User experience personalization is a strategy that is at the heart of the ever-changing digital era.
I watch Netflix as my primary source of entertainment. No doubt, Amazon Prime and Hulu offer some excellent content too, but I somehow just go to my home screen and tap on the Netflix app whenever I am looking to watch something.
The user experiences personalization on their application that they offer millions of other users and me through their powerful recommendation engine.
Recently, Netflix took UX Personalization to the next level when they debuted a unique and interactive “Choose your own adventure” film wherein they made us (viewers) active participants.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is an interactive movie that puts users in the driver’s seat and allows them to control the story.
I had never heard of any video streaming platform taking user experience personalization to this level. Out of sheer excitement, I watched this movie and honestly, interacting with Bandersnatch was something unique and exciting for me to experience as a user.
This personalized experience’s magic can be easily deciphered from the fact that 80% of views on Netflix come from personalized recommendations alone.
This is not just true for video streaming apps. Today, offering user experience personalization has disrupted all the industries, thereby acting as a linchpin of a product strategy.
What is User Experience Personalization?
Personalization is a process that enables us to tailor customer journeys and experiences as per the need and preference of a specific customer. It deals with real-time individualization of a service/product to suit each visitor’s unique needs and guide them through a custom conversion funnel.
Personalization is not a trend, it’s a marketing tsunami. Avi Dan
A research by Forrester reveals that personalization is “crucial for marketers seeking to enhance customer centricity and engagement.” Thus, delivering user experience personalization has become a key approach for CMOs to attract and convert potential customers.
Personalization is Anticipation
When you personalize your website, app, or any product, you anticipate what your users need or want. Giving them something useful, without having them to ask for it, takes them to a new level of User Experience altogether.
Here’s an example:
Amazon’s Anticipatory Shipping–receiving the product in just a few minutes of tapping the ‘Buy Button’–would be a real win for Amazon in delivering Personalized User Experience.
Personalization is Dynamic
There is a need for content to learn and adapt because 74% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content appears that has nothing to do with their interests.
Dynamic Personalization enables content to learn and adapt.
However, when you personalize User Experience, you are offering something useful based on the user’s characteristics, behaviors, attributes, and/or data analysis.
Dynamic personalization makes use of algorithms to create an image of their potential customers, their needs, and buying habits based upon factors like demographics, geolocation, behavior, and device.
Machine learning is an important part of dynamic personalization, which relies on a combination of algorithms, filters, and analytics to “predict” a user’s typical behavior with your brand.
Following algorithms are utilized:
- Basic algorithms: does not rely on customer’s personal data
- Advanced algorithms: rely on customer’s personal data
Once the information is received, dynamic personalization can help tailor every interaction your customer has with your brand.
For instance, Google, keeps track of your upcoming flight, train and bus reservations, appointments, interviews, etc., and notifies you before the scheduled time, given that this information is stored on your phone.
User Experience: Customization vs. Personalization
The end-goal of both Personalized and Customized User Experience is the same—an experience tailored to your customers’ needs. However, the ways to achieve this goal are different.
- Personalization: When data and technology are controlled behind the scenes to tailor an individual experience in real-time, it is called personalization.
- Customization: Customization is when users are given a set of features in an interface from which they can choose what they want.
Customization UX Example
Customization is the soul of a great website. It is essential to find out what sets the business apart, what they are hoping to achieve, and how they want to be perceived by their audience. Sameer Jain, CEO, Net Solutions
Facebook uses UX customization by leaving it to the users to choose the content that they like the best. Also, Facebook provides you the option to turn on notifications for individual people, pages, or posts.
Personalization UX Example
Amazon makes use of the purchasing history of their customers so that they can personalize and come up with special offers for them. This sort of personalization not just brings value to customers, but also boosts customer retention.
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The Importance of a Personalized User Experience
Personalization can only matter to businesses if it matters to users. This is an obvious and important fact. If your web or mobile app’s UX Personalization is done right, it will have a major impact on the success metrics:
- Your brand’s user engagement will increase. You will witness an increase in KPIs like page views, interactions per session, etc. 74% of marketers know that personalization increases customer engagement, yet just 19% are actually using personalization, says research by Evergage.
- You will be able to retain more customers with your brand. Econsultancy’s research showed that post-purchase loyalty programs containing personalized offers were among the most important factors in encouraging repeat purchases.
- You will be able to attract more leads, thereby converting them into loyal customers, resulting in higher revenue.
- Your brand will witness more sales through cross-selling and upselling, resulting in higher-order values.
How AI and ML can help Deliver Personalized User Experience
By 2020, businesses that use AI and related technologies like machine learning and deep learning to uncover new insights will take $1.2 trillion each year from competitors that don’t. Forrester
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and UX share the same end objective: interpret human behavior and anticipate what your potential user will do next. At the foundation of all these technologies, lies predictive analytics.
It can be used to analyze user preferences, behavior, and characteristics so that you are able to deliver a unique and personalized experience to them. This will eventually enable you to increase customer engagement across all the touchpoints with ease.
