Google is killing off cookies, Apple has disabled app tracking, and more and more consumers are opting out of tracking of any kind. For marketers, the release of this news seemed like the beginning of the end. In the same breath that consumers have demanded better experiences and more tailored recommendations, they have removed brands’ primary methods of delivering personalization.
In reality, these changes are an opportunity for brands to skip the shortcuts of following consumers around the internet, and instead focus on developing experiences that consumers enjoy and relationships where they are willing to share data to gain access to better recommendations. Better experiences will deliver higher conversion rates, fewer returns, and greater lifetime value. So how do marketers start building these experiences?
Personalization has been a hot topic among marketers for a number of years, however many of the tactics used in personalization exacerbated poor customer experiences as opposed to delivering value. Those bad experiences do more than annoy customers too; 63% of consumers indicated that they would stop shopping with a brand who used poor personalization tactics. Thinking about blasting every user who visits your website with a generic email? Maybe hold off. Instead, build something that provides an incentive for visitors to open the conversation with your brand, initiating a value exchange that is more likely to end with a sale as opposed to an unsubscribe.
3D configurators are immersive experiences that bring shoppers into the design process, allowing them to build a product unique to their needs, even if it is built from your stock options. The value added by the process of customizing a product is well documented, and closely linked to how humans determine value in many aspects of life. Items that are given a sense of ownership by a customer will become more valuable, and the desire to have and showcase the item increases with the amount of time the user spends customizing. In terms of sales, this connection is a strong signal for conversion, but it is also an opportunity for brands to further that customer relationship, and capture actionable data that can be attributed back to the specific buyer.
Let’s look at an example; Arrow Motorcycles offers a 3D configurator on their site, allowing customers to select options for everything from the handlebars to the exhaust style, and that’s before they get to the colors. Chris comes to the site as he is thinking about buying a motorcycle. He has seen plenty of models, but nothing has struck him as HIS bike. As he explores the Arrow site, he finds that the styles offered are similar to what he is looking for, and he is intrigued by their many options that he can customize his bike with. Chris spends the next 10 minutes combining colors, styles, accessories, and logos until he has his perfect bