Enjoying the personal touch

by Kellie White, Head of UX @ ClearPeople

20/01/2015  

Profile

  • Name: Kellie White
  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 35 – 45
  • Marital status: Single 
  • Geographic location: London Borough of Barnet
  • Taste: Interesting, on-trend, glamorous 
  • Needs: Inspiration, validation, admiration
  • Willing to pay: £100 - £150

The Story

Today is the day! I have saved for this day, fantasised about this day and looked forward to it for months. Oh yes, today is the day that I find those drop dead January bargains. The kind that leave me reeling with delight, wondering why on earth I ever buy anything full-price? Ladies and gentlemen, today I am hitting the high street in a big way, actually more like the Westfield… I have an A-lister event coming up and I need to look the part.

shops 2

Firstly, I need a coffee. I head over to my local caffeine pusher. They know me by my painful, unmoving regulatory of choice. Coffee is one of those things that people like a certain way isn't it and don't like it any other? Personally I like it flat white and skinny, not too big, not too small - just right. I don't want a caramel-vanilla shot do I, vile and sickly-sweet. Neither do I want to be offered a cup of tea, I'd recoil in horror, never to return. All I am here for is a few pleasantries, to get my hit, pay and leave, with all my expectations met in that first sip. It's a relationship that's established, trusted and loyal, and I love it!

I'm discovering though, as I heave through the writhing mass of Saturday sale shoppers that clothes shopping is not quite the same! No one knows me well enough to fulfil my desires as soon as I walk in the door. In fact as I contemplate, no one offers me that kind of service apart from my friend Amanda who has introduced me to many of my best buys. “Jacket meet Kellie, Kellie meet jacket” she sings, as she holds it up to me with her knowing smile. I gaze at the creation, eyes glittering as much as the lapel. She’s so unbelievably good at finding those hidden gems, the things that I'd walk straight past.

Amanda is a fashion buyer, she understands it and knows it inside out. All the body shapes, the lumps and bumps and the lines and cuts to make them work. Most importantly she knows me, my personality and my style. She knows I love a jumpsuit, a bit of glam-rock and that I fantasise about wearing the softest pimped-up leopard print coat. Where is she on a day like today though, when I need her solid, good judgement as I stumble clumsily through piles of clothes and multiple fluorescent changing rooms, swimming in angora, chintz and faux-fur?

shops 3

And then, just as I am about to lose my cool and post a number of selfies on Facebook for advice, he appears at my side, cool, elegant and in complete control. I hold fire on the posts, as he lifts up a panné velvet number in black with a slight shimmer of snakeskin and I instantly fall… Not for him, no way! A man with that much inside knowledge is not to be trusted, but I definitely have my dress and as you've guessed, it fits like a dream at half the price, yes please!

Next he's gliding me along effortlessly matching earrings, heels and a clutch. This guy’s unbelievable, a perfect match for Amanda and as I am pondering ways of chance encounters, he leads me swiftly to the till, flashes me a devilish smile, slips me a card and exits. All the card says is ‘Thanks for shopping with us today. Why not try our online stylist next time? We’re sure you’ll be just as pleased.’

What, seriously, will it ever be that good and easy? I’m not sure but if they hired him they must know what they’re doing right? And I can’t deal a minute longer with these crowds. What a breeze, I walk out the door a happy lady and have all I need to make that impression! 

The facts

Getting the things we want and need easily are great, aren’t they? Just like my regular morning coffee and finding that fabulous, (virtually free) frock. I am super pleased when I’m presented with the things that I want without much effort because there is so much these days, an overabundance of choice, far too much information and I’m very thin on the time to digest it all.

That’s where personalisation can help and has been helping for quite some time in our online experiences. It’s all about getting the things that we need without looking too hard, with the aim of saving time and effort - it’s that simple.

Now imagine an online experience that you’re creating in which you’d like to apply the same principles. How would you know what the different types of people are who visit your site? My bet is you’d start by meeting and talking to them and asking lots of questions. In this way you’d get a good understanding of their likes and dislikes, how they behave and interact, and what they’re trying to achieve. You’d start to see similarities and differences, you’d start to organise them into groups based on buckets of similarity. Each one of these groups become what is called a persona, which is an archetypal user of the site. There are usually around 5 to 6 personas in a site, which are real users because you’ve done your research.

After this groundwork is done you’ll be in a much stronger position to work with your users in more realistic goal-focused ways, to create optimum user journeys based on their needs. With these ingredients and the right people to bring their stories and your story to life, you’re in exactly the right place to increase audience engagement by grabbing their attention with focused messages that are quick to inform, and relevant.

Working with a provider who understands segmentation empowers marketing teams to analyse and respond to their users’ demands in new and innovative ways. The analysis doesn’t stop there though, it’s important to continuously test new content and your personas so that engagement strategies can be fine-tuned, to give your users a better experience every time they come to your site.


Images courtesy of Paul Townsend and Nani Puspasari