Personalisation is a hot topic, there’s numerous examples which show that if you tailor the products to a customers preference they are more likely to convert.
So whats the best way to personalise?
Cookies have been used forever! for servers to identify a person closing and re-opening a web browser, its the defacto way that a load balancer maintains persistence.
A cookie can last a lifetime, but we have to assume that the user will eventually clear them, after which the data we had is technical orphaned.
But the user is anonymous.
If we can encourage the user to login, then we can confidently associate the user data tracked by the cookie to a user, but we can only do this once we know for sure that they are who they say they are.
The exchange begins.
In many web sites we put up blockers to try to force users to login, such as preventing a price/purchase until you’ve logged in etc. These attempts are often detrimental as the user feels pressured into giving data before they’ve chosen to make the choice of whether to buy or not – They are not recommended, the user will often leave.
What is recommended is to build a profile based upon small exchanges of data. We don’t need the user to login, If we ask for their email address, we can follow up (basket abandonment), we can personalise, but a number of users who are browsing may be unlikely to give a real address as they’re not ready yet.
By exchanging data, such as “Would you like to join our loyalty scheme, to get discounts of your next purchase?”, just enter your email address and we’ll do the rest, sets up an exchange.
Many OTAs are using loyalty points as an incentive to discounts – join our club and unlock discounts, and this is a good example of where exchange is mutual.