Turn unknown shoppers into known customers with a personalization strategy

26 Oct 2016 | By Tobias Arns

Consumers expect the companies and brands that they interact with online to provide an immediate, easy, individual service, tailored to their needs and interests wherever they are, 24 hours a day, or they will simply choose an alternative provider.

Before the evolution of the Internet, companies often didn’t know much about their customers beyond their names and addresses – if that. Now using their own data and that of third parties, companies can create a much clearer picture of who their customers are, what they are interested in, what social media channels they use, what they have bought, what they may buy next and many other aspects of their behaviour.

But knowing who those customers are requires the effective use and management of big data. It’s not just about gathering large volumes of information, it’s about using that information to really understand individuals and it can have huge benefits.

A study by the global management consultancy McKinsey demonstrates that companies using big data and analytics well have productivity rates and profitability that are five to six percent higher than that of their competitors. And it says that companies that put data at the heart of their marketing and sales decisions improve their marketing return on investment by 15 to 20 percent.

Brands need to get to grips with big data

By using data to get to know who their consumers are and what they are interested in, companies can personalize their content to suit individual tastes and needs and turn unknown consumers into loyal ones.

Bain & Co says that customer loyalty is a significant factor in a business’s success. It says that it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one and that a five percent increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by up to 75 percent.  

Consumers increasingly expect personalized content from the brand owners that they deal with. A study by the IT consultancy Infosys says that 58 percent are in favor of receiving product recommendations based on previous purchases and 62 percent are in favor of receiving personalized offers and promotions.

The best way to enhance the user experience? Personalization

Brands are well placed to make the most of personalization to enhance the user experience and to increase engagement, customer loyalty and conversions.

By embedding technology into their website, brands can track what consumers are interested in and bring forward additional relevant content. If you know that consumers are interested in Gucci loafers for example, you can offer more of what they want and less of what they don’t and then they will come back for more.

You can also build up a picture of what has driven them to your site, such as a link on Facebook or Twitter. Embedded technology can also determine if users are on a mobile device perhaps on their way into work, in which case they are likely to want shorter content or video, or if they are on tablet in the evening and how that affects purchasing decisions.

Satisfy your website users and turn them into customers

Once you have a view of their habits, individual users can be encouraged to take a deeper dive into the site through recommendations for more products that they may wish to purchase.

It’s something that many consumers already welcome. According to research from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism when people were asked how they prefer to get news from a choice of having it selected for them by editors or journalists, having it automatically selected on the basis of their own individual past consumption, or having it selected automatically on the basis of what their friends consume, personalized recommendations came out on top in almost every country.

Whether it’s a news article, and item of clothing, a finance product from a bank, if you target users with what they want, and in the context in which they’re most likely to purchase, conversions can be increased.

Satisfied consumers are more likely to become loyal customers who will return to your site again and again and can then be targeted with promotions or special offers to increase conversions and revenue. Satisfied consumers also become advocates for your brand and recommend it to others.

Advertisers are also more likely to spend more if they know they are delivering closely targeted, relevant ads to interested individuals. For both brands and advertisers, personalization is a win-win situation.


  • Consumers are more demanding than ever before, their attention span is diminishing and gaining customer loyalty is harder than it has ever been.  

  • By using and analyzing big data effectively, companies in a wide range of sectors from banking to fashion, media to automotive, can really begin to understand their customers, their interests and how they behave online.

  • Technology can help businesses know their customers better, to know what they want, when they want it and where, across desktops, mobiles and tablets and, just as importantly, to anticipate what they will want next.

  • Infosys says that 58 percent of consumers are in favor of receiving product recommendations based on previous purchases.

  • It also says 62 percent are in favor of receiving personalized offers and promotions.

  • Personalization helps to build stronger relationships with new and existing customers by delivering relevant content and offers in the right context at the right time.