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Customer Data Platform & Personalization Engine combined equals personalization on steroids

Customer Data Platform & Personalization Engine combined equals personalization on steroids

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A Customer Data Platform (CDP) and a Personalization Engine have the same end in mind, namely, to use personalization as a data- and results-driven marketing strategy. Integrating a CDP and a Personalization Engine is the ultimate marketing technology stack, without which your customer journey data will be incomplete.

 

Different, yet highly compatible ever-after partners

Without getting overly technical here, the main difference between a Customer Data Platform (CDP) and a Personalization Engine is:

  • a Personalization Engine can personalize online shopping experience for anonymous customers based on contextual or behavioral data. This data can be, for example, location, weather, campaign, page type or visitor’s behavior.
  • a CDP can collect, merge and edit all customer data from all touchpoints, both physical (offline) and virtual (online), for identified customers. This data can be, for example, purchase, marketing campaign or customer service data. 

One could say that a Personalization Engine orchestrates the journeys of all visitors, known or unknown , whereas a Customer Data Platform can actually show the whole customer journey of identified visitors. Both are important, though. Personalization Engine, because customers browse webstores vastly before making a purchase or registering as customers. And a CDP, because physical locations can still be about 80% of all consumer businesses.

Owning and having real-time access to all your customer data, is the added value of combining these two marketing technologies.

This martech stack has even been future-proofed. The Custobar CDP and the Frosmo Personalization Engine both use first-party and server-side data. In other words, this couple will be a happily ever after partnership even in the very near wake of the third-party cookie. After all, the third-party cookie will be permanently unavailable by 2022.

 

Personalization Engine and Customer Data Platform briefly defined

Personalization Engines like Frosmo collect customer data and analyze customer behaviour to create customized ecommerce customer experiences, such as product recommendations and special offers. They generate a profile based on browsing data and use this data to deliver and optimize personalized customer experiences.

Since  Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) can be very varied from platform to platform, I am here specifically using Custobar as an example. Custobar is in essence two tools in one. It is a CDP and a marketing automation technology.

Custobar CDP unifies all customer data of the identified customer from all touchpoints into one single 360° customer profile and into one place. Purchase and order data, behavioural data from web and mobile apps, customer service data, etc., are all brought together and made actionable in real time. This data can then be used for building customer segments and creating targeted, personalized, automated omnichannel marketing and communications messages, such as emails, SMS, push notifications, display ads, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.

 

No more mixed messages

As long as a (potential) customer is unknown, Personalization Engines are invaluable for personalization. The moment an anonymous customer has been identified, maybe by making a purchase, answering our survey, or subscribing to a newsletter, we can start making highly targeted and personalized marketing messages to them. But we need a Customer Data Platform in order to do so.

I briefly mentioned above that customer segments, audiences, can be created in Custobar. Well, Frosmo’s Personalization Engine creates them, too. The customer segment that Frosmo has created can be brought into Custobar as such and utilized as a ready-made audience. Or, customer segments can be created within Custobar based on a whole host of customer information.

One thing is for sure. After integrating Custobar to Frosmo, there will be no product recommendations or offers on products that the now identified customer already purchased. What there is, is plenty of room for personalized marketing messages.

 

Frosmo and Custobar, a tech stack in action. The step-by-step for retail and consumer businesses

To clarify, let’s look at what all this means in practice. From the point of view of a business, the Frosmo and Custobar marketing technologies stack to map the customer journey and personalize the customer experience as described below.

In our example, customer X is browsing a webstore to find the best eBike for making their way to and from work. The browsing has been going on for quite some time, and its intensity has varied. This browsing has also been spilling at times to cycling gear with a positive bias to Keli Clothing products.

Note! What follows is very simplified. To find out the full benefits and features, contact Frosmo or Custobar.

