How Experiential Personalization Can Shrink the Digital Shopping Aisle

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Personalization can be more than just retargeted ads. In fact, it definitely should be. Experiential personalization is the answer to our impending cookie-free future. Of course, brands can already deliver personalized consumer experiences without personally identifiable information (PII). However, recognizing intent, motivation, and interest and aligning experiences accordingly are cost-effective strategies that shorten purchase paths.

Here's why it’s vital to add experiential personalization to your toolbox.

What is Experiential Personalization?

According to McKinsey, “consumers want personalization throughout their interactions with a retailer—with multiple, personalized touchpoints that enable them to allocate their time and money according to their preferences.”

Connecting the dots, experiential personalization uses factual and deductive data to qualify sentiment, interest, and motivation. By considering contextual intent, brands can deliver relevant, in-moment marketing messages and match the consumer experience.

Using factual, first-party data straight from the consumer removes the need for PII and third-party cookies. It delivers a compliant and fully consented consumer experience that produces rich, actionable data. This is a complete strategic differentiator for brands.

The Top 4 Benefits of Experiential Personalization

1. You can convert consumers faster.

Successful experiential personalization brings the desired product to the consumer faster with fewer search requirements—thus shrinking the proverbial shopping aisle.

Let’s take a look at a metaphorical case study of this in action. Let’s say a consumer named Alison is looking for a new laptop; she knows what she wants and is researching websites. However, when Alison clicks on an Acme Electronics ad, she is shown a home page full of juicers and electric blankets. Instead of shopping with Acme Electronics, she makes her purchase with another store.

Wouldn’t it be better to present Alison with a home page tailored to her known needs (even if we don’t know anything else about her other than she is interested in a laptop)?

By aligning the consumer journey with their interests and intent, brands can show value a lot sooner in the path to purchase. This means that targeting is tighter, and marketers can reduce clicks and convert faster.

2. It's a much softer way to introduce a product.

Using contextual flags to personalize the consumer experience allows consumers to retain control and set their preferences. In addition, brands must understand when a consumer is still in the research and discovery phase and deliver a relevant experience.

Let's go back to Alison. She’s now found your ads on a couponing site. She clicks an advertorial billing “the best new skin-sensitive cosmetics” and a site tailored to women with dry skin. Even though she is still technically an unidentified consumer, parameters are created as interest segments that travel with her to the destination site of the advertiser.

When Alison lands on the advertiser’s site, she finds price-focused offers on skincare. This personalized content aligns with her interests and has shrunk the proverbial shopping aisle. Alison controls the narrative; we’re not offering her the next best item or a generic offer. Alison got what she wanted.

Experiential personalization serves the right content based on consumers' care and not what a brand has on sale.

3. It maximizes advertising spend with contextual relevancy.

When it comes to data, we are firm believers in quality over quantity. Numerous case studies reference Pareto's Principle—the 80/20 rule, i.e., a brand’s top 20 percent of consumers represent 80 percent of its revenue. So making quality connections with motivated consumers will reap the greatest reward. When looking at data capture from this perspective, it’s clear that building personalization from the first initial touchpoint is critical. Another “Enter email for X percent off” just isn’t going to start that trust-based relationship with each consumer.

By utilizing anonymous intent data to facilitate experiential personalization, brands will increase positive brand experiences from higher up in the funnel. In addition, allowing the consumer to define better experiences for themselves provides the foot in the door for brands to engage and earn data from their (otherwise anonymous) website visitors.

Earned data, shared directly from the consumer, is the key to unlocking true experiential personalization. It provides rich, actionable, and fully consented data that brands can use to deliver a more valuable consumer experience and foster a long-lasting relationship.

And it all starts with paying attention to contextual flags that will maximize a brand’s advertising budget.

4. It's secure and private—all that is known is intent and motivation.

With cookies on the way out, brands are looking for future-proof data strategies, and again, this is where experiential personalization can deliver.

The loss of surveillance-style tracking heralds consumers a new era of privacy-conscious choices. As a result, brands that build consumer-centric strategies will come through the impending regulations and changes in the best shape. Not only that, brands will discover that these strategies will deliver better results.

When consumers are put front and center of decision making, they can define better experiences for themselves. For example, if brands ask for feedback from consumers before asking for an order, they will get to know them in more detail and on their terms. This approach generates high-quality data that is also fully consented to and compliant.

The end of surveillance-based data capture is coming. However, all brands now have the means to recognize intent, motivation, and interest. This will help them align experiences accordingly and provide consumers with a more valuable experience that meets and exceeds expectations.

Michael D. Fisher, Ed.D., is the CEO of 3radical. He brings more than 25 years of experience in organizational transformation through research, education, and revenue growth. Fisher specializes in helping companies build collaborative, connected, cohesive cultures, with a commitment to personal and professional development and success. He is on the board of directors of TheCustomer.net.

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