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5 Ecommerce Experts Predict the Future of Personalization

Jack Maden  |  June 24, 2016

Jack Maden  |  June 24, 2016

        

The third and final installment in our series on personalization asks four ecommerce experts on where they see the industry heading in future. Part one asks ‘is personalization even important?’, while part two discusses ways in which it can be implemented effectively without being creepy. The question we’re asking to wrap up the series – and our experts’ answers to it – can be found below!

How do you see personalization in ecommerce developing in future with new technologies?

Chloë Thomas, founder, speaker, author & host of the Ecommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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“I think the future for personalization is yet to be decided. I think we'll see a segmentation of the concept because it's a word that covers just too many areas. Maybe on-site personalization vs off-site personalization, advertising personalization, and print personalization – if you have your CRM system set up right there really is no limit to what aspects can be personalized.

“That’s probably going to be the biggest challenge for the future development of personalization – making sure that the right technology is being used in your business. There’s no point in installing it all if it doesn't improve your customer service and experience.”

Brett Bair, Senior Director of Client Advocacy at Monetate

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“Short term, technology will rapidly eliminate the excuses marketers have around collecting and using data to drive personalization-based decisioning. 

“I think we will also see content become more and more dynamic and websites will be rendered from a library of assets that require less and less human intervention to build. At the same time, I also feel we will not likely get to a place where an intuitive marketer's input and intervention won't still be required.”

Justin King, Founder of eCommerceandB2B.com, here offering the B2B perspective on personalization

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“Machine learning and AI is the future of personalization. In B2B, this manifests itself differently. For example, JJ Food Service implemented a machine learning engine that uses its analysis of past purchases to automatically pre-fill customer shopping carts with items the engine thinks they intend to buy.

“The Holy Grail in automated personalization is being able to duplicate how your staff (sales reps, customer service, inside sales) interact with your customers – or even improve upon it. You probably have a lot of data on your customers: industry segments, buying patterns and behavior. So, use it to improve their experience – even by giving tools that are outside of the purchase funnel.”

More of Justin’s thoughts on machine learning and the future of personalization can be found here.

Andrea Mantovani, Head of Digital & Ecommerce [China] at Moleskine

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Proximity marketing is the future happening now. Technology is easier to build and use, it’s just a matter of how we strategically integrate it with channels. Beacons technology, for example, enables brands to implement physical retargeting. This means that we can push coupons for a certain product right on to a customer’s smartphone in the exact moment they are facing the product in store, because we know how they recently browsed that product online.

“We can push cross-selling even further, showing a specific product banner online to a customer who spent 10 minutes in front of that product shelf in store. A smart application of technology in addition to big data analysis allows brands to make personalized experiences that go beyond the imagination and may even surprise customers for how accurate they are.” 

Sven Ramspott, Conversion Rate Optimizer at Peerius

Sven_Ramspott_blue.png"How will personalization come to shape ecommerce? By offering consumers an individualised experience when they engage with a brand.

"History tells us that marketing is at its best when it makes an offer which directly appeals to the individual recipient. Personalization continues that process digitally and increasingly non-digitally. It’s almost inconceivable that a retailer would set up a major business without some digital presence. It’s also inconceivable that they would not make sure that they were able to personalize the shopping experience in some way rather than presenting a “one size fits all” experience."

Verdict

The future of personalization is dependent on the way and extent to which companies choose to adopt it. As Chloë says, different technologies will make sense for different industries. For pure ecommerce, Brett discusses the increasingly automated generation of sites tailored to a specific user. Justin takes this automation a step further in B2B ecommerce – machine learning will lead to pre-filled customer carts and more. Andrea, meanwhile, considers personalization in the context of digital and in-store retail.

Andrea’s discussion of proximity marketing is reminiscent of Brett Carneiro’s recent Decibel Insight Soapbox article. The union of digital and in-store personalization, enabling brands to remotely send customers deals at optimum times – even in-store –  is certainly something that looks to become more commonplace in future. Sven's predictions tie in with this theme too.

Where do you see personalization heading? Let us know your thoughts on this – and the rest of the series – on Twitter or in the comments below.

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This post was originally published on 5th November 2015, but has been updated to include Sven Ramspott's view.

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Get the full lowdown on how to measure and improve experiences with our ultimate guide to ecommerce and online retail.

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Jack Maden

Written on June 24, 2016 by:

Jack Maden

Jack is Digital Manager at Decibel, the best digital experience intelligence platform around! He also runs philosophy break.

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