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Guide | July 16, 2021

Top Tips for Scaling Omnichannel Personalized Experiences

Along with the unprecedented development of technology is the ever-growing customer expectation. Today, they have come to expect the same level of personalization from companies of all sizes and domains. That’s why we can see an obvious trend of customer experience personalization in most companies globally, whether it is ASUS Singapore’s custom Republic of Gamers (ROG) for gaming line of laptops and desktops or Coca Cola’s famous Share a Coke campaign. In such a fast-evolving world we are living now, companies that don’t prioritize creating a tailored experience run the risk of getting left behind. 

But we all know that purchases, in general, don’t just take place in one touchpoint. Customer journeys are known for their messy, unpredictable and drawn-out characteristics. Business owners and marketers, thus, have to plan out their personalization strategy accordingly at every stage of the customer lifecycle - in other words, they have to be ready for an omnichannel strategy for customer personalization on an enterprise-grade scale.

While most retailers personalize engagement and outreach to some degree, those that pursue omnichannel personalization go far beyond rudimentary retargeting and lookalike segmentation. They shape consistently tailored interactions across channels, and do so continuously and at scale. Managing omnichannel strategies for a small market can be a simpler task; however, to be able to pull off the same results for a larger audience, regardless of their location is significantly more challenging. In this blog, let’s explore four capabilities that business owners and C-level employees can perfect their omnichannel personalization at scale.

Personalization - the key to customer experience

Customers today expect all businesses to “talk to them in their language”. This demand includes understanding their insights, serving them intuitively based on their current context. 

According to a Segment study, 44% of consumers will likely become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience with a particular company, and 49% say they have purchased a product that they did not initially intend to buy after receiving a personalized recommendation from a brand. The cherry on top? CMO.com reports that 42% of customers get annoyed when their content isn’t personalized. 

But the critical part is that they don’t want to feel that their privacy is invaded or followed. In fact, 81% of consumers believe the potential risks they may face from data collection by companies outweigh the benefits, according to a Pew Research Center study. Salesforce has also proved that 54% of consumers say it’s harder than ever for companies to earn their trust. 

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Creepiest engagement tactics *via Accenture

But if customers are THAT opposed to giving out personal information and concerned about privacy, how can business execute their personalization plan? The answer is, consumers don’t want to be limited by what a brand thinks it can predict about them. Instead, they want their favorite brands to design experiences that enable them to buy and consume what they want on their own terms.

According to Accenture, 74% of consumers say “living profiles” with more detailed personal preferences would be useful if they were used to curate personalized experiences, products and offers. According to the study, consumers are open to sharing their personal data with businesses in exchange for better customer experiences. In return, businesses must also be transparent about how they collect and use the data. 83% percent of consumers are willing to share their data to enable a personalized experience as long as businesses are transparent about how they are going to use it and guarantee customers control over it. The digital-first consumers today have drawn a clear line in the sand as it relates to the use of data just for personalization tactics. 

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Coolest engagement tactics *via Accenture

So we know that the whole journey has to feel secure, never creepy, and completely effortless, but there still is a big problem with how businesses all around the world are executing their omnichannel personalized experience. Despite the potential for huge business gains, few companies can currently deliver a fully personalized experience. Segment has manifested that only 22% of shoppers are satisfied with the level of personalization they currently receive, which means that out there, a huge number of brands are failing to build experiences that actually inspire consumers to make a purchase. This thesis is backed by a recent survey by CMO Council, reported by eMarketer. They have shown that only 5% of senior marketers said they could deliver data-driven experiences in real-time across channels.

This is the reason why SmartOSC gives you a list of top tips to do it right, and do it widely.

Top tips for scaling omnichannel personalized experiences

To successfully enable best-in-class personalization at scale, businesses must consider four key dimensions:

1. Data and analytics

Personalization requires comprehensive and always updated customer understanding. To form that said understanding, businesses must attain a massive amount of information related to customer’s needs and wants, psychographics and attitudes, shopping preferences, past purchases and behaviors, as well as the context in which they are interacting with the brand in different particular moments. 

Overall, there are three types of data businesses need to know.

first party data
(Source: Marketop)

First-party data: First-party data is the term for the data you/ your business own. It can be information expressly stated by the customer (reply for a shopping experience survey) or derived from their browsing behaviors (e.g., purchases, search for size, colour, etc.) with your brand across different touchpoints. 

