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Sitecore Auto-Personalisation

December 11, 2019

For years now we’ve been discussing the personalisation paradox - the fact that simple audience segmentation can help clients to offer a more personalised experience for their customers that ultimately leads them to conversion.

The paradoxical part is that whilst customers today expect personalisation at every level, they are less inclined to give up the data that enables companies to provide them with a service that matches that expectation.

In the past, delivering personalisation has revolved around a low level understanding of the user. To personalise every single individual customer journey requires a huge amount of data and time and we can constantly find ourselves playing catch up.

As much as marketers like to think in terms of customer segments, the reality is that whilst companies are able to make broad predictions, no one customer is the same as another. Marketers can appeal to a segment, but are they really meeting the needs of that unique individual via an experience that’s so seamless it goes undetected?

We end up with 2 extremes to personalise. One being an over managed suite of complex rules for a multitude of possibilities; the other being a real gap of knowledge and solely targeting Mr and Mrs Average. Between these in-efficiencies in delivery, we never really see the value of personalisation.

The Sitecore AI offering of Auto-Personalisation

With Auto-personalisation we can leverage the tools at hand to gain that knowledge that we’ve been missing until now. We can spot opportunities we never knew existed and drive value where it matters.

Dominic Hurst, Digital Transformation Consultant & Sitecore MVP, Valtech

Sitecore’s new offering will make life easier by empowering brands to personalise their site with minimal guess work. This is a 1:1 level of personalisation driven by the push of a button - delivering a genuinely personalised experience based on analytics and machine learning.

It will give brands the ability to automatically identify visitor trends, define customer segments, and modify page elements to deliver uniquely personalised experiences.

What about new customers? When there’s very little data to go on, how can a feature like this really make an impact? There’s an algorithm for that; using historical data and repeat visits from an individual Sitecore AP provides the insights you need to target them beyond content variations.

With an attractive dashboard for a quick view across segments, brands can dive deeper into what customers have visited, which components made the best impressions. This has the potential to increase ROI from content investments whilst increasing the productivity of your marketing teams.

Successfully delivered, this release has the potential to remove a lot of legwork for editorial teams and create options they might not have even considered, explains Nick Hills, Principal Developer & Sitecore MVP at Valtech:

The existing model for personalisation is good, but can be cumbersome when there’s high variety across multiple components. The challenge with component-driven composition is that a page isn’t really a ‘thing’ and that means that context might be distorted based on the input and behaviour from component X, Y and Z.

So what does Sitecore Personalisation mean for our customers?

We see two key benefits from Sitecore AI. Firstly, it will help our clients get over the massive hurdle of taking the first step of personalisation. Machine Learning will auto personalise, create user segments and then provide the information back to you. This will allow clients to shortcut straight to testing hypotheses, learning and refining their messaging. Secondly, it will improve the efficiency of the Marketing team’s efforts by allowing them to focus on quality content, rather than spending time defining segments and rules.

Harpreet Bushell, Commercial Director (UK) & Sitecore MVP, Valtech.

As an add-on for the Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) 9.0 and above, Sitecore Auto-personalisation is the first release of an expected swath of next-gen services from Sitecore AI, powered by Microsoft Azure. That means that customers should be able to take advantage of the huge scale and power of the Microsoft Machine learning / AI offering alongside a seamless Sitecore integration. For existing Sitecore customers we hope it will open up new levels of personalisation potential.

I think everyone appreciates the fact that delivering highly personalised experiences is a huge effort. Hopefully, Sitecore AI might ease the effort for marketers although it will never become a silver bullet. You still need to provide variations of relevant content for something like this to have an impact.

Steven Aneel Hasz-Singh, Global Sitecore Director, Valtech.

Whatever your Sitecore experience, regardless of the version you are on or how mature your project is, as a global Sitecore partner with hundreds of implementations under our belts, Valtech has the experience, expertise and ambition to make sure you are exceeding customer expectations, time and time again.

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