Orchestrate the customer journey by harmonizing the four instruments of personalization at scale

Orchestrate the customer journey by harmonizing the four instruments of personalization at scale

Brands and consumers have demonstrated an impressive ability to adapt to a digital-first world, and personalization has been at the heart of it all. Greet them by name, let them pick up where they left off, offer them the products, services, and information they truly need, and customers feel as understood and appreciated as if you were interacting with them in person.

But the digital economy keeps expanding, and there’s more adapting to do. Customers now interact with brands in a multitude of different ways, places, and times, making it challenging to give them the personalization they expect with every engagement — especially in the face of shifting market conditions, inflation, global supply chain disruptions, and a tight labor market. Even so, it’s absolutely necessary.

Like a conductor guiding the sections of a symphony, retailers must bring together their resources and tools to deliver a hyper-personalized customer journey across every touchpoint — online and offline. And while the idea of personalization is not new, achieving personalization at scale is the new imperative for retailers.

We know from the 2022 Adobe Trust Report that 58% of customers will stop purchasing from a brand that doesn’t give them the personal experiences they value. And Forrester reports that 71% of consumers expect personalization and 76% feel frustrated when they don’t find it.

Adobe Trust Report statistics

To successfully orchestrate customer journeys, your personalization efforts can be divided into four parts, much like the four instrument sections of an orchestra. With these four instruments working together, you can compose a harmonious customer journey and deliver the digital experiences your customers deserve.

Instrument #1: A strong data foundation that yields a unified view of the customer in real time

Just as a strong strings section is the core of any symphony, a strong data foundation is the core of your relationship with customers and audiences.

To get a holistic view of the customer across all channels and conduct connected customer journeys, you must be able to identify who the customer is, centralize that data in one location, and tie that customer to a unified profile. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), you can segment, test, and stitch all your different data together from multiple sources to create and enhance customer profiles in real time. You can then use those privacy-ready profiles, combined with precise targeting capabilities, to create personalized experiences that inspire customer loyalty and increase revenue.

Dick’s Sporting Goods does just that. Using unified customer profiles powered by AI, Dick’s gathers information about customers across channels as interactions occur. With a real-time pulse on the shopping journey, the marketing team can meet its objective of creating relevant and meaningful content for every customer at every moment.

Instrument #2: Intelligent and dynamic content that can adapt to your customers’ rhythms

Just as percussion instruments keep a steady, consistent beat, relevant and personalized content should be delivered at the right time and place during the shopper’s journey.

When it comes to orchestrating customer experiences, there are no soloists. It’s time to add in some AI and ML accompanists and make sure every employee is empowered to create all the content variations needed to conduct smooth customer journeys. That includes content in different size formats (smartphone, tablet, desktop, in-store kiosk, and so on), in different mediums (video, lookbooks, size charts, and so on), and in multiple languages for global audiences.

When AI is built into every experience, you can deliver the best performing experiences — all automatically. Doing so has helped The Home Depot shorten its content creation time from 10 days to 24 hours. New content — like test offers, promotions, and web designs — gets created and delivered faster for an improved digital experience.

Instrument #3: Journey orchestration to personally reach customers at every interaction and on any channel

Like woodwinds adding texture and color to the entire symphony, a customer journey that moves seamlessly from channel to channel and touchpoint to touchpoint creates a smooth experience at every turn. An agile and scalable application can help brands compose and conduct personalized, unified, and timely customer experiences across any app, device, or channel.

With modern omnichannel orchestration and execution, you can tie every customer interaction together and react to real-time customer insights and signals. Journey orchestration should incorporate AI and ML to surface predictive insights and automate decisions throughout the customer experience.

Panera Bread has invested in customer orchestration technology to help manage the increase in touchpoints across digital and physical channels. Customers now have more options for ordering and picking up food, and every offer presented is relevant and personalized.

Instrument #4: Journey analytics to measure, analyze, and report on it all

Just as the brass section adds power and panache to the orchestra, analytics add power to your personalization efforts. Listening to the analytics that come in as you conduct the customer journey helps you refine the personalization program you’re delivering in real time.

Personalizing experiences in a digital-first world necessitates a shift to a journey-centric analysis, one that can measure and report on the full journey beyond just the web and app experience and easily bring in additional data sources from CRM, finance, shopping tools, or offline POS data to determine how predictable and successful marketing efforts are.

Leading British retailer Marks & Spencer has been gathering insights into customers’ online shopping habits and using this data to personalize product recommendations. As a result, online sales for home goods and clothing increased by nearly 50%, active Marks & Spencer app users doubled, click-through rates increased by more than 80%, and add-to-bag rates increased by 56%.

Marks & Spencer statistics

Tune up your martech stack

Delivering personalized experiences to thousands or even millions of customers across multiple channels requires a capable tech stack that can analyze and activate the right data, deliver relevant content at meaningful moments, and orchestrate a seamless customer journey from the first note.

The cost of goods and the rising inflation rate may be taking a toll on consumer confidence, but 53% of retailers expect demands on their organizations’ digital experience to accelerate in the coming year according to Adobe’s 2022 Digital Trends — Retail in Focus. To succeed in this rapidly evolving digital environment, retailers must deliver exceptional and hyper-personalized customer experiences throughout the entire shopper journey. Doing so requires:

Learn more about orchestrating digital experience masterpieces by reading Orchestrating the customer journey for retail success: Four personalization instruments to tune up digital engagement.