  1. Customer X visits an ecommerce site. It is a general site, not one that sells eBikes or cycling gear specifically, but they do have them in their wide selection as well. Customer X is a new visitor so site personalization is done based on contextual data, statistics from other visitors  and Frosmo’s predictions based on those. As Frosmo learns about Customer X’s behavior, product recommendations and site experience become more targeted toward the correct phase of the customer journey and Customer X’s main interest a.k.a. affinity.

2. Frosmo’s AI-driven Personalization Engine – or Website Personalization Platform –  optimizes customer X’s browsing experience by making eBike and Keli clothing cycling gear recommendations and informing our X of the best deals in their neighbourhood or residential area. This is made possible by profiling customers based on their browsing data, geolocality, and other relevant information, and building customer segments based on this data.

3. When customer X spends a set time on the ecommerce site, a pop-up with a CTA will prompt X to order the newsletter with an offer, say 10% off a new customer’s first purchase.

4. Customer X doesn’t make a purchase but registers for a customer loyalty program. Now we know who the customer is! A new customer called RJ (not ‘customer X’ anymore) will now be automatically saved to the Custobar Customer Data Platform. 

5. After RJ has joined the loyalty program, she gets an email welcoming her as a loyalty program customer and asking for her specific interests with a simple survey, for instance “What products are you mostly interested in?” This is called data enrichment. It can be done in a variety of ways, but the point is to save this information in the customer profile for later marketing and communications purposes. RJ answers ‘cycling,’ because she is interested in eBike and cycling gear offers and content.

6. RJ starts seeing personalized ads on Facebook, such as pictures of eBikes and related Keli Clothing gear. (Technically, Custobar sends segment information to Facebook using data both from Custobar as well as the data Frosmo has been updating to Custobar.)

7. RJ also receives newsletters regularly with personalized content that is based on her   interests in cycling and outdoor sports. With personalized content, the newsletter will be relevant for RJ and she will continue reading and enjoying it.

8. When RJ clicks a newsletter link with a campaign UTM and lands back at the ecommerce site, the product recommendations and knowledge-sharing content she sees are tailored toward her interest in eBikes. This helps her decide which bike and accessories to go for. Especially buyers of complex and  high-value products such as eBikes benefit from content that is relevant for them. That’s good for SEO, too.  Now RJ makes the eBike purchase. (A brief sidebar: using personalization engine to help returning visitors pick-up where they left off has a dramatic impact on click-through and conversion rates.

9. A week after the purchase, RJ receives a personalized email where an influencer’s video on how to get the most out of the eBike is embedded. The email also contains related product recommendations, such as cycling gear. RJ clicks to the cycling gear page and eventually adds two products in the shopping cart. However, she doesn’t finish the purchase.

10. Two hours later an automatic email will be fired to RJ to remind her about the discarded shopping cart. (A brief sidebar: Custobar clients who have created abandoned cart email automations have a conversion rate up to 40 percent from those messages alone.)

11. RJ opens the email but doesn’t finnish the purchase in the webstore. Instead, she goes to her nearest brick-and-mortar store. After consulting a salesperson, she buys Keli Clothing cycling pants and a SIGG sports bottle.

12. Both webstore and brick-and-mortar store purchases are saved to RJ’s customer profile in the Custobar CDP. When RJ sees ads on social media, Google, or goes to the webstore again, she will not be recommended eBikes or any other cycling gear that she has already bought.

To date, RJ remains a newsletter subscriber and revisits the store and webstore on a regular basis.

Disclaimer: No Keli Clothing, SIGG water bottles, eBikes or other exemplary products or ecommerce sites were harmed during the making of this blog post. All examples were imaginary, not pertaining to actual customer cases.

About the writer: 

Tatu Kuivalahti, CEO and co-founder of Custobar is an entrepreneur, leader and business developer focusing on digitalization of the retail industry. 

Frosmo

Give your customers the best personalization that delivers amazing results

Most engagements with Frosmo start with a demo, and we’d be glad to discuss one with you. Fill in your email below, and one of our personalization experts will reach out to you.

