Unifying customer experiences: Am I a different person when I’m in a store versus online?

By Adam Whitaker

February 22, 2017

I’m a person, singular. I should have one persona. 

Brands should treat me like a single person, not a collection of profiles depending on where they’re interacting with me. 

In the past, unifying customer profiles across channels was a daunting task. These days not so much. Customers identify themselves often and in various ways – site login, email click-through, online purchase, providing email address at in-store checkout. All of these touch points can be used to unify customer profiles across channels and devices.

As we move towards providing the best customer experience possible, making decisions based on the most complete view of a customer seems like a no-brainer. Knowing that I previously purchased a flannel shirt in your store and following-up with an email, recommending products that other customers also purchased is a much better experience than either doing nothing, or trying to market me something I may have already purchased.

Understanding how I interact with your brand on different devices and channels are opportunities for a significantly better experience. I typically do most of my browsing on my phone, likely in between stoppages and timeouts of whatever sporting event I’m watching at the time (#raisethecat). Using my past interactions to get the correct content in front me of me is important since I’ve been told I have a short attention span. Also, those past interactions should not be limited to only actions that I have completed on my phone. I open emails on both my phone and laptop. Let's say I open an email on my phone and click the men's link, begin my shopping journey in the men's section and that brand remembers my action for future visits!

As I’m browsing I use my cart to hold products I might be interested in purchasing later. After said sporting event is complete, I find that my next stop is to my laptop to view those products on a larger screen. This is where brands can really step up their experience. Knowing that I prefer to make purchases on my laptop instead of my phone (and my short attention span), a brand should look to get me into the checkout process ASAP once they see me transition from phone to laptop after adding items to my cart. In the scenario where I get distracted and forget how I couldn’t live without those items in my cart, a gentle nudge to remind me that I have important stuff to buy is great to get me re-engaged.

I can also be an impatient person. The proliferation of overnight and two-day shipping has removed hurdles in shopping online for a lot of people, but sometimes I just can’t wait! I live in an area with a large amount of brick and mortar retail. Seeing my transition from phone to laptop should also trigger the brand to show me inventory in nearby stores. If the item is in stock and at a nearly equivalent price to online, there’s a very good chance I’m getting in my car. Personally, the buy online and pickup in store option doesn’t necessarily do a whole lot for me, so the brand needs to understand that my in-store purchase was linked to my online browsing. Previously, my abandoned cart would have triggered an email from the brand reminding me to return and make my purchase. In this case, the personal view they have of me would let them know that I already made that purchase and would save them from sending me an irrelevant email that would detract from my brand experience.

Understanding how each person shops and using that information to better their customer experience pays off especially, by creating increased brand loyalty. It pays to have a unified and comprehensive profile for each user rather than placing each user into a segmented profile.

Adam Whitaker is a Senior Data Analyst with Monetate. He joined the company in May 2014 and has been delivering innovative customer insights ever since. In his free time you can find him chasing after his dog, cooking, and sampling the Philadelphia region's finest food and beverages.

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