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Maintaining relevant personalisation tactics during the coronavirus crisis

When communicating with customers through digital channels, personalisation has become a well-known and useful tool for brands striving to create positive connections. But during times of crisis, thoughtful and effective personalisation techniques can make all the difference when it comes to standing out within the inbox.

Consumers are likely to be receiving far more emails than ever before, with this being one of few ways to maintain contact with customers and inform them of important changes. With this in mind, brands need to be smarter with the way implement personalisation. Simply addressing someone by their first name is not enough to cut through and resonate with consumers.

This has been the case for quite some time. Our own research back in 2018 discovered that only 8% of consumers would be likely to engage more with a retailer if they addressed them by name in their communications. Consumers have become so accustomed to giving away personal information such as name and date of birth, that they have naturally come to expect this type of engagement from brands. With digital experiences becoming ever more sophisticated, it’s likely that this figure will be even less in today’s climate. So, remaining competitive currently requires really thinking outside of the box.

Adapting to new needs

With such a unique situation in place across the globe, the needs and behaviour of audiences is continuing to change. Their new needs may be very different to the segment and persona understanding that was in place previously.

For example, if a customer is usually a regular shopper of fitness nutrition and supplements, a brand in this space should consider the impact that social distancing, working from home and restrictions on movement may have on customer’s usual habits. In this instance, it may not be helpful to keep sending the customer offers on more products they are unlikely to need right now. Instead, the content of these messages could change to involve healthy working from home breakfast or lunch inspiration, with recipes where nutrition products can be added. This would encourage the customer to incorporate the product within a new routine and takes potential new pressures and routines into consideration. As such, it is essential for retail brands to revisit persona definitions and follow this up with an evaluation of current automated campaigns.

Creating new audience segments

With the current climate in mind, there may even be new audience segments to consider, such as those customers that are key workers or volunteering to help others within the community. Personalised offers to those people can be a great way to build stronger connections; showing that as a retailer you care and want to give back to the community of workers striving to keep the country safe. Personalising landing pages can also help retailers deliver relevant messages that are targeted to specific segments, increasing the likely conversion of those products. AI driven site personalisation can help to identify anonymous browsers and capture email addresses.

Real-time tracking of behaviour can also help a retailer really get to know customers and their preferences, which can be monitored as this crisis period progresses. By spotting new trends in browsing and purchasing behaviour, brands can make personalised predictions of which products the customer may be interested in buying in future.

Although it’s important to maintain some semblance of business as usual, the key to successful personalisation during this time will be business as usual with thoughtfulness. Becoming useful and creating highly personalised experiences will help to make the customer feel seen, understood and valued during tough times. True personalisation is not simply about just addressing a person. It is about engaging them in a way that applicable and relevant to their behaviour, preferences and interests at any given moment. Insights such as these are key to maintaining relevance and building strong connections with customers.

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