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Deconstructing Personalization in E-commerce

Deconstructing Personalization in E-commerce

In E-commerce, What Does Personalization Mean? 

Personalization is a ubiquitous phrase today in the world of e-commerce and we thought we would take a moment to explore its various meanings. 

When people talk about personalization, what they really are talking about is how to personalize a particular 'experience' in e-commerce. There is a huge variety of e-commerce experiences, each with its unique purpose. These include web and CRM experiences such as:

  1. Home, section/category, and product detail web pages
  2. Lifecycle, promotional, trigger, and transactional emails
  3. A variety of in-app experiences 

Designing These Experiences

As you think about designing experiences for customers, it's helpful to think about the dimensions that define each experience. Some useful conceptual pairings are:

Relationship Transactional
Upper Funnel Lower Funnel
Discovery Product Focused
Nurturing Clear Intent
Experiences need to be non-repetitive and adaptive based on what user pays attention to and ignores Experiences tailored to a specific transaction, repetitiveness does not matter

The category of an experience will help determine how to design it. If it is lower-funnel, product-focused, and clear intent; then you are likely designing experiences oriented toward check-out. If it is upper-funnel, nurturing, and discovery-oriented then you are designing experiences for the purpose of engagement, customer dialogue, and perhaps customer contributed information.

A Framework for Experience Evaluation

It's helpful to have a framework to evaluate the experiences you are delivering. We've created the following video to help you assess the  types of experiences you are offering, the techniques that enable them, and how to evaluate appropriateness.  

Key takeaways:

  • Different techniques optimize different experiences. Mis-applying a technology to an experience it wasn't designed to handle can damage a customer's experience.
  • Think about each experience that you're trying to optimize, ask if it's lower funnel and transactional, or upper funnel and relationship nurturing. 
  • Use the freshness - relevance framework to help define your approach.