Predicting the Future… It’s Personal

I was watching Minority Report, (the one where Tom Cruise is escaping from the government and has his eyeballs replaced because everyone is identified by iris recognition) and it made me think, as a recent digital convert, how close we are to sophisticated technology like this actually existing.

There’s actually a prototype of this personalised billboard technology being developed in Japan as we speak, though luckily not with Iris recognition.

Companies are able to recognise valuable customers online too, by observing browsing behaviour (mouse movement and clicks, geo-location, product interests, recency and frequency of visits) and there are many ways in which this information can then be used to drive conversions.

According to Forrester, personalisation is the top priority for 55% of retailers in 2013 as new technologies allow for greater understanding over multiple touch points. I can also predict that this is going to be more tablet and mobile focused in the future, as spend on these devices continues to rise exponentially, according to our Q1 2013 Digital Marketing Report

The most obvious and possibly simplest way of personalising a user’s experience is by offering product recommendations based on recent browsed pages (good for cross and up-selling). Another popular method is by using the information gathered to change the content of the website (homepage banner for example). This has been proven to increase click through rates and user experience figures. We all know that e-CRM is incredibly valuable too, by examining the behaviour of registered users you can send bespoke email content encouraging them to return to the site and convert.

There are other increasingly imaginative ways to approach personalisation too, such as offering a video text chat option on a marketer’s website, so that users can interact with operators and get a more personal feel as their queries are being answered. Gaming sites frequently use this option, but it is also making its way into the high street retail area.

Sephora is working with Pantone to enable customers to scan their faces onto their iPad and find their perfect shade of foundation. This is a prime example of using technological insight and innovation to deliver a unique and individualistic experience to the consumer.

I love the prospect of going on to my favourite retail website to be given a wholly personalised experience based on my past behaviour. My size, favourite styles, colours and price limit are taken in to account, making my experience more enjoyable and helps to build my brand loyalty.

As more and more advertisers realise the importance of personalisation, there will be many more innovative and clever ways of engaging with users on a one-to-one level in the coming months.  I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes out for brands that go above and beyond to make me feel more ‘unique’ and less like a ‘user’. Hopefully my irises are safe for a little while longer.

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