• Wirya Hassan

Personalized Customer Experience

14 opportunities and 12 pitfalls for personalized customer experience.

We do not want the same thing as the neighbor, no, we want to be unique. We want to feel special, do unique things that no one else has done before and prefer to arrange themselves. For example, we see it with Party with a Local (away with the Lonely Planet, we create our own personal experience with locals), Sundio's new recommendation engine and srprs.me (you pay and then your vacation is completely tailored for you). But also on the booking websites everything has to go to the specific wishes of the consumer. Not only during the trip, but also before (personal outing planners with Guidey engine at GetYourGuide and sightseeing trips atPeek ) and certainly after the holiday. Personal offers, rooms that can only be booked today (such as with Booking.com) and one-click photo books with ReSnap are all part of it. What do you have to pay attention to in order to continue to optimize the customer experience and to increase the conversion? Following the discussion at a round table that I supervised on Technology Day in Utrecht, I wrote down some opportunities and pitfalls to give an idea of what you might encounter.

Marketers find the shift to personalization great and in this way can get even more information from the often ignorant consumer. It almost hurts to see how easily marketers nowadays seem to express themselves in 'big data applications' to justify their behavior in obtaining this data. The continuous desire to collect data in order to better adapt services to the needs of the consumer, is still good for everyone?

In what way more personal?

Nothing is said about reselling the information at the back without the consumer knowing. Or see the optimization process as a trick from a magic box. Or about the endless retargeting of that pair of mountain climbing shoes, to the annoyance of the consumer. There is no clear cookie policy. Or nothing is simply communicated about what is done with the behavioral data.

Because personalizing the consumer's experience usually comes with a price. The consumer's attention is lured with not to be missed temporary benefits and validity. The persuasion flies you around the ears. Anything is allowed, we can still give our customers a good ride if it only increases the conversion?

There are endless possibilities to make the experience of your visitor or customer more personal without lying or letting the visitor do things he or she does not want at all. On the basis of 14 chances and 12 pitfalls, I try to give you a direction that you could all think. Have you already thought about it and are you curious about the 'why' or do you want input? Place a reaction in particular!


Visitors who have been on your website are placed in a list. You can create a segment based on the behavior that this visitor has shown to show them an advertisement of your website on other websites.

Opportunities in retargeting

Show the visitor the product that he or she has put in the shopping basket, but has not paid . This way (if done properly) gives the feeling that the experience becomes more personal. The better the customer profiles you have, the more relevant and personal you can make it.

Show ads from a category to a visitor who viewed products from this category. In this way you are more relevant than a general advertisement of your website and the click-through rate (CTR) is higher. After all, the visitor was looking for mountain bike clothing, no reason to show tennis clothing to that visitor. The more data you collect from a visitor, the more personal you can make the ad. You could even end up putting the name in the ad, but hey, that is not allowed, is it? The profile data that you are building is still unresectable to a specific person.

Where the really interesting opportunities lie is in the context of demand. If someone has booked a holiday in Ibiza, you can advertise your car rental service with remarketing. Or use specific periods, such as school holidays, because of students who have just passed. Or the visitor from the first example show an advertisement that his shopping cart still contains products that have not yet been settled. The point is that your website gives you the feeling to understand what issues someone is or can sit with, and help him with this. This does not only apply to retargeting.

Pitfalls in retargeting

Make sure that retargeting campaigns are properly measured , you also want to attribute the extra conversions to the specific campaign. If you start working with discounts in your ads - for example, that you give a 20 percent discount on a product after 3 days and 40 percent after a week - you want to see the results per advertisement clearly. After how many days does the 20 percent discount work best, for example?

A further step is segmenting where you specifically create a campaign for people who have followed a specific pattern on your website. Keep an eye on the purchase intent. There is a difference between visitors who have only visited category pages and visitors who have actually placed a product in their shopping cart.

Make sure you do not show ads to visitors who have already purchased a product . The annoyance quickly increases if you still see that holiday coming back to France everywhere, while you have just booked it. So did that visitor buy a product? Make sure you include in your targeting conditions that you exclude these visitors.

But the exclusion after a purchase does not always have to. For example, you could show an ad to customers who bought an ink cartridge 60 days ago to purchase a new cartridge. Works great on products that you can predict the lifespan.

Keep in mind cookies. If you enter a cookie policy on your website, be careful not to include any visitors in your retargeting list who explicitly refuse third-party cookies. Tracking cookies can now be seen as first-party cookies without permission . Third-party cookies , such as those from AddThis 's social sharing buttons for example, do not.


Persuasion is the power of seduction and making it feel special. If you're looking for something on the internet, you'll soon find out names like Robert Cialdini, Wheel of Persuasion or Persuasion API . Several articles about persuasion have already been published on Marketingfacts . The basic principle of persuasion is that by applying certain belief principles - or triggers - your target group will perform a certain action. Be careful not to lie to your visitor.

If you do not already apply this, start quickly. Every party that has already started with this has already reaped the benefits.

One of the principles is the use of social evidence - you can read an example of this in the sense above.

