Holistic Commerce and Personalization Strategies
By Carl Bleich
Welcome to part five of our “The Way to Data” series, where we discuss the combination of data and e-commerce personalization. Follow along for best practices, insights, and tips to create winning business strategies and better customer experiences.
Personalization has completely altered the world of digital commerce.
Greater means of data processing and better algorithms have enabled companies to provide granular, individualized service to customers. Customers have, in turn, come to expect that from companies and the great arms race of e-commerce personalization has begun.
Bloomreach defines e-commerce personalization as the practice of using commerce data responsibly to get to know, guide, and impress your customers with experiences that are so relevant and contextual, they feel like magic. E-commerce personalization spans cross-channel, on-site, and in-app, resulting in measurable journeys that engage and lead customers through brand awareness to product discovery to repeat purchases.
As if e-commerce personalization wasn’t already detailed enough, companies are now drilling deeper past the initial overarching meaning into two separate definitions — hyper- and holistic personalization.
But don’t worry, the difference between the two is actually quite simple to understand. It’s understanding which type of personalization your company is capable of and which type of personalization your customers are demanding that can be challenging.
Hyper-personalization leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and real-time commerce data to deliver more relevant content, product, and service information to customers. Essentially, hyper-personalization is when companies use the commerce data (the combination of customer and product data) that they’ve compiled and organized to offer an optimal experience for consumers on a single channel.
Using this commerce data to personalize customer experiences ensures that no two customers will have the exact same experience with your brand and that you are putting your best foot forward in terms of personalized emails, product recommendations, search results, and website landing pages.
Most companies with the ability to compliantly collect customer data and an updated tech stack have the ability to hyper-personalize. And in today’s market, companies need that ability to survive.
According to a recent McKinsey & Company report, 75% of shoppers switched to a new store, product, or way of making purchases since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, 76% get frustrated when a brand does not offer a personalized interaction while shopping.
It’s metrics like these that have turned hyper-personalization from the wave of the future into being absolutely necessary for survival in e-commerce. Using an algorithm, AI, machine learning, and other similar technologies has become the norm in e-commerce and is necessary to keep up with the rising expectations of consumers.
While hyper-personalization efforts provide your customers with a more personalized (and therefore better) experience with your brand, holistic personalization strategies help to complete the commerce experience across every touchpoint.
The definition of holistic personalization encompasses a lot of the very same verbiage that hyper-personalization does. Holistic personalization also leverages AI, machine learning, and commerce data to deliver relevant content to customers.
However, there is one major difference (and upgrade) with holistic personalization compared to hyper-personalization — holistic personalization spans the entire customer journey, across all touchpoints, and completes the commerce experience by connecting those touchpoints together via personalization.
For example, Bloomreach customer Sofology uses the Bloomreach Commerce Experience Cloud to connect offline and online commerce data to personalize and optimize the digital experience. Being able to connect data collected from in-store visits and even data collected from call center interactions helped to better personalize the customer experience for interested visitors and repeat customers.
The furniture purchasing cycle and experience is far different than many other digital commerce stores. It is often a much lengthier sales cycle and there are more interactions with the brand before a purchase actually happens. Some customers also like to be able to sit on the furniture they order prior to making the purchase — hence the importance of the connection of online and offline commerce data.
The longer sales cycle and additional brand interactions increase the importance of presenting relevant content to customers that is personalized to where they currently are in the customer journey. Communicating in a personalized manner with customers with the right language (based on previously collected commerce data) and the right calls to action is of the utmost importance.
Does the data point to the customers wanting to try out the furniture again? Invite them back to the closest location to them. Or maybe a video call is more appropriate. Or even just a CTA for an online purchase that you would see in a different vertical might be the best fit.
The collected commerce data informs Sofology which way to move forward with each customer to best personalize the experience and help push said customer towards a sale. Every customer is different, and without this online and offline commerce data, Sofology would be missing a large piece of the puzzle when it comes to personalizing customer experiences and facilitating sales.
That’s e-commerce personalization in action and holistic personalization at its finest. Ingesting customer and product data from all sources and using it to inform interactions ensures that Sofology has all of the necessary information about a customer to make experiences on every channel as personalized as possible.
Connect Commerce Experiences With Bloomreach
How is your company personalizing customer experiences? Channel by channel with hyper-personalization? Or with a well thought out plan that spans every touchpoint to offer the optimal customer experience with holistic personalization?
At Bloomreach, we pride ourselves on making holistic personalization simple and actionable for marketers, merchandisers, CRM managers, and other key stakeholders. We do this with the Bloomreach Commerce Experience Cloud, which features the powerful combination of a leading CDP + marketing automation solution, self-learning AI-powered site search, and a headless CMS to provide growth fuel for e-commerce companies.
If your technology stack is outdated, too manual, or too time consuming in getting key results, that means your commerce-driving team is constantly playing catch-up in providing an optimal customer experience. It will limit your hyper-personalization options and make holistic personalization downright impossible.
If you’re interested in learning more about how your company can strategize and scale winning customer journeys with holistic personalization, schedule a personalized demo today to learn more.
Be sure to read more from our “The Way to Data” series:
- What is Commerce Data and Why Is it Important to E-Commerce Personalization?
- The Importance of Zero- and First-Party Data to E-Commerce Personalization in 2022
- The Art of Leveraging Commerce Data to Create Personalized, End-to-End Marketing Campaigns
- Why Product Recommendations are Key to Winning With E-Commerce Personalization