Imagine you’re sat in a branch of a leading high street travel agent – for the second time this week – trying to finally finish booking your family holiday. You’ve decided on the villa. You’ve checked the dates. And you’re ready to pay. But the agent serving you has other ideas and demands you browse some alternative destinations, as they relentlessly slide brochure after brochure across the desk. Meanwhile, a few feet away, another customer is being coerced into providing passport details for their entire family, despite their insistence that they’ve only just returned from holiday, and simply want some inspiration on where to go next year.
It’s utterly absurd. And it happens every minute of every day: online. That’s because while most brands are able to personalise digital experiences based on who their customer is, very few are able to recognise why that customer is there. And just like the situation with our in-store travel agents, who more often than not are driven by personal and business objectives rather than what the customer wants, that doesn’t lend itself to a very smooth customer experience.
We call it ‘intent’ - the desire or compulsion that's driving an individual's behaviour. And without this key insight, it’s impossible to deliver truly relevant and wholly connected online experiences that give each and every customer what they want, when they want it.
Customer intent: the desire or compulsion that’s driving the behaviour or actions of an individual in a given moment in their purchasing decision.
Most brands can’t do that. So instead, they waste literally millions of pounds every year pushing the wrong content, through the wrong channels. This can often cause more harm than good and in worst cases, put customers who were already close to purchasing off converting altogether. All this, because they don’t understand their customers’ intent. The brands that are winning online, are doing something else entirely.
Understanding every customer
Using custom solutions that go far beyond what most technology is capable of, these brands are able to connect all the dots in the user journey and draw a complete picture of what an individual visitor is looking for, and why. The pieces are all there. It’s just a question of joining them up:
- Profile data: By utilising demographic information, you can uncover information such as age, location, and gender – helping to fill your picture in your picture of who a customer is.
- Behavioural data: By looking at things like an individual’s interests, browsing patterns, search history, and purchasing behaviour, you can start to build on the profile – an outline of not just who an individual is but how they tend to behave online.
- Context: And by analysing a user’s in-session events, you can see what actions they have (and have not) taken in the past, and present. This contextual view provides the most crucial part of the puzzle – an insight into not just who and what, but why.
Context can also be categorised into a series of shopping modes which help determine the stage of the buying journey that each visitor is at. This additional insight into shoppers, for example, whether they have a specific product in mind and are ready to make a transaction, are deciding what to purchase and who to purchase it from or are just browsing to kill time, adds an extra layer to our understanding of customer motivations and expectations at each stage of the online journey.
With this rich mix of data and insight, you can accurately categorise what every customer’s intent is, for that specific visit. Without this ability to determine what your customer is after, you can’t possibly deliver an appropriate and personalised experience. By understanding their intent and the context of their visit, you can deliver highly relevant onsite experiences, in real-time, that will have the greatest chance of increasing both engagement and conversions.
Understanding intent and responding in real time – with the right features, displayed in the right channels – is the key to creating relevant online experiences, personalised to an audience of one.
Our solutions are designed with the customer first, helping brands to compose and deliver personalised online experiences that are relevant to every visitor, regardless of what stage they are in their journey. Find out more about how our solutions help to build more connected online experiences.