Consider, for example, the validity of actions - a product is only valid for one hour - or the message that there are 4 other people viewing the site page or making arrows to influence the direction of the viewing behavior ( gaze cueing ). For a large group of people these are extra triggers to purchase earlier.

But again, make sure you stay honest about what you show. In July of this year, Booking.com was still tapped by the Advertising Code Commission because the information on their site would be misleading.

Opportunities at persuasion

Use reciprocity as a principle to ensure that your customer can do something for you. For example, Byte Internet has an option in management to send a cake to their team as a customer. Use your thank-you page to let your customer know that they've just bought from you. If all goes well, the customer has a great experience when buying products on your website.

Play with persuasion to bring products to the attention that might otherwise be overlooked. Think for example of making a 'bestseller' label with your ebook. Or a 'product of the week', ' last minute deal ' or ' premium content '.

By means of persuasion you can help new visitors to make the right choice. This starts with the design of the website (these principles also work offline, that's where they come from). This movement is called persuasion design . The sooner you incorporate this way of thinking into the process, the better it is possible to make more relevant pages that are favorable for both visitor and website owner. Persuasion design has been popular for 3 years now, but it is still not seen as a serious discipline. Does the UX designer want to stand up with a master in psychology?

Do you like to see more persuasion techniques and learn from them? Then turn to The Wheel of Persuasion .

Pitfalls at persuasion

Your website is set up on a kind of persuasion principle (authority) that does not suit your target group , as a result of which the conversion will decrease. An example: you have read somewhere that you have to mention that there are only a few copies in stock, so you also implement it - only you have an ebook store. If you are talking about digital products and stock that is very strange. So keep thinking.

You apply too many belief principles on a page at the same time. That does not (usually) work, your visitor is not sensitive to everything and because of the many stimuli there is a good chance that they will deter (read: that the conversion will decrease). Exclusion is obtained by testing with, for example, an A / B test. The disadvantage of this method is that it makes you shuffle your visitors again and with persuasion profiling it is actually interesting to store the persuasion profile per visitor, so that you can eventually show one of the persuasion techniques per visitor. There is not one type of visitor.

Starting early with persuasion (profiling). First it is important that the customer journey is correct on your website. And that there is a healthy conversion rate. If nobody can find your shopping cart, you can give a perfect sales argument, but nobody will eventually buy something.

Nice to see that there is also a movement that goes beyond persuasion, see below the TED presentation by Maurits Kaptein about his image of persuasion .


Generally everyone agrees that it is cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new customers - even 7x cheaper. That is entirely up to the segment, the market and the acquisition costs you have, but still: existing customers are easier to convert.

Not only is it an advantage that existing customers already know you, you should have given them a pleasant and positive experience when they bought you last time. You want your target group to come back to you. To buy another music album (iTunes) or a new pair of shoes instead of the pants from last time (Wehkamp).

Nevertheless, there are, in my view, exceptions, such as with telecom providers. Telecom providers only focus on new customers and hardly on existing customers. For example, I left T-Mobile for the purchase of the iPhone 6. Now I do not want to cover all telecom providers together, even every telecom provider is unique, but the fact remains that unnecessary turnover is lost. While it had been very easy to keep me as a customer, I was already a customer for 6 years.

Opportunities with retention

E-mails are often general, but you can make an e-mail as personal as possible. You send it to a personal e-mail address. You can use the lists you build up with your newsletter to send out mailings that are more relevant based on the behavior and preferences of your target group. Transactional e-mails can be very valuable to increase conversion. These are often sent after you have made a purchase at a web store. But sending an assessment email with, for example, Trustpilot is often forgotten. It is again an extra contact moment with your customer. For example, read this nice case from Travix from 2013 about how they use automated e-mail campaigns .

Approximately 70 percent of your visitors who do something in their shopping cart will leave the webshop without paying . Sadness of this missed turnover. Of course many visitors use the shopping cart as a reminder, but with an efficient e-mail campaign you can still have 20 per cent (at our customers on average) of these visitors still buy. All you have to do is send a relevant e-mail (if the visitor is logged in or left his e-mail address in an earlier step).

Repeat purchases and subscriptions. If you have a product with a high turnover rate, it may be interesting to offer a repeat purchase option (via e-mail). With the press of a button an order will be sent to you again. Consider, for example, whether you can refill your shopping cart with your previous order at the touch of a button - for example, for weekly shopping, that is ideal. You need about the same messages every week, if you can do that with one click in your online cart again, some products there for this week and hopla, pay and have it delivered.

If a product is out of stock , you can show the visitor similar products to keep them on the website, but what many websites have forgotten is to ask for an e-mail address when the product is back in stock . Send that person an email when it is back in stock and you increase the chance of an extra visit to your website. Do not forget to test on the subject of your retention e-mails and play with coupons to, for example, not have to pay shipping costs.

In the case of notifications, e-mail is often considered, but also, for example, mobile notifications (via SMS) and browser notifications . Engagement can increase 278 percent just like that . Where more and more companies try, WhatsApp. NRC offers the possibility to get a WhatsApp Broadcast .

