Robert Allen | Smart Insights | Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:00:00 +0000

We interviewed Certona’s CEO Meyar Sheik about the future of one of marketing hottest trends – personalisation tech.

robert-allen1. First of all, congratulations on being named top personalisation provider! Can you tell us how Certona uses machine learning and predictive algorithms to predict customer behaviour?

meyar-sheikCertona pioneered the use of patented machine learning and predictive algorithms that empower retailers to leverage real-time profiling of individual shoppers across the omnichannel landscape. Certona’s personalisation platform is powered by a sophisticated blend of continuous profiling and real-time targeting that augments behavioural profiles with every interaction. This develops shopper insights that fuel intelligent predictions, letting retailers deliver increasingly individualised experiences as shoppers engage across touchpoints. Within 3-4 clicks on a site, Certona’s personalisation platform ingests real-time shopper data such as location, weather, time of day, day of week, past browsing or purchase history and current session behaviours to curate the most relevant, in-the-moment shopping experience.

2.What advice would you give to a marketer who wanted to start personalising content or delivering personalised product recommendation based off past site behaviour, but didn’t know where to start?

The most powerful capability of personalisation is the real-time aspect of behavioural profiling and predictive targeting. Combining real-time data with historical information lets retailers create deep shopper profiles. This allows marketers to better target shoppers with individualised messaging, product offerings and promotions. To get started, marketers should outline goals, then prioritise implementation accordingly. The homepage is an ideal place to begin. Implementing personalisation into the homepage reduces bounce rates by immediately displaying personalised content and promotions, as well as relevant product recommendations and categories. For example, Marketers can also leverage personalisation to improve performance of organic and paid landing pages, as well as email campaigns. Brands new to email personalisation should start by taking advantage of the nearly 100 percent open rate of transactional emails and offer targeted promotions, content and images, and related cross-sell product recommendations.

3. 2016 has seen some pretty interesting and exciting new tech with marketing applications start to come more into the mainstream, like virtual reality and augmented reality. Do you see these new trends eventually integrating with the kind of personalisation tech that Certona offers?

Augmented reality and virtual reality are enticing concepts to shoppers. Some Certona partners have implemented these cutting-edge features. As retailers increasingly create strategies around these new applications, Certona will develop compatible solutions to support these initiatives and leverage user insights to boost these experiences.

4. Ecommerce businesses need to find a ‘sweet spot’ which combines average order value and conversion rate and depends on the price sensitivity of a given audience. How should marketers go about trying to discover where this ‘sweet spot’ lies?

The personalisation engine should do the bulk of this work for retailers. By leveraging an individual shopper’s behavioural data, marketers can personalise product recommendations, making them relevant to a shopper’s preferences and affinities, including price points.

5. We are seeing ‘content shock’ as more and more companies attempt to use content marketing, thus decreasing its overall effectiveness. Do you think personalisation is the solution to this problem for marketers, and if so, how do you think it can help subvert it?.

Yes, definitely. Personalisation solutions tailor the entire shopping experience according to what is most relevant to each individual shopper. This includes content recommendations and offers. While ramping-up content marketing overall, retailers who leverage a personalisation strategy can reduce the unnecessary noise and ensure all shoppers receive their preferred content (images, offers, articles and videos) at the right time in the shopping journey.

6. We’ve all been served re-targeting programmatic ads for a product we bought weeks ago, where you think ‘yes I bloody know about that coffee maker, that’s why I bought it’. How can marketers using personalised retargeting ads get around this problem?

Marketers need to extend their personalisation strategies across the omnichannel landscape to create a connected experience and avoid the “you don’t know me†experience. Retailers can avoid recommending products a shopper has previously purchased by simply leveraging continuous profiling and real-time targeting solutions. Omnichannel personalisation enables retailers to track shopper activity in real time and make immediate adjustments to reflect recent purchases and other activities.

7. With the modern consumer journey taking place across multiple devices, how do you go about tracking activity across different devices, some mobile, some desktop?

Today’s consumers are no longer single-channel focused when it comes to shopping. Certona’s unique ability to model consumer behaviour and shopping patterns with predictive targeting in real time, regardless of touchpoint, enables retailers to efficiently connect with shoppers across all channels. Shopper behaviour and preference data is generated from many touchpoints, operational systems and third-party sources. The ability to connect the dots across all channels over consumers’ shopping history is key. The more retailers know about their consumers’ shopping behaviours, the more relevant and individualised the experience. This drives significant increases in customer engagement, loyalty and lifetime value.

8. Do you find there is a point of diminishing returns with personalisation where hyper-personalised ads just tend to disturb customers because it looks like you know too much about them and they feel their privacy has been invaded?

It’s up to the retailers to be responsible in handling consumer data, especially as concern grows around digital trust. Shopper trust is a two-way street and most shoppers are willing to trust brands as long as brands use the data collected to deliver something of value. Retailers must retain trust for an overall positive impact.