed for that specific customer. Not a segment of people that behave like him, but a segment of one," says Kevin Lindsay, director of conversion product marketing for Adobe's Digital Marketing Suite.

"Customers go to Sephora's site for different things. Sometimes they want to browse, but sometimes it's to just get in, order their usual makeup, and get out. Sephora understands [its] customers, and offers personalization on every level, regardless of whether a customer is in a store and needs to pull up past purchases to remember the right color to buy or is shopping online and just wants to explore some recommendations," Hannouz adds.

Not enough vendors currently offer capabilities that bridge offline and online experiences, Wang says, but Adobe is making strides, especially in retail. Traditionally, when a customer browsed for items online but didn't purchase them, a retargeting email would be triggered and sent to her inbox. With Adobe Campaign, however, there are more personalized options. For instance, if a customer chooses a pair of shoes but abandons the cart, Adobe Campaign uses geolocation and inventory tracking technology to send a push notification 

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