Pitfalls at retention

You are as good as your last experience. This often also works with online behavior. Offer is enough nowadays. Satisfied customers come back. There is one very important precondition for retention marketing. Your customer must be satisfied, or be satisfied. So also make sure that you decide for yourself what a satisfied customer is, how you can make that measurable. How often does this customer order and how long does he or she take an order? For example, how big is your active customer percentage?

Give discount instead of special offer, such as no shipping costs or free of charge a certain product when ordering (as a surprise). Giving a discount is fun, but it is many times more difficult for the group of people who buy the product to sell additional products. After all, they have become customers because of the discount and not because they think your brand is so beautiful or useful.

Giveaways also have exceptions. I myself always think of the free iPad giveaways . It is about mass, not about the quality of the customer. Energy, insurance or telephony are markets where that much happens. The telephone market does not matter how long a customer is, so there are often special introductory discounts and giveaways.

Dynamic information

Building behavior profiles is fun. Gather as much data as possible from your visitors so that you can offer a better user experience. Gender, intention, areas of interest, environment, time, page groups on your website or location are some of them. This way you can offer customized information to your visitors. You want to make the website as relevant as possible and you can do that by making him more personal.

By real-time adjusting the information of the website to the behavior of your visitor, this can be influenced better and we see that the conversion increases. By means of persuasion profiling, information is presented based on the persuasion strategies that previously worked for that specific visitor. By applying this, what is called website morphing arises . (Sorry for all buzzwords , but it makes the search in Google easier if you're looking for more information.)

Good solution right? Certainly! But if you remain honest and can make that data transparent to your visitor. Make sure that your search engines do not forget, because if they see a completely different page than your visitors, you may have a chance that your conversion may increase due to the content optimization, but the number of organic visitors collapses at a given moment. Use the ' Fetch by Google ' tool in Google Webmaster Tools to see how Mr. G sees your website.

A party that specializes in tailoring information is Science Rockstars with their Persuasion API (mentioned 2 years ago on Marketingfacts, but see it nowadays little bypass).

Opportunities with dynamic information

Make sure that you receive data from visitors in the right way and then measure adequately. Segmenting is going around this way in a candy store. In Google Analytics (which uses more than 90 percent of you) there are also pitfalls. Therefore, read 21 must-haves for a good Google Analytics installation for quick wins for more reliable data in Google Analytics and more . Then you then have a good basis to optimize.

On the basis of visitor behavior, sharing visitors shows different information. For example, in male visitors the men's clothing show above the fold and in women the women's clothing. Or show breakfast products instead of lunch products based on the time of the day or the keyword. So based on the behavior of a visitor, you change the content of your website. This can be the order of information, or specific elements. Context, ladies and gentlemen, context.

You show important buildings based on location. You want someone to feel at home? Then location can be a strong trigger . So show Dam if somebody from the vicinity of Amsterdam visits the website or the Dom from someone from Utrecht.

Pitfalls in dynamic information

You look at the raw data and do not segment well and as a result you will show wrong information to visitors or draw wrong conclusions. Especially in the more complex segmentation, someone can fall into the wrong bin. Consider, for example, behavior over multiple sessions (mobile, tablet and desktop).

The A / B test says that it is a success. Everything went well with the test and you have enough significant data to get a 95 percent certainty. That will be a better conversion! You set the adjustment live for each visitor and you do not see any extra increase at all. Huh? When doing tests, often so many factors influence (period, implementation, time, unforeseen events such as plane crashes) that a test must be done more often if you want to be able to say with greater certainty whether the result is consistent. Focus on the long term, not on the short term. In addition, the duration of the test and the sample size are also important.

Passing personal experience too far where it is not relevant or even scary. For example, I visited the website of Similarweb and saw 'Domains visited ' that return very well. What turned out, Similarweb buys data from, for example, browser plugins. Those nice handy plugins that you have installed in your browser are loaded at every page view. Jan-Willem Bobbink wrote a good article about it . If you have a security website that stores data more securely than anyone else, it could be a good trigger to create awareness and thus take your service.

The content is too personal and is no longer varied enough. Sites that no longer display certain information based on your click behavior and show other information (which you interact with). For example, Facebook does very well. What you have to look for is the so-called filter bubble . This means that if you keep collecting information that would not be relevant to me because I never click on it, for example on a news site, there is a chance that at some point I only see the same kind of information and therefore the news value. of the website has been lost. Eli Pariser gave a beautiful TED presentation about this phenomenon (and wrote a book about it).

And now?

Make sure you get started with making it clear who comes to your website and how you can better provide these people with the best information. Make sure you make clear to your visitors what happens to their behavior and make it easy to get that information insightful and remove it if necessary.

This article has tried to hit many small tops of an iceberg. It is time to highlight specific issues in new articles. Do you have specific questions about a situation that you wonder if it is on or over the border? Or do you perhaps have a chance or pitfall when it comes to making the internet more personal? Share it in the comments.

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