This is the year. You’ve vowed to lead the charge for building a truly contextual, personalized user experience for your e-commerce website's online customers.
You've read all the articles and blogs expounding on one-to-one marketing and using Big Data to understand your customer. You’ve wrapped your head around the array of tools available to help you deliver that experience. You’ve brought various stakeholders into the loop and identified the many ways you can significantly improve your relationship with online customers.
It's at this point that you realize there will be a considerable investment of time, money and strategic planning needed to bring this "personalization engine" to life. I call it an "engine" because personalization is not simply a "marketing tactic" or "initiative" but a (more or less) complex set of moving parts that can drive customer loyalty when working together in harmony.
Jumping into any unknown territory is challenging, and truly, so much is unknown at the early stages of launching anything with the potential to disrupt traditional marketing tactics. The fact there is so much evolution in the Big Data and Personalization space makes life that much more uncertain for marketers looking to make the jump with confidence their choices will stand the test of time.
Having built personalization into sophisticated travel loyalty solutions for financial institutions and other entities, we've helped many (understandably) cautious clients overcome this fear of the unknown and address issues that arise around the concept of web personalization. We've also had to overcome some challenges of our own.
Whether you're jumping onto the website personalization bandwagon as an organization or working with a partner in building a personalized e-commerce platform, we hope this article will share some of the key considerations you can preemptively attack before you get too far down the road.
Every website visitor likes to see their name on the website page — it says "We Know You" — and pre-filling some preferences into a lengthy online form is always a welcome timesaver for the user. These are clear use cases for web personalization tools, but they hardly live up to the promise of a revolutionary change to your marketing strategy.
The real power of a personalization engine lies in its power to transform your organization and its ability to meet the growing expectations of your customers, namely to engage them with contextually relevant content, to anticipate their needs, and guide them to transact.
But with no shortage of projects you can tackle using your personalization engine — projects that may have previously been out of reach for lack of resources or organizational focus — it's all too easy to jump in and start doing while losing sight of the bigger end-goal of transforming.
So what does "transformation" mean for your organization? Defining key milestones and measurable objectives of you personalization strategy is critical. Are you looking to create channel stickiness for certain customer segments, increase product adoption across the customer base, or curate performance in a state or region? Knowing your pain points, benchmarks and desired outcomes from the start helps to wade through the seemingly endless possibilities of a target-rich personalization strategy.
One of the most attractive aspects of a personalization engine is the ability to collect and analyze user interaction on your website, not just in an anonymized, aggregated way but on the individual named user level. The underlying objective is to build a "profile" on each individual customer consisting of product affinities, preferences, geolocation and much more. You could potentially record every form submission, every button clicked, and every screen swipe.
While there are plenty of unknowns around a customer's preferences and product affinities, surely there will come a time when you'll need certain data points to gain insight into some user characteristic you have yet to identify. So just collect everything and ask questions later, right?
Wrong. From a legal standpoint, you’ll probably need to rethink this approach and evaluate what data you absolutely need to collect and store, and whether it might be considered "PII."
For a financial institution, there are often specific definitions of what constitutes "PII" data, and this could even be the storage of just a few collective data points like email address, name and address. While you may not be subject to the level of data security required of financial institutions, you'll need to consider your organization's data security policies before you store certain information.
And now even organizations outside of the "zone of scrutiny" financial institutions work within need to be more cautious than ever about what data they collect and how they collect it. California and a number of other states have adopted "GDPR-like" new privacy protection laws (see CCPA).
The bottom line is you may need to consider limiting the type of information you collect as part of the user's "profile." You might successfully circumvent some issues by manipulating how that data is stored. For example, "salting and hashing" algorithms may adequately disguise critical data used for unique identification purposes without compromising the capabilities of your personalization engine.
Another powerful feature of a solid personalization engine is the ability to easily conduct A/B and multivariate tests. The objective is to simplify the user experience and reduce friction by removing impediments to transaction flow; however, the challenge is identifying where to focus your attention in the user experience.
Here's where an alternative analytics solution may help immensely. Google Analytics is certainly a must-use tool for most organizations, and now Google Analytics 4 offers promising depth to the data you can collect and analyze, but there are other analytics tools that may serve as a better compliment to your personalization engine (and to Google Analytics itself).