Second-party data: This is someone else’s first-party data, which business gets access to through partners of various types. Publishers are also another popular second-party data source. 

Third-party data: Businesses must buy third-party data to gain access to it. Some of the most popular third-party data providers are Oracle Data Cloud (ODC), Nielsen, Adobe, etc. These companies offer addressable segments and customer understanding across many dimensions. 

See also: How CDPs Can Optimize Your Omnichannel Retail Strategy

But data is not the whole picture - there are millions of companies out there with robust sources of customer information and yet, still don’t know what to do with it. Much more important than capturing data are analyzing, integrating and leveraging it to create a holistic picture of each customer interacting with brands at any available touchpoints. Businesses with a strategic mind are now tasked with turning massive and potentially unwieldy data into dynamic, highly relevant experiences. 

Today, top players in every single domain are taking advantage of AI, machine-learning algorithms and predictive models to predict a customer’s potential and tendency to make a particular purchase during one particular campaign or event. Today, campaign analysts no longer have to “dig” insights that they believed to be true and bet on them but instead, adopting predictive models and data science to effectively target customers at scale with one-to-one content and custom journey. 

See how SmartOSC build an omnichannel system with 360-customer-view and predictive for ASUS Singapore

2. Creative and content management

Adjusting content to different segments and campaigns is work-intensive enough, not to mention the load of content needed for personalization. Content to deliver personalized experiences í one of the biggest hurdles to achieving personalization at scale. According to Adobe’s State of Creativity in Business survey, 65% of content marketers said that they have seen increasing demands over content creation for the past 5 years - this number was collected in 2017 when the dominant trend of personalization at scale hasn’t been around for long.

To achieve personalization at scale, creative teams need to leverage technology to automatically and dynamically assemble content instead of the traditional approach. This requires: 

Producing different “content blocks'' instead of different complete homepage/ email versions. So next time, whenever they want to customize content for each customer/ segment, they can pick and choose from their content hub. This shift lifts the burden of content modifying for all touchpoints. 

Attributing content blocks with the right metadata. Metadata is the data that talks about another piece of data. A simple example might include a collection of information like the author, file size, the date the document was created, and keywords to describe the document. Besides, AI is the most effective method for tagging, since it can be trained to automatically recognize and tag large numbers of content blocks and other assets with the appropriate attributes.

3. Optimization and decisioning

To manage omnichannel at large, companies must change their traditional mindset from managing siloed, channel-specific communications to orchestrating omnichannel campaigns across all traditional and new media. 

One of the key technologies for personalization at scale is a centralized decisioning engine, powered by predictive models and algorithms. This decisioning engine is tasked with automatic messages, offers, and experiences delivery. It identifies which pieces of content to be presented to which individual customers and over which channels, based on their likelihood to respond. Furthermore, it can leverage data to establish the better contact frequency and recency for maximum effectiveness so that the message is sent out enough for awareness and engagement, but not so much that it causes churn or fatigue. 

4. Organization and operating model

Achieving personalization at scale takes more than buying new technologies. It requires transformations in not only technology, but the way business owners think and decide. As many CX experts have stated, customer experience is a journey started with the mindset of the business leaders, with technology acting like a tool. This is why SmartOSC’s fourth top tip is about organization and operation model.

To successfully execute personalization at scale, transformation must happen at every level. The organization and operating model should be structured in support of a seamless personalized experience across channels. Any separation from online and offline needs to be addressed. Digital and print teams should be consolidated at both the leadership and staff levels so that the organization can set its omnichannel strategy and effectively execute it.

In terms of resources and efforts to be invested in, implementing personalization across channels shouldn’t require significant additional headcount even though it can be a huge responsibility for any company. What works best usually is a small, dedicated and cross-functional team. They need to include employees from both business and tech executives to stick to the business goal and the practical scenario. This team is responsible for defining the strategy, prioritizing use cases or capabilities, and developing the business case and roadmap to steer implementation. 

One more critical role to have in this dedicated team is one or more members from top-down C-level. This person(s) main role is to ensure alignments between personalization strategy and strategic enterprise business goals, as well as the room in which the DX team can perform. Customer personalization, especially in an omnichannel approach is a multi-year journey to yield any results continued sponsorship will be critical to champion change and transformation across the organization and to secure capital funding.

Contact us now to start discussing your business omnichannel personalization journey today, or read our success stories to see how other businesses take wing with best-in-class eCommerce strategies and technology.

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