“If we have 4.5m customers, we shouldn’t have one store. We should have 4.5m stores.”
This quote from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says it all.
Nowadays people are overwhelmed by choice: every day we are exposed to a humongous number of ads. Just to give you an idea of the magnitude: most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. Companies are fighting for attention. Historically, companies have been fighting on a product and price level. Now personalized experiences are becoming the key differentiator for companies looking for growth. Learn more about why companies should start doing personalized customer experiences.
It is up to companies to target people with relevant experiences in terms of content, context, channels, support, interface, etc.
Amazon is making experience relevant through the use of personalization. With their product recommendation algorithm, they provide the right content to the right people at the right time via the right channel. Personalization is not just a nice to have. It is a must have. People really expect experiences tailored to their wants and needs. Companies who are able to provide tailored experiences will have a competitive advantage towards their competitors. The personalization efforts of Amazon led to a 29% sales increase.
Another, more recent example, is the one of McDonalds. McDonalds decided to create a more customized drive-through experience. Personalization technology allows McDonalds to create a drive-through menu that can be tailored to different elements such as the weather, and the traffic inside and outside the restaurant. Based on what you order, the display can recommend additional items.
What about Belgian companies? How far are they evolved in personalization?
Case 1: Colruyt's efforts to make the shopping trip more personalized and efficient
A first Belgian company that is making efforts towards a more personalized approach is Colruyt. Colruyt is all about efficient shopping. Their aim is to give their customers a seamless shopping trip.
By creating the MyColruyt app. In this app shoppers can find inspiration, recipes and create their own shopping lists. The app strives for an omnichannel experience (e.g. you can share your shopping list via Whatsapp, sms and e-mail). The data from the ‘Xtra’ loyalty card is used to personalize the experience. Customers can search for items they previously bought and transfer them to their current shopping list. The easy and smart shopping list makes it possible to match the order of your items to the store route, let you add your allergies and shows you personalized promotions.
Today 4.2 million people have an Xtra card, half a million people use the app.
The next step for Colruyt will be to convince people about the advantages of the app and make sure that more people regularly start using it.
Case 2: Telenet guiding people through overwhelming choices
A second example is Telenet. ‘Play More’ is a platform from Telenet on which they provide movies and TV series. ‘Play More’ was facing 3 main challenges. Firstly, they encounter a lot of competition from Netflix. People see Netflix as the new standard, so ‘Play More’ needs to step up their game in order to stay competitive. Secondly, customers were having a hard time finding movies and TV series on the ‘Play More’ platform that were within their interests. Finally, customers were receiving offers that were irrelevant for them. Telenet thus had to overcome these challenges.
Telenet came up with the idea of Mr. More. This is a Facebook Messenger chatbot that offers entertainment suggestions within the ‘Play More’ catalogue. Customers chat to Mr. More on Facebook Messenger and, based on their answers to specific questions, the bot will make a few suggestions. The customer can direct the chatbot by replying if they like or don’t like the suggestions that were given. The AI engine learns from the answers and will propose other, better solutions. The self-learning technology makes it possible to automatically offer the right products for every consumer at the best moment via the right channel.
Mr. More helped Telenet make their content more relevant and personalized to the consumer. Mr. More’s conversion rate is 20 times higher than other digital channels. On the other hand, it is also a bit of a missed opportunity. It would have been better if people could use Mr. More directly from their smart TV screen. Moreover, competition from Netflix will remain a stumbling block for ‘Play More’.
Case 3: The house of marketing personalized their website with a limited toolset
Our own The House of Marketing website is a great example of personalization. There is a lot of content on our website, but the right content is not always connected to the right person. Our website has different visitors (students, job seekers, hiring managers, marketers, etc.). The aim is to link to right person to the right content. We want job seekers to find their way easily to our job page while we want to give marketers access to content they are interested in.
The website is built in HubSpot and one of the standard features is smart content. There is the possibility to create different rules within the tool and change the content depending on which rule applies to the visitor. When you visit the website for the first time, you see a standard homepage. Once you have downloaded content on the website, the content on the homepage will change according to your interests. First results show that our click-through rate (CTR) is almost double compared to what it was on the previous homepage, where we didn’t use smart content.
Case 4: Tomorrowland: the ultimate example of personalization in Belgium
The last example is Tomorrowland, which is probably the most famous example of them all. Tomorrowland is all about experiences.
It starts with the teaser and ends with the after movie. In between they do everything to make sure everyone has an amazing experience. Every touchpoint is an important one: a personalized bracelet as entry ticket, cashless paying with pearls and even party flights.
These party flights are a collaboration between Tomorrowland and Brussels Airlines. Through analytics it is possible to connect with people from your own country during these flights. Finally, to ensure a smooth trip before and after the festival there is a drop off for your luggage at the DreamVille campsite.
Tomorrowland became an example for other festivals and even for other types of events. When people go to an event after having the ‘Tomorrowland experience’, they will expect the same. It has become a standard. Want to read more about Tomorrowland?
The examples show that personalization is not only for international companies such as Amazon or McDonalds, but Belgian companies too are able to provide personalized experiences. Technology is a must, but it doesn’t have to be a chatbot with an AI engine: a website with rule-based content can do the trick. Of course, it all depends on what the goal is. As mentioned in the introduction, personalization is not a nice to have. It is a must and it will lead your company to the desired results. To name one, Tomorrowland went from 180.000 to 400.000 visitors within two years. That's an increase of 45%.
Several Belgian companies are on the right track but there is certainly room for improvement. Want to find out how you're scoring when it comes to customer experience? Try out our free Customer Experience Quick Scan!