For example, Heap Analytics is one useful resource in this regard, though there are other analytics solutions to consider. Something we love about Heap is the fact that nearly every interaction on the website page is (anonymously) recorded without our having to define it up-front and code for it — and we can drill down to the individual user level if need be.
On a practical level, this retrospective reporting capability is invaluable. Six months after product launch when we want to assess usage of a particular website feature (or if the client asks for this data), we will have already collected six months of data before the need for it even arose. We can then use our findings to make truly informed enhancements to the user interface, or to identify where we wish to conduct A/B tests for further investigation.
This level of reporting can also be of huge value to QA teams in discovering specific points of failure through transaction funnels across various devices, operating systems and browser types.
The prospect of deeper insight into your online customers and gaining their increased engagement is not just enticing but truly essential in e-commerce today. For some organizations, website personalization can be quite a jump. Behind the scenes of any effective implementation is a set of tools, processes and strategic plans that do not come without a cost in terms of time and resources. But with some advance planning and guidance, you can more easily direct your efforts to transforming your online shopping experience into something your customers have come to expect from a modern user experience.
Custom web development for e-commerce, lead generation, branding and more!
Grab the Brass Ring.
Net yet a client? Get a FREE, no-strings-attached consultation.
Last updated: May 1, 2022
Please read these Terms and Conditions (“Terms”, “Terms and Conditions”) carefully before using the https://www.brassringconsult.com website (the “Service”) operated by Brass Ring Group, LLC (“us”, “we”, or “our”).
Your access to and use of the Service is conditioned upon your acceptance of and compliance with these Terms. These Terms apply to all visitors, users and others who wish to access or use the Service.
By accessing or using the Service you agree to be bound by these Terms. If you disagree with any part of the terms then you do not have permission to access the Service.
If you wish to purchase any product or service made available through the Service (“Purchase”), you may be asked to supply certain information relevant to your Purchase including, without limitation, your credit card number, the expiration date of your credit card, your billing address, and your shipping information.
You represent and warrant that: (i) you have the legal right to use any credit card(s) or other payment method(s) in connection with any Purchase; and that (ii) the information you supply to us is true, correct and complete.
We reserve the right to refuse or cancel your order at any time for reasons including but not limited to: product or service availability, errors in the description or price of the product or service, error in your order or other reasons.
We reserve the right to refuse or cancel your order if fraud or an unauthorized or illegal transaction is suspected.
We are constantly updating product and service offerings on the Service. We may experience delays in updating information on the Service and in our advertising on other web sites. The information found on the Service may contain errors or inaccuracies and may not be complete or current. Products or services may be mispriced, described inaccurately, or unavailable on the Service and we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information found on the Service.
We therefore reserve the right to change or update information and to correct errors, inaccuracies, or omissions at any time without prior notice.
The Service and its original content, features and functionality are and will remain the exclusive property of Brass Ring Group, LLC and its licensors. The Service is protected by copyright, trademark, and other laws of both the United States and foreign countries. Our trademarks and trade dress may not be used in connection with any product or service without the prior written consent of Brass Ring Group, LLC.
Our Service may contain links to third party web sites or services that are not owned or controlled by Brass Ring Group, LLC.
Brass Ring Group, LLC has no control over, and assumes no responsibility for the content, privacy policies, or practices of any third party web sites or services. We do not warrant the offerings of any of these entities/individuals or their websites.
You acknowledge and agree that Brass Ring Group, LLC shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any such content, goods or services available on or through any such third party web sites or services.
We strongly advise you to read the terms and conditions and privacy policies of any third party web sites or services that you visit.
You agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Brass Ring Group, LLC and its licensee and licensors, and their employees, contractors, agents, officers and directors, from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or debt, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees), resulting from or arising out of a) your use and access of the Service, or b) a breach of these Terms.
In no event shall Brass Ring Group, LLC, nor its directors, employees, partners, agents, suppliers, or affiliates, be liable for any indirect, incidental, special, consequential or punitive damages, including without limitation, loss of profits, data, use, goodwill, or other intangible losses, resulting from (i) your access to or use of or inability to access or use the Service; (ii) any conduct or content of any third party on the Service; (iii) any content obtained from the Service; and (iv) unauthorized access, use or alteration of your transmissions or content, whether based on warranty, contract, tort (including negligence) or any other legal theory, whether or not we have been informed of the possibility of such damage, and even if a remedy set forth herein is found to have failed of its essential purpose.
