OnsitePersona.org > Concept Paper v1.0 (16th July 2017)

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The Easiest Way for Real-time Onsite Personalisation

What are Dynamic Onsite Personas?

What is the easiest, and most effective way of Dynamic Real-time Personalisation for your Ecommerce Projects? Well, let's advance on a new road and start with Online Personalisation from the 1st Click on your Website. Without any 3rd Parties involved. In the concept of Dynamic Onsite Personas, there is even No Need anymore to store Persona Data at all as this provides a historical view towards user behaviour. Such a perspective might be rather misleading than suitable for real-time personalisation nowadays.

Because static personas are really 80s, aren't they? In the age of Mobile User Interaction that happens in millions of intent-driven Micro Moments, we rather need Personas that are automated, that come up dynamically, created and fine-tuned straight in-the-moment. And the idea is really simple: Enjoy many real-life use cases in this Open Concept Paper as inspiration for your web shop, content-rich news portal or commercial blog below.

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Personalise Content

Using Dynamic Real-time Onsite Personas will enable you to personalise content for the users of your ecommerce platform in a great and easy way. This said we are looking at the Personalisation of Headlines, USPs, Badges & Sashes, Product Recommendations and even your Corporate Storytelling.

Recommend Products

Find out what products to recommend to a visitor without any 3rd party data involved. Personalisation with Dynamic Onsite Personas uncovers user needs and intention in their current situations.

Predict Conversions

You will be able to tell if a potential buyer is close to a conversion and if it's worth to retarget her when it comes to shopping cart abandonment. That's Predictive Analysis. Enjoy the concept below.

9 Types of Onsite Data for Real-time Personalisation

1) Personalisation by User Type

Imagine, a user enters your website. The first thing you will realise is if the user is new to your web shop, or a returning visitor (and maybe she's even logged into her account). And that's already a lot. Just think about this: What would enhance her experience on your homepage?

If she's a first time visitor:

Clearly, trust and social proof are essential for establishing brand engagement. Therefore, you may provide her personalised content with reviews for social proof, make her aware of your story, and personalise captions, teaser texts, headlines, and other suitable elements with the right content and USPs. Your homepage could look like:

1m Happy Customers | Est. 1950 | 5-Star Service
RECOMMENDED Products by our Customers:

What about a little bit of urgency combined with social proof? Now, how does this version sound to you:

1m Happy Customers | Est. 1950 | 5-Star Service
X1 Y2 Z3
1) 89 sold in 24h (7 left in stock)
2) 310 sold in 1 week (4 left in stock)
3) 42 sold today (6 left in stock)

Do you see the numbers? (Bandwagon effect + Scarcity heuristic) Make sure that they are true (legal reasons). But, of course, 89 sold in 24h doesn't need to mean that you sold them today, like 310 sold in 1 week doesn't mean that you sold them in the past 7 days. It means that you sold them in a week once upon a time. Today means today. It's like booking.com telling that 21 visitors are viewing this hotel at the moment.

Your know what? These 21 visitors are really doing so. But what do you think how high is the chance that they are looking for the same type of room like you, and travelling on the exact same dates? There you go. But it works, doesn't it? Especially when you combine urgency with the fear of losing a deal — plus social proof.

If she's a returning visitor:

Now, how can you improve her experience when she's a returning visitor? Realise the difference here:

1m Happy Customers | Est. 1950 | 5-Star Service
We've saved your basket
Recently viewed products
Recommended for you

That's how a personalised experience looks like. I remember entering a web shop and the product recommendation engine was full of garden furniture. Above the headline: 'Personally recommended products for you.' My brain went: 'Shame that I don't even have a balcony.' And I thought: 'They should rather go for -selling fast- if it's a first time visitor.' But you know what? This was the moment when the idea of OnsitePersona.org was born.

If she's even logged in:

Check if she has recently received an order. If so, you may ask for a product recommendation and ask her how happy she feels with regard to your service. And if she gives a rating below 5 stars, you will definitely ask what needs to be done on your side to make her provide a 5-star rating next time. (+ all of the above as she's a returning visitor too)

Wow, that's already a lot to personalise, isn't it? And all you had to know is the user type (new, returning, logged in).

2) Personalisation by IP/HTML5 Geo Location

When a user connects to your site, of course, you know her IP. Combined with the right geo IP data, you will find a region from where the User is coming from. With the HTML5 Geolocation API, you will receive very accurate data, but it needs the user to opt-in.

If you have local stores, you may pre-select the closest one for new visitors by default.

And knowing your user's location will boost the impact of user reviews for social proof massively! Because when a Buyer from a distanced city tells you that the delivery went well, it doesn't mean much to you. When this feedback comes from a Buyer in your current location, it does. (In-group favouritism)

Combined with a weather API you can easily recommend product according to temperature, wind, humidity. If you know that it's very likely to rain the coming weekend, you could recommend nice indoor activities.

Especially for social apps, if you keep an eye on the data, you will find out where the user normally stays between 9 am to 5 pm. And where she's from 8 pm to 6 am. And if you have many users, you go and mine through your data to find out the social context (when and where do they meet each other) — a very nice way to identify influencers in real-life communities automatically.

3) Personalisation by Content Focus

If she interacts mostly with products for men, it's probably my wife who thinks I need a new pair of trousers. When she starts to interact with (e.g.) delivery information on your website (like a click on delivery-related FAQ topics or a click on the delivery link in your footer), she may be close to a purchase conversion.

