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Morgan Meyer
Morgan Meyer 28 June 2016

Top 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing the Right Personalization Provider – Part 1

You know you need it, but how do you get started with personalized shopping experiences? Having a personalization strategy is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s now a must-have. However, selecting a personalization partner can seem daunting. After all, aren’t all personalization platforms the same? The short answer is, no!

Digital product recommendations and personalized shopping experiences have drastically changed the way consumers expect to shop and engage with retailers. 

Having the ability to see through the sales pitch to understand the personalization capabilities offered by each provider is an essential part of the selection process. Most personalization providers lead with the same messaging about ridiculous ROI claims, having the biggest brand names as their customer base, being an industry leader, having cutting-edge solutions, and even misleading you about their competitors. So understanding the fundamental questions to ask will help you identify the right personalization partner.

In this 2-part blog series, we’ll cover our top 10 questions to ask a personalization provider to gain better clarity around their product capabilities so you can make the right decision.

1. What channels does your solution support?

This question is simple but important. Most basic personalization providers can only support web and email, which is good, but it limits you to expand your personalization program to other channels. The personalization vendor should educate you on best practices for personalizing each channel and help you implement unique strategies to meet business goals.

A true personalization solution should be able to scale and support any channel including:

  • Web
  • Mobile
  • App
  • Email
  • Call Center
  • In-Store
  • Any point of sale

2. What can be personalized, besides products recommendations?

Personalization is more than just product recommendations. It’s about creating a consistent, 1-to-1 personalized experience for shoppers at every stage of their buying journey. Personalization should touch all channels your shoppers interact with, including offline.

With personalization, you should be able to personalize any aspect of your shopper experience including:

  • Onsite search
  • Navigation
  • Hero shots
  • Videos
  • Ads
  • Promotions & Offers
  • Articles/Blogs
  • Products

Be sure to ask for specific client examples.

3. How does your solution personalize our customers’ entire shopping journey?

When it comes to ecommerce, it’s all about making the shopping journey easy, enjoyable, and intuitive. From the moment a visitor lands on your site to making a purchase, every step of the shopping journey should be personalized.

Ask the provider, what is their strategy to help you personalize every step of the customer journey? A good solution will be able to provide specific examples.

4. How do you personalize the experience for anonymous visitors/shoppers?

The solution you choose must be able to use contextual data such as such as referral traffic, search engine, IP address, dayparting, and device type to personalize the experience for anonymous visitors. The personalization solution should also have the ability to start creating anonymous shopper profile based on the first 3-4 clicks on the website. By leveraging referral data and combining it with current session behavior retailers can create a more individualized experience rather than relying on the wisdom of the crowd.

5. What is your attribution model for counting revenue towards recommendations?

Most providers will give a 24-hour to 14-day window to attribute their recommendations as a part of the sale which leads to inflated reporting of revenue contribution from product recommendations. In this instance, its a way for them to claim more contributed revenue and this should not be the case. Confident solutions will only count an attributed sale if the shopper clicks the recommendation and purchases that recommended product within the same shopping session. Meaning, they did not leave the site and then came back to purchase after 30 minutes of browser inactivity. Understanding this point is important because the goal of having product recommendations is to encourage a purchase instantly, not hours or days after.

Read our part 2 post for the next five questions and answers.

See the Top 5 Reasons to choose Certona for Personalization.

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