Utilizing AI for Personalization of Websites & Digital Experiences

In the innovation race today, brands are looking to incorporate new technologies - artificial intelligence, user interfaces, big data analysis and advanced merchandising - to create personalized web experiences for their customers.

So where do you start?  Who’s doing it well?  What’s the right strategy for your brand?  How do you create a personalized experience that’s meaningful to your audience and drives revenue?  

Personalization 101

Most websites today still offer the same experience and content to every visitor, regardless of behavior, interest or attributes.  As many thousands of visitors and prospective customers - and sometimes many more - enter a website each month, they take actions that allow marketers to understand more about who they are and what their interests are.  

People are more likely to stay on a site and engage with it when they immediately see material relevant to them. The more that they have to sift through content that disinterests them, the more likely they are to leave the site and go elsewhere. How then, in a matter of seconds, can a site capture the attention of that person?

With the advancement of personalization technology, marketers can identify, segment, and target visitors, creating 1:1 digital customer journeys with content and experiences that are tailored to individual customers.  Personalization of websites and digital experiences over time can increase engagement from your audience and drive revenue.

What Makes A Good Personalization Experience?

Smart personalization experiences improve user experience and drive long-term brand loyalty.  

Some interesting examples:

Amazon

The gold standard in eCommerce, the online retailer grew from a philosophy of an “audience of one” to hone in on what it is each person wants when shopping. Capturing and analyzing the data provided by our search patterns, Amazon is able to assemble who we are digitally and serve us products based on this.

From showing products that we have looked at but not purchased to showing us products purchased by others who also purchased the same products that we have, Amazon is keeping its offerings as relative to the individual user as possible.

This method has worked very well with consumers. A robust reviews sections also grants consumers insights about products that align with their lifestyle. Amazon’s payment system makes it easy to purchase with one click, remembering shipping and billing information so much so that other sites are using their payment platform because it is such a trusted, easy-to-use and ubiquitous system.

Google

The powerhouse search engine Google personalizes its results to each user. It learns the user’s syntax, tracks their frequent searches, and notes their web use to be able to display the most relevant results to that user first.

Additionally, a user’s location is pinged from an IP address to bring in locally relevant organic search results. We’d rather see results about car rentals in Chicago if that is where we are as opposed to Dallas or a different location.

Google uses this history to remind us of what we’ve previously looked at through the use of retargeting ads. If an item is in the periphery long enough then it will worm its way into your subconscious. 

Facebook

Another giant on the personalization scene, Facebook is all about showing you just what you want to see. The newsfeed populates with posts from people you know, news stories that your friends have liked an shared or are similar in subject to ones that you’ve read before - and can all be followed or unfollowed at your discretion.

The platform tallies the time spent on each element presented and assesses engagement as well as factoring in the amount of times one has clicked on individual items. Time spent hovered over a video watching it play is still engagement, after all.

Based upon this, Facebook serves up content that its statistics say that you will find relevant. Retargeting ads showing products that you have recently viewed elsewhere on the web also help hone its marketing towards your specific interests.

Houzz

When remodeling or redecorating your home, it’s pretty easy to know what you don’t want - but it’s often hard to find what you do want. Houzz.com was created to help with that. Enter the rooms, styles, and colors that interest you and the site curates hundreds of photos to show you ideas. Further narrowing lets you see rooms by size, shape, and features.

Once you find that perfect look, Houzz lets you click on an item to buy it or shows you similar pieces. It also shows you local contractors, designers, and decorators that can help bring your vision to fruition. Saving images to Ideabooks and wishlists lets you quickly come back to those inspirational images any time that you like. No more sifting through Scandinavian modern styles when you really want that rustic country feel.

Proper Cloth

Personal style and online personalization take on a new form with the bespoke shirts available from the online men’s clothier Proper Cloth. Everything about these shirts is customized to your personal tastes. Customers select the fabric, print, collar, cuff, pocket, shirt front, yoke, and buttons that suit them. Further personalization is available with the addition of a monogram or contrast lining in the collar and cuffs.

Proper Cloth uses a set of questions to develop a custom size that can be tweaked for the perfect fit. Adjustments for shoulder shape and a watch allowance on one side are just some of the details that can be incorporated to ensure the shirt fits you just the way you want.

The site remembers your preferences, the shirt styles that you have designed and saved, and your measurements. If customers want to use different sets of measurements for dress shirts and casual shirts to tailor the fit to their liking, they can save multiple sets of custom measurements, making future purchases that much simpler.  

Netflix

The online and mail-order movie and TV show megastore Netflix personalizes its offerings based upon what you have already watched. From general genre recommendations to those with very specific elements in common, Netflix is able to offer more binge-worthy content in just the right flavor for you.

The ability to create profiles means that no one else on the account can botch the recommendation algorithms that you have cultivated so carefully. Saving titles in your list to watch later and remembering just where you stopped in that episode or movie are other ways that Netflix caters a personalized experience toward their customers.

Getting Started

How to best incorporate personalization into your digital strategy can be a fun and challenging -  and highly rewarding - exercise.   Creating a personalized web and digital experience that is unique and meaningful to your customers can drive long-term brand loyalty and revenue growth, while driving smarter marketing strategies.  

Good luck as you embark on your mission and stay tuned for more personalization information and project launches from Cuker as the technology evolves and goes mainstream.

 

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