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BizReport : Advertising : August 02, 2016

Expert: Why merchants need more than a customer persona

While buyer personas can help merchants better predict what products will be most important to consumers, one expert believes these personas are only the first step in creating a more engaging online experience.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Some experts say targeting buyer personas is a good idea - you believe merchants need to go further. Why?

Dan Buckstaff, VP of Marketing, Jetlore: Buyer personas place customers in categories of generalized criteria, which only scratches the surface when it comes to the data necessary to collect and generate an individualized customer experience. Instead, merchants need to go further to understand each customer's unique characteristics and gather descriptive attributes.

Focusing on each customer's lifetime profile, gathering attributes from every interaction, and providing fresh and relevant content based on that information can allow the retailer to individualize content for customers at each touch point. Better experiences lead to more engagement and this dynamic creates a 'virtuous cycle'. Building a relationship with the customer based on this kind of dialogue makes the customer feel understood and more likely to make repeat purchases and enhance the customer's lifetime journey.

Kristina: You believe algorithmic content individualization technology is a better option?

Dan: Content individualization technology is a crucial piece of the shift to what we call 'relationship commerce'. As the name suggests, 'relationship commerce' creates more valuable relationships with customers over time -- instead of focusing on driving transactions. Relationship commerce strategies cultivate long-term loyalty by pushing individualized, algorithmically orchestrated digital content at every step of the customer journey.

Kristina: What does algorithmic content individualization offer?

Dan: Content individualization treats each interaction with a customer as part of an ongoing dialogue, analyzing each customer action and inaction, continually adapting and providing a more individualized customer experience over time. The technology reacts to what the consumer is and isn't interested in on an individual level, rather than grouping them into a certain buyer category based on a few specific characteristics or habits.

With a technology like this in place, retailers can provide fresh and relevant content for every touch point across channels. These experiences come in the form of individualized products, categories, and creative editorial content that gets displayed on home pages, emails and in mobile apps. When customers receive those tailored experiences, they're more likely to engage with that retailer again - resulting in higher ROI and increased omni-channel customer loyalty.

Tags: ecommerce, ecommerce advetising, ecommerce engagement, Jetlore

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