AI-Driven personalization can benefit your business in the following ways:
- Scalable personalized experiences
- Improved content relevancy
- Boosted ROI and revenues
- Reduced marketing risk
How Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) help to Deliver Personalized User Experience
Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) provide end-to-end touchpoint optimization and a Personalized User Experience across all customer interactions. A powerful DXP combines customer data, analytics, and marketing automation to nurture your potential customers throughout their journey by providing them with real-time personalized content across all channels, thereby improving the customer experience.
John Lewis Enhancing the Online Shopping Experience with AEM
John Lewis is one of the UK’s flagship retail brands, established 150 years ago. They wanted to enhance the online shopping experience of their customers. Shane Chapman, Digital Asset Manager for John Lewis, mentions that customers who tend to shop both in-store and online are more loyal to the brand and accrue higher lifetime value.
Thus, he had the vision to optimize the shopping experience across channels by providing relevant digital content, including relevant product visualizations and immersive media such as video.
John Lewis used AEM Assets to deliver Personalized User Experience
John Lewis used AEM assets capability that supports dynamic and personalized media. It enabled website visitors to click on any product image and dynamically change colors, upholstery, and other factors to see what suits them.
AEM assets capability for video also allows site visitors to engage themselves in videos to learn about everything from decorating to beauty advice, helping them with their product selections.
With Adobe Experience Manager added to its business model, John Lewis could deliver a seamless eCommerce customer experience.
Potential visitors were able to view and feel how their purchases will look, which paved the way for an opportunity for John Lewis to create the most powerful brand marketing message: Trust. It resulted in delivering a seamless eCommerce customer experience, which led to an increase in conversion rates.
Key Points to Consider While Building a Great Personalized UX Design
How exactly are you supposed to create a great Personalized UX, which will ensure an ongoing success?
1. Collect User Information
Jim Carrey played the character of Truman Burbank in the film “The Truman Show” (released in 1998). In the movie, Truman was unaware that his every move was being watched through hidden cameras.
Much like Truman, today customers live in a digitized world where the content they come across is orchestrated and controlled by marketers and algorithms that decide which service or product they need and which friends they should see in their Facebook news feeds.
And, just like Truman, consumers are unaware of the fact that they are unknowing participants in your marketing campaigns.
It is vital to collect user information and to do so, you will have to ask users to create their profiles on your website or app. As soon as they register and start using your website or app, you will get to know their name, age, interests, behavior, etc.
However, if you are going to collect customer data, you need to be transparent before asking for their consent.
Your potential customer should have control over the process and the collection should result in a service to the customer.
2. Personalize the Content
Once you have collected users’ information and understood their needs and interests, you can personalize their profile accordingly. You can refer to them by their name, show them content based on their interests, recommend similar content based on their behavior, etc. Ensure that forms are auto-filled with information submitted by the user.
For instance, Spotify has a huge collection of music that you can choose from and listen to. They use Big Data, AI, and ML in an amazing way to deliver Personalized User Experience.
- Spotify is a data-driven organization. It logs over 100 billion data points per day through its desktop site and mobile app based on its 207 million active users worldwide.
- Once they acquire the data-points, they use that information to train the algorithms and machines to listen to music and extrapolate insights that impact their business and the experience of listeners.
The Discover Weekly playlist, enabled users to get a personalized playlist every week from Spotify of music that they have not heard before on the service, but that will be something they are expected to enjoy.
At this point @Spotify‘s discover weekly knows me so well that if it proposed I’d say yes
— Amanda Whitbred (@amandawhitbred) August 18, 2016
3. Enable Geolocation
Identifying the location of a user is one of the most important factors in personalization. Geolocation targeting is a good approach to offer a more targeted personalized content to your channel’s visitor.
Marie Curie, a charitable organization, launched one of its biggest campaigns called The Great Daffodil Appeal, aiming to motivate people to collect money for the charity on the high street. The campaign used geolocation data of each supporter and matched it with the database of collection sites. Using this, they pulled a personalized map detailing each individual supporter’s nearest collection into the email in real-time.
The campaign resulted in an improvement in registrations year on year, with a high skew towards online sign ups.
4. Use Push Notifications
Push notifications can be considered annoying by users, but it is an excellent way to engage with them, even when they do not use your website or app. They can be used to keep your brand’s name fresh in users’ mind, by updating them about new additions to your website or app.
eXtra, Saudi Arabia’s leading consumer electronics retailer, used retargeting emails in the past to re-engage with mobile users. However, when they switched to push notification campaign, they witnessed a dramatic improvement in sales, experiencing a 100% year-on-year mobile growth.
5. Start Where the User Left Off
This is a feature used by Netflix. If a user is unable to watch a program or a movie till the end and exits the app, then the app will start it from the same point where it stopped the last time – when you log back in.
Some eCommerce websites apps show you what you browsed through on a previous visit, and some even send you notifications regarding any products you added and left in the cart.
This makes things easier for the users because they don’t have to keep track of their journey on every website or app. It’s all being taken care of.
User Experience Personalization – Conclusion
Success in today’s dynamic digital era requires organizations to plan, structure, and align their strategies around the customer.
User Experience Personalization is a tool that can make your website or app more powerful, but only if it’s done right. That’s where a UX Design consultant comes into play. When it comes to personalization, empathy plays an important role.
Thus, understanding your user’s needs and preferences can go a long way in creating an enriching UX.