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Why User Experience and Content Personalization Matter

— Focusing on end user experience is a must in the “Age of the Customer.”

Posted: September 15, 2015

A customer shopping and checking reviews on her smart phone.

Age of The Customer

It's 2015 and we're in "The Age of The Customer". Forrester defines The Age of the Customer as, "A 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers." 

This means several things for us as consumers and as organizations trying to reach consumers.

This day in time, consumers expect personalized experiences. “Personalized experiences” meaning that content is both in-context and relevant to them, as well as easy to consume. 

Everyone is now empowered with instant information at their fingertips and consumers are trained by leading brands to anticipate great experiences. 

Think about it, what makes you like specific experiences on the web or on mobile apps? Why is it so convenient when Amazon.com tells us, “You might also like this product,” and then shows us products that we really are interested in? 

Amazon does this well because they work hard at understanding their users and catering the experiences to them. 

Recommended Products for Amazon Shopper

As end users we tend to like the experiences that are “simple” or “easy”. 

For an experience on a website or mobile app to be easy means that the options and content available is very clear and easy to parse. This clarity exists because the user interface isn’t overloaded with links, busy with content, and difficult to interpret. 

If you have a large site with a lot of information to convey, creating a user experience that doesn’t overwhelm the user is challenging. 

How does one provide a simple, pleasant experience that is relevant to all users? The answer is content personalization.

What is Content Personalization?

Content personalization represents personalizing or changing a site’s content based on what the system knows about the user. The more interactions with the user, the more accurately content can be personalized to the user. In time, content can be laser focused for each user.

Let’s consider an example scenario of a travel website.

A user based out of North Dakota visits the travel company’s website. The site initially shows warmer locations as trip suggestions on the home page. The site recognizes the location in the Northwest and consequently suggests warmer locations such as Myrtle Beach, the Caribbean, or Cozumel to the user. 

Then the user clicks around and visits several European destinations. The user is actually more interested in locations in Europe. The site then changes and presents the user with information and options based on European destinations. 

The user sees a trip special to Germany, clicks it, and ultimately books a trip to Germany. 

Less clicks to a conversion and an efficient and effective user experience: this is the power of content personalization.

For the end user mentioned above this was a simple experience. Though, in order to arrive at this simple experience there is a complex system on the back-end handling the personalization of content. 

At Arrow we leverage Sitecore as the solution that provides a powerhouse of functionality including personalization. Though, having a cutting edge piece of technology at your fingertips doesn’t ensure success. 

Without understanding your users, business model, and what a conversion is to your organization, personalizing experiences on your site can be a difficult art to master. The rules for personalization must be evaluated against your business goals and the end user’s journey on your site needs to be planned. 

How does one master the art of planning for all of the variables that inevitably come into play for a site’s user experience? 

That’s where the focus on User Experience and the Envisioning Process come into play.

User Experience

When having the conversation of content personalization the topic of user experience is almost a given. 

I would venture to say that having content personalization without focusing on the user experience would be like designing a high-end car engine, but yet not considering the needs of the driver. 

One wouldn’t design a car without thinking about the person driving it. 

As you may imagine, content personalization on a website is most successful when considerable time is spent defining the site’s user-personas, planning the user interface and experience for each of the targeted personas, and thinking about what metrics equate to conversions.

The Arrow Envisioning Process

At Arrow we take pride in our focus on user experience. Our Digital Strategyprocess consists of 4 stages and helps us identify areas for personalization. We have a team dedicated to user experience who researches and learns the needs of our clients and their business models.

We invest a lot of time in this process and it has driven positive results for our clients time and time again.

Arrow User Experience + Sitecore Personalization = Results

As the aforementioned Forrester analyst data denotes, users expect to see relevant, in-context content. Sitecore’s personalization capabilities combined with a well architected user experience is proven to drive results by offering users the experiences we all expect today. 

The question is will your end users have these experiences on your site or on your competitors?

Create a Personalized User Experience for Your Site 

Contact our team today to talk about how we can help you create a personalized experience for your customers.