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Ecommerce trends a year into COVID-19: Customer experience at the heart of the business

Ecommerce trends a year into COVID-19: Customer experience at the heart of the business

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COVID-19 had a significant impact on companies in 2020. Some were able to grow at a record-breaking speed while other businesses faced serious challenges. Brick and mortar businesses were the ones that suffered the most while companies operating in the field of ecommerce were able to recognize rapid growth usually achievable in multiple years.

Experts of Frosmo and Vaimo had a discussion about this transformation on Frosmo’s LinkedIn Live on 26.2.2021. Here are some key takeaways about the themes that will impact ecommerce business in 2021.


The digital strategy must be considered accordingly to the overall business strategy

The need to consider the connection between digital strategy and overall business strategy is highlighted this year. The digital strategy is not limited to the actions of digital divisions in companies. A bigger picture of the business should have an impact on decision-making when considering possible solutions and implementing those in action. Strategy is at the core, but adaptability to everchanging transformation and agile project thinking is equally important. While business planning and visioning are relevant, over-planning should be avoided to leave room for experimental culture and discussion. As a whole, one should think of multichannel and channel independence because that reflects the customers’ behavior in today’s world.

Investments in digital teams are increasing. Internally, we grow and strengthen our own teams and existing capabilities. Externally, business partners are becoming increasingly important: closer cooperation is a reality and more growth is expected through partners. 


Customer insight at the core

The demands and expectations of ecommerce customers have increased. This places demands on data-driven systems so that their roles are clear and customer experience is improved.

To get the right information about the customers, you need to measure where they come from and how they convert on your site. The aim is to create a 360-degree view of the customers so that customer service and customer relationship development can be successful.

Frosmo personalizes your customer offering, targets them with the right products, and tests the most effective content. Personalization plays an important role: it is the best way to provide more relevant content to the customer. Good customer service also aims to tie the customer to the brand. 


Understanding the roles of tools

During the year of COVID-19, businesses adopted a wide range of digital tools at an accelerating pace, particularly marketing tools. Tools have been put in place to address different challenges, and for everything to work seamlessly together. The role and importance of different systems should be understood as a whole. The entire technical architecture must be intact and well thought out.

In terms of tools, in-team training is important. The challenge comes when the role of the tools has not been properly conceptualized and they do not work seamlessly together. When this happens, customers can see it, and in turn, can badly affect customer experiences. 


Data-driven business

After the first year of COVID-19, companies recognized the importance of a data-driven approach in businesses. Data is already being collected, but often the data is handled in different systems that may not work together.

A common misconception is that data comes as a by-product for free. But the most important thing is to decide to invest in data to make it easy to collect, combine and actively use with different tools. In an online store, you should think about the data architecture as a whole and invest in gathering the right kind of data. Utilization of data as a whole can also be approached agilely and get started with small steps. Not all challenges need to be solved at once.


The growth of B2B ecommerce

Globally, the growth of B2B ecommerce is evident. In increasing numbers, businesses operating locally have also recognized the importance of B2B ecommerce. With B2B ecommerce, a company can easily begin without a massive initial investment.

The customer is also in the center of B2B ecommerce. Consumer characteristics are meaningful for the user. A data-driven approach is equally important as in B2C ecommerce, as they give insight about actions to improve customer experience.


What are the next steps for ecommerce businesses?

After the year of COVID-19, many things will be emphasized in ecommerce development. To succeed in a digital business, a company should have a holistic approach to business development. Aside from strategy work, digital capabilities, and digital team development, there should also be technical development and data orientation. All of which should be systematically integrated into the overall business.

Data-driven business grows in importance. At the operational level, it’s possible to quickly test how data can be already utilized during development, and hence constantly learn about new possibilities. The online business is not isolated from the rest of the business and should be developed holistically.

Vaimo is a leading full-service omnichannel agency building digital experiences on the Magento Commerce and Adobe Experience Cloud platforms for clients across the globe.