If she interacts with these information long time (count time of visible focus in the viewport of her browser), it is very likely a very important topic for her at the moment. If it's delivery, you may want to adjust some information snippets in your cart and checkout to re-ensure her where and when it's really needed. (Spacing effect)

Personalise User Reviews

Making sure that a 3-star review comes up somewhere may be a great idea now too. Because probably there is one where a customer complains that you had delivered the wrong item, but was happy about the fast exchange and your helpful customer service. This would re-ensure her too. (Availability heuristic) And if there is one 3-star review in between of two or more 5-star reviews, she will definitely read it. (Von Restorff effect)

Personalise USPs

Take the USPs of your five main competitors. What you put on top is your Unique Selling Proposition. Have you ever thought about showing the best ones to each persona first? And as a single USP at different places in your Web Shop. Just tag them. And allocate tags to your visitors according to their onsite behaviour. All you need to do now is to match them automatically. You can do this with all types of content.

4) Personalisation by Filter Interaction

This works great with filters (e.g.) on your category pages too. They give you an idea about Colours, Gender and a Price Range she's interested in at the moment. (idea: Store price as percent range from - to and add further data to it; count how often this happened as you want to add the new data proportionally to the old one of the same session — more details needed? Just drop me a line and I will add them.)

5) Personalisation by Onsite Search

Check if the user enters specific keywords like cheap or certain colours (yes, users really enter stuff like cheap and light-weight in onsite search boxes). And tag them too.

6) Personalisation by Shopping Cart

She just added a product to her shopping cart? Now that's a clear buying signal, isn't it? Well, maybe. Or she's just comparing prices, stores ideas. But yes, it's a first and clear buying signal. Take care of shopping cart interaction. She might be close to becoming a buyer persona!

If she removes a product from the cart or changes the quantity, you may want to offer a 5.- € discount, let's say if she signs up for your newsletter during checkout. (best practice: Always ask for something in return — that's fair, isn't it? Ask any successful salesperson you want.)

And if she leaves without buying, at least you will know if her Abandoned Shopping Cart Value is worth to retarget.

7) Personalisation by Device, Operating System, Browser Version

You can easily find out her Device, Operating System and Browser Version. This gives you ideas about urgency and a possible special need for relevancy (mobile) & lifestyle if it's a device from a very expensive brand. And if she's a Linux user, she's probably a nerd/geek persona that needs more binary data to justify her buying decision.

Is she using the absolutely newest version? Tech savvy, early adopter. (But be aware of default updates, rather look for hardware.)

8) Personalisation by Time & Date

When she accesses your website in the morning or around 5 pm or 6 pm in the evening, stays quite a while and interacts on a mobile device, she is very likely on her way to work or on her way home — travelling on public transport. This is a situation which makes it definitely worth to check if she comes from a newsletter campaign, it's just a perfect routine moment which offers the freedom of mind and space in her brain to try new things and ideas — and for you to impress her.

When it's primetime and she's on a tablet device, check is there something special on TV which you could probably optimise some product recommendations for. Or do you want to see hoodies and toys when James Bond's just having a gala dinner on TV? 100%, you will find something suitable for special TV moments. And be creative for the rest.

9) Personalisation by Referrer URL & Tag Management System

You also know the Referrer URL (if one) from where the user found her way to your website. Like this and with Tag Management Systems, you can find out if she clicked on a Sportive Ad for example. If so, it's an indicator that she's a Sportive Person. Thereby you can use the demographical pre-targeting of large scale ad networks too, indirectly on your website.

Keep in mind: Personalisation is a Cocktail, not a Single Shot

(to do: highlight ss/sd/ds/dd pattern by R. Bandler & J. LaValle to underline the problem of over-personalisation that may miss the actual customer)

A bartender not just knows how to listen, he knows how to interact with different humans accordingly to the situation. From 'have another drink' to 'get out of here!' Now, imagine you know a user likes red things. You wouldn't recommend her just red products, would you? Well, writing the tickets for your developers, make sure they won't do it either. Let them rather go for something like a Cocktail Mixer.

Product Recommendations

Colour match: 50%
Category match: 50%
Brand match: 25%
Price match: 75%

User Reviews

Category match: 80%
Gender match: 75%
Location match: 75%
Topic match: 25%

It should be a nice dynamic Persona Mixer too. Because you definitely want to test which combination works best for whom and when to provide tailored experiences for your new dynamic ecommerce personas.

Loving the style of dynamic real-time ecommerce automation too? Cool, please send me your feedback and let your peers enjoy OnsitePersona.org now:

Thanks for sharing! It's about us to make the world more colourful and fun.

Become a UX-Bartender now

We are living in a world full of products, and it's about us to make it more colourful and fun. And Personalisation means mixing the right cocktail for your visitor's persona.

In the pipeline for Q4/2017, you will find a first SaaS/API here which provides the methodology above for your Ecommerce Projects. It will come with many API calls for free, easy to setup and quickly implemented. Because the ultimate goal of OnsitePersona.org is to create a better web experience for everyone, everywhere. And this includes startups, SMEs, and professional bloggers too (without large development teams and big budgets), as well as established corporations, UX ninjas & digital pioneers.

For Developers & Web Analysts: Many of the tracking functionalities described above are available in my Open Source Project ga-rm.js Interaction Tracking for Google Analytics on GitHub.

Please send your Ideas and further cool Use Cases to: info@onsitepersona.org

We are happy to receive more real-life personalisation examples like the ones above (you will be named with a link to your website).

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by Robert Matthees (2017)