Successful commerce experiences don’t happen by accident — they are carefully planned and executed. From the moment a visitor arrives, it is essential to welcome them in context and with the right brand voice to ensure a positive experience. The challenge is that shoppers exhibit different needs, biases and behaviors. As they shop, their intent and selection criteria continuously evolves. The marketing messages that originally lured a visitor to your site may no longer be relevant as they progress through their customer journey.
How do you effectively engage your customers and persuade them to buy? A systemic approach to customer engagement is the solution. This starts with actionable segmentation that clearly defines the unique needs of each target segment and designing experiences that delight them as they progress through each moment of truth.
As marketers, we now have access to more information and context than ever before. We know shopper locations, their friends, their preferences, social sentiment and with IoT, we may even know their heart rate, if they choose to share it. Acting on this data to create memorable and effective shopping experiences is challenging because in aggregate, the data doesn’t provide meaningful insights … if it did we’d all be driving Model Ts! It’s crucial to meaningfully dissect the data into its raw form and re-examine it using your segment lenses.
This requires an effective segmentation strategy that establishes a deep understanding of consumers — who they are, what they do, what they want and why. The ideal approach combines demographics (who), behaviors (what they do), and attitudinal attributes (why they do it) to target and tailor to deliver impact. With increasing knowledge and insights about customers, the level of impact to reach and target them increases.
Insights into Action: Experience Driven Commerce
Once you have defined segments, it is easier to derive meaningful insights from your analytics. These insights are leveraged to develop rich shopping experiences that address shopper needs. A common practice to make segments more actionable has been through the use of personas. In contrast to traditional segments which are used for targeting, personas are used for designing experiences and provide a vivid depiction of the behaviors and characteristics of segments.
The problem with this approach is that inherently, personas are “fake shoppers” constructed with real user research data to represent a targeted segment. As designers, merchants and marketers apply these personas to experience design, key details are frequently lost, biased interpretation alters their true identities and the quantitative ability to track their performance is lost.
Data Informed Segments
I was able to catch up with Gary Schoch, general manager, Rosetta on this topic and he emphatically asserts that personas are dead. Schoch positions a more effective methodology to creating actionable segments that drive experience design.
We’re increasingly seeing the fusion of personas with segments creating data informed segments — this technique ensures tight alignment between the data analysts, marketing, and designers to ensure more relevant marketing and purposeful creative.
Mr. Schoch went on to explain that the use of generic personas such as Betty the Bargain Hunter and Tammy the Trendsetter simply don’t provide the detail necessary to create winning designs, let alone track them. In fashion, Rosetta uncovered seven distinct consumer segments and associate personas with key contrasts in motivations for wearing apparel and their level of engagement with fashion, style and self-expression.
Designing Winning Experiences
Experienced designers are now able to use these data informed segments to create optimal shopping journeys. Of course the universal laws of experience design such as actively managing page size, understanding where the folds are, prominent call-to-action buttons and frictionless checkout still apply. But designing winning customer engagements requires the use of data-driven segments to refine the experience for each segment’s needs. Adobe’s Experience-Driven Commerce enables designers to easily create optimized and immersive experiences that transform to serve each segment’s unique needs.
Even the most successful merchants and web marketers are unable to optimize every engagement element across the range of unique shopping behaviors. It is important to continuously refine and optimize every element of the customer experience using iterative optimization methodology. The most subtle elements may make the biggest impacts. For example changing one word in copy from you to my improved click through to payment by 90% at unbounce.com. Because you’re using clearly defined, targetable, and trackable segments, it is now easier to close the loop with analytics and continuously test new design approaches.
If you’re attending Adobe Summit, be sure to join session S824 “How to develop and execute a winning customer engagement and commerce strategy.” Mark Bohran, VP of Research at Internet Retailer will present the key trends reshaping omnichannel engagement and Gary Schoch, General Manager, Rosetta will then cover how to create and execute a systematic approach to customer engagement.