Your use of the Service is at your sole risk. The Service is provided on an “AS IS” and “AS AVAILABLE” basis. The Service is provided without warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, including, but not limited to, implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement or course of performance.
Brass Ring Group, LLC its subsidiaries, affiliates, and its licensors do not warrant that a) the Service will function uninterrupted, secure or available at any particular time or location; b) any errors or defects will be corrected; c) the Service is free of viruses or other harmful components; or d) the results of using the Service will meet your requirements.
Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of certain warranties or the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages, so the limitations above may not apply to you.
These Terms shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of California, United States, without regard to its conflict of law provisions.
Our failure to enforce any right or provision of these Terms will not be considered a waiver of those rights. If any provision of these Terms is held to be invalid or unenforceable by a court, the remaining provisions of these Terms will remain in effect. These Terms constitute the entire agreement between us regarding our Service, and supersede and replace any prior agreements we might have had between us regarding the Service.
We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to modify or replace these Terms at any time. If a revision is material we will provide at least 30 days notice prior to any new terms taking effect. What constitutes a material change will be determined at our sole discretion.
By continuing to access or use our Service after any revisions become effective, you agree to be bound by the revised terms. If you do not agree to the new terms, you are no longer authorized to use the Service.
If you have any questions about these Terms and Conditions, please contact us:
Effective date: May 1, 2022
Brass Ring Group, LLC (“us”, “we”, or “our”) operates the https://www.brassringconsult.com website (hereinafter referred to as the “Service”).
This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use and disclosure of personal data when you use our Service and the choices you have associated with that data.
Service is the https://www.brassringconsult.com website operated by Brass Ring Group, LLC.
Personal Data means data about a living individual who can be identified from those data (or from those and other information either in our possession or likely to come into our possession).
Usage Data is data collected automatically either generated by the use of the Service or from the Service infrastructure itself (for example, the duration of a page visit).
Cookies are small files stored on your device (computer or mobile device).
Data Controller means the natural or legal person who (either alone or jointly or in common with other persons) determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal information are, or are to be, processed.
Data Processors (or Service Providers)
Data Processor (or Service Provider) means any natural or legal person who processes the data on behalf of the Data Controller.
We may use the services of various Service Providers in order to process your data more effectively.
Data Subject (or User)
Data Subject is any living individual who is using our Service and is the subject of Personal Data.
We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our Service to you.
While using our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you (“Personal Data”). Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to:
We may use your Personal Data to contact you with newsletters, marketing or promotional materials and other information that may be of interest to you. You may opt out of receiving any, or all, of these communications from us by following the unsubscribe link or instructions provided in any email we send or by contacting us.
We may also collect information on how the Service is accessed and used (“Usage Data”). This Usage Data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Service that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.
Cookies are files with a small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a website and stored on your device. Other tracking technologies are also used such as beacons, tags and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyze our Service.
Cookies can be “persistent” or “session” cookies. Persistent cookies remain on your personal computer or mobile device when you go offline, while session cookies are deleted as soon as you close your web browser.
You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Service.
Examples of Cookies we use:
Brass Ring Group, LLC uses the collected data for various purposes:
When you use and access the Service, we may place a number of cookies files in your web browser.
We use both session and persistent cookies on the Service and we use different types of cookies to run the Service:
In addition to our own cookies, we may also use various third-parties’ cookies to report usage statistics of the Service, deliver advertisements on and through the Service, and so on.
Please note, however, that if you delete cookies or refuse to accept them, you might not be able to use all of the features we offer, you may not be able to store your preferences, and some of our pages might not display properly.
You can learn more about cookies and the following third-party websites:
Brass Ring Group, LLC may process your Personal Data because:
Brass Ring Group, LLC will also retain Usage Data for internal analysis purposes. Usage Data is generally retained for a shorter period of time, except when this data is used to strengthen the security or to improve the functionality of our Service, or we are legally obligated to retain this data for longer periods.
Your information, including Personal Data, may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ from those of your jurisdiction.
If you are located outside United States and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including Personal Data, to United States and process it there.