Resources from Vaimo (in Finnish):

Verkkokaupan digistrategian rakentaminen

Asiakaskokemuksen parantaminen kasvattaa konvsersiota

Vinkkejä B2B-verkkokaupan perustamiseen

About the writer: 

AuthorJohanna Vasala is Marketing Manager of Vaimo. Johanna is an experienced marketing and communications professional with 20 years of experience in international marketing activities spanning across all marketing communication touchpoints. She has a strong background in sports wearables, health, and fitness, and at the moment works within the IT industry, helping companies to succeed in digital commerce.

Frosmo

Give your customers the best personalization that delivers amazing results

Most engagements with Frosmo start with a demo, and we’d be glad to discuss one with you. Fill in your email below, and one of our personalization experts will reach out to you.

EBOOK

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Benefits of headless commerce for your online selling goals

Benefits of headless commerce for your online selling goals

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Ecommerce teams are challenged with building dynamic fast performing sites, growing sales and engaging with customers on a personal level. Traditional ecommerce platforms often get in the way of hitting these goals due to rigid, monolithic architecture. In order to successfully support modern business requirements, a new breed of platform services built around creative freedom and access to core platform services is becoming the new standard – it’s called headless commerce.

Headless commerce is defined as the separation of the customer-facing front end of an ecommerce site, from the backend business logic and commerce functionality. The decoupled architecture uses APIs to enable developers, and marketing and business teams to create better buying experiences for customers perfectly suited to their needs.

These types of experiences are becoming increasingly important for digital sales. Customer acquisition costs are rising across the board, and many merchants agree that one of the best ways to offset these costs is upgrading your customer-facing digital experiences. Headless commerce platforms are an effective way to make it happen.

Let’s review a few of the biggest benefits of headless commerce and how its unique architecture allows you to weave more personalized customer experiences throughout your sales process.

 

Headless commerce supports site performance

First, let’s look at how headless architecture affects the nuts and bolts of your customer experiences – website performance. Headless commerce supports a simple and fast experience for all users across any channel or device.

The benefit comes from how headless is built. With headless, your content management system (CMS) is separated from the backend, business logic layer (the commerce engine itself). Aside from opening the doors to a world of new selling opportunities (which we’ll get into below), this architecture supports quick connections between services and APIs. In turn, this means pages aren’t bogged down by lengthy loading times that detract from the customer experience.

And slow loading times can certainly do some damage to your bottom line. We’ve all heard the data on how page performance affects the customer experience.  Up to 47% of customers expect a website to load in two seconds, and 40% will abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load.

When this sluggish performance hits customers during their product research or checkout processes, it can be highly detrimental to your selling goals. But with headless, your site architecture stays lean and mean – providing a simple type of web architecture that’s fast, efficient, and perfectly suited to your selling goals.

 

Create omnichannel marketing potential

As we know, a key aspect of personalization in any industry is meeting customers where they live. It’s no secret that modern customers shop through a variety of channels these days, often using websites, mobile, social media, and even on-site applications like live chat to see their goals met.

Reaching these customers on their preferred channels can pay dividends. Companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain, on average, 89% of their customers compared to those without. Unfortunately, this is one area that can be a big resource drain for unprepared businesses. Companies that want to stay productive need simple ways to reach prospects across each of these channels without getting bogged down in extensive IT investments.

This brings us back to headless. The decoupled headless architecture delivers functionality to each of your sales environments, regardless if they’re on-site, on mobile, or offline. All data created from these channels are managed and maintained in a single platform that integrates with each of your information management systems.

Put another way, headless allows you to build any type of ecommerce experience across each online sales channel without worrying about frontend platform restrictions. It’s the most efficient and customizable way to deliver simple, personalized experiences to all customers no matter what channel they prefer.

 

Respond to opportunities at speed

Another important benefit of headless is how it lets you bring in additional functionalities and features to respond to new marketing opportunities – even when you have limited developer resources. You’re free to explore new integration solutions without substantial investments.

