Demystifying Personalization: A Look at Product Recommendations and Content Personalization

December 8, 2020

With the holiday season upon us, many of us will be hitting Amazon to pick up some bargains. In doing so, have you noticed that they have an almost supernatural way of understanding your wants and desires? On top of helping to deliver world-class CX, this helps them drive conversion rates that are the envy of the industry. However, the good news is that you don’t need to be Jeff Bezos to provide this kind of individualized experience to your customers. Thanks to modern technology platforms, this level of personalization has been democratized to any online retailer.

In this blog, I want to drill down into personalization, which is the practice of creating personal interactions and experiences for existing and prospective customers through the use of digital marketing technologies, and try and demystify it a little for you. At a high level, online personalization can be grouped into two main areas: product recommendations and content personalization.

Let’s look at these in a bit more detail.

Product Recommendations

One of the most proven techniques for improving add-to-cart rates and revenue per session is to provide relevant and personalized product recommendations. You can personalize or recommend products across all your channels: in-store, online, via email, in the call center or on mobile applications. Although this may seem highly complicated at first, it is actually easier to implement than you might think.

product recommendations personalization monetate

The key to this is to let technology take the reins when deciding which recommendations to show to each user. You can do this by ensuring you select an auto-optimizing recommendations platform that has a proven track record of driving increased sales performance for many other companies. Look for a platform that is able to personalize based on an individual user’s previous behavior, as this will allow you to maximize the potential of product recommendations.

Another desired capability of the platform is to ensure the recommendations are easy to deploy without too much need for technical skills. If you can use WYSIWYG tools to deploy recommendations containers quickly and easily, you can put this power into the hands of marketers and merchandisers and speed up the time to value.

Content Personalization

The other key area of personalization involves matching any aspect of the online experience to the individual user. This should be based on anything that is known about that user, such as their gender or location.

It is not necessary to provide a different individual experience for every customer; the key is to have a number of options available and then to let an AI-driven personalization platform decide which option to show each customer based on the learning the platform has gained about similar people.

The data gathered about customers could come from a number of sources—including what we know about them from their visit, previous behavior on the site, and also additional 1st or 3rd party data about customers (e.g., segments from a Customer Data Platform (CDP) or details from a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.)

I cannot emphasize enough that, with the right platform, it need not feel like a science project to achieve this level of personalization. For example, if you find yourself in the position of not being sure which creative to use for a particular onsite campaign, you could let the right personalization platform make this decision for you and serve the option each customer is most likely to engage with instead of basing it off of gut feelings.

At Kibo, we have seen some great examples of engagement and conversion uplifts for our customers who use this tactic.


My key takeaway for you is that personalization does not need to be reserved for the Amazons of the world. Platforms such as Kibo Personalization, powered by Monetate and Certona, make it exceptionally easy for anyone to get started on their personalization journey.

As a quick guide, when choosing your platform, look for the following capabilities:

  • All your personalization needs in one platform—1:1 personalization of content and product recommendations.
  • Easy to use. Ensure it is a marketer’s and merchandiser’s dream to use.
  • Be able to utilize customer data from your own 1st and 3rd party sources.
  • Built-in and proven AI. So you don’t have to worry about the data science.

So what is stopping you? Get on the road to personalization now. You won’t regret it!

This post was written by Darren Ward, Sr. Sales Engineer and Personalization Specialist, Kibo