Under certain circumstances, Brass Ring Group, LLC may be required to disclose your Personal Data if required to do so by law or in response to valid requests by public authorities (e.g. a court or a government agency).
Brass Ring Group, LLC may disclose your Personal Data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:
The security of your data is important to us but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Data, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.
Some browsers give individuals the ability to communicate that they wish not to be tracked while browsing on the Internet. California law requires that we disclose to users how we treat do-not-track requests. The Internet industry has not yet agreed on a definition of what “Do Not Track” means, how compliance with “Do Not Track” would be measured or evaluated, or a common approach to responding to a “Do Not Track” signal. Due to the lack of guidance, we have not yet implemented features that would recognize or respond to browser-initiated Do Not Track signals in response to California law.
If you are a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA), you have certain data protection rights. Brass Ring Group, LLC aims to take reasonable steps to allow you to correct, amend, delete or limit the use of your Personal Data.
If you wish to be informed about what Personal Data we hold about you and if you want it to be removed from our systems, please contact us.
In certain circumstances, you have the following data protection rights:
Please note that we may ask you to verify your identity before responding to such requests.
You have the right to complain to a Data Protection Authority about our collection and use of your Personal Data. For more information, please contact your local data protection authority in the European Economic Area (EEA).
We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate our Service (“Service Providers”), provide the Service on our behalf, perform Service-related services or assist us in analyzing how our Service is used.
These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose.
We may provide paid products and/or services within the Service. In that case, we use third-party services for payment processing (e.g. payment processors).
We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our Service.
Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our Service. This data is shared with other Google services. Google may use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network.
For more information on the privacy practices of Google, please visit the Google Privacy & Terms web page: https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en
Heap Analytics is a behavioral web analytics service offered by Heap Inc. that collects information on what users are doing on the website, including but not limited to what webpages they visit, what users click on, where those users are located, what browser or platform those users are using, and many other forms of behavioral or personal data. This data is not shared with any other services.
You can opt-out of having made your activity on the Service available to Heap Analytics by installing an ad blocker add-on to your browser.
Google Ads marketing service is provided by Google Inc.
You can opt-out of Google Analytics for Display Advertising and customize the Google Display Network ads by visiting the Google Ads Settings page: http://www.google.com/settings/ads
Google also recommends installing the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on – https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout – for your web browser. Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on provides visitors with the ability to prevent their data from being collected and used by Google Analytics.
For more information on the privacy practices of Google, please visit the Google Privacy & Terms web page: https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en
Bing Ads marketing service is provided by Microsoft Inc.
You can opt-out of Bing Ads interest-based ads by following their instructions: https://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/policies/personalized-ads
Twitter advertising service is provided by Twitter Inc.
You can opt-out from Twitter’s interest-based ads by following their instructions: https://support.twitter.com/articles/20170405
Facebook advertising service is provided by Facebook Inc.
You can learn more about interest-based advertising from Facebook by visiting this page: https://www.facebook.com/help/164968693837950
To opt-out from Facebook’s interest-based ads, follow these instructions from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/568137493302217
Facebook adheres to the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising established by the Digital Advertising Alliance. You can also opt-out from Facebook and other participating companies through the Digital Advertising Alliance in the USA http://www.aboutads.info/choices/, the Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada in Canada http://youradchoices.ca/ or the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance in Europe http://www.youronlinechoices.eu/, or opt-out using your mobile device settings.
For more information on the privacy practices of Facebook, please visit Facebook’s Data Policy: https://www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation
AdRoll marketing service is provided by Semantic Sugar, Inc.
You can opt-out of AdRoll remarketing by visiting this AdRoll Advertising Preferences web page: http://info.evidon.com/pub_info/573?v=1&nt=1&nw=false
When visitors use our Services, AdRoll may place cookies on their browsers for targeted adverting purposes. Data collected may include IP addresses, cookie identifiers, website activity, and a “hashed” (unrecognizable) representation of any email addresses you enter into our website forms, used only for the purpose of serving relevant ad content to you across multiple devices.
When visitors leave comments on the website we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection.
Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website.
We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third-party sites or services.
Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 18 (“Children”).
We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your Child has provided us with Personal Data, please contact us. If we become aware that we have collected Personal Data from children without verification of parental consent, we take steps to remove that information from our servers.