In personalization terms, this gives you an easy way to adapt your strategy to capitalize on those micro-moments of ecommerce shopping. Whenever you identify a new opportunity to contact customers with a personalized offer, promotion, or incentive, it’s easy to set up and deploy through your headless commerce platform. With the full-coverage API that underlies a headless commerce service, the front-end experience can request and make use of the complete ecommerce data structure when it’s needed to build customer experiences.

For example, specific customer data points, purchase history, and recently ordered items are all available through API requests at specific touchpoints. Front-end developers are no longer blind to the customer data when building.

And as we know, this type of personalization is crucial to marketing success. 90% of customers find personalized marketing content appealing, and 80% agree that they’re more likely to make purchases from brands that offer personalized experiences.

The headless strategy makes it simple to respond to emerging opportunities when they’re fresh, particularly when compared to the slower-moving nature of monolithic ecommerce platforms.

 

Support scalable growth

As a company grows, so too will its ecommerce needs. Hosting, traffic, data management, and engagement strategies will all need to evolve alongside the enterprise. Headless commerce delivered through software-as-a-service (SaaS) is your answer here.

With flexible headless solutions, you can scale your company’s commerce functions up or down as needed. You’ll have more agility to respond to new business opportunities and built-in flexibility for supporting different commerce goals. Compare this with on-premise architecture, where companies are stuck with tightly-integrated systems that struggle to scale. When everything’s connected, even small changes to the system can create downstream disruptions to functionality.

With SaaS headless, you get a new way of managing your commerce experience that grows alongside you without requiring substantial time, resources, or labor investments.

 

Key takeaways

  • Headless commerce supports an ecommerce experience that’s flexible and functional across nearly any online selling goal.
  • Headless solutions streamline ecommerce architecture to speed up page loading times and site performance overall.
  • The flexibility of headless solutions gives companies more freedom to respond to new marketing or sales opportunities while they’re hot, across any channel that makes sense for the customer.
  • Agile solutions like headless are easy to scale alongside the enterprise, guaranteeing your system will be ready to support you as your commerce needs evolve.

 

Create streamlined and personalized experiences through a new commerce approach

Headless commerce is a fast-growing strategy in ecommerce for one reason: It makes it easy to provide exceptional, personalized experiences to all customers across every channel they use by leveraging the complete eCommerce data set.

Look at your own system to see if you have these features for yourself. Does your marketing team have the flexibility to design, build and deploy the type of storefronts to support every channel you need? Can you deliver simple, personalized web-focused experiences across each part of the customer journey?

Tightly-integrated ecommerce platforms aren’t the easiest way to enable these customizations, but with headless commerce solutions, like Slatwall Commerce, you have the freedom to set up any type of online selling experience you want. And that’s a type of personalization that’s hard to beat!

Slatwall Commerce is a modern ecommerce platform that combines enterprise features with headless commerce flexibility securely in the cloud. A complete ecommerce platform with open source roots, Slatwall Commerce is available as a SaaS solution providing a full suite of tools and functionality for business and marketing teams while being developer-friendly.

Companies from startups all the way to enterprise-level have chosen Slatwall Commerce to power their critical business applications and storefronts because the platform is robust, yet flexible, and is architected for ease-of-use and to grow with your organization without compromise.

Frosmo’s personalization software and Slatwall Commerce’s modern ecommerce platform will empower companies to bring tangible results, and support their growth.

Watch LinkedIn Live:

Personalization and headless commerce

About the writer: 

Brad Gustavesen is CMO and partner of Slatwall Commerce, located in Worcester, Massachusetts. Brad is responsible for building awareness of the Slatwall Commerce platform as well as working directly with agency partners, technology partners, and other services in the ecommerce ecosystem. Brad’s experience as an ecommerce manager and developer gives him a unique perspective on building and creating successful ecommerce operations.

Frosmo

Give your customers the best personalization that delivers amazing results

Most engagements with Frosmo start with a demo, and we’d be glad to discuss one with you. Fill in your email below, and one of our personalization experts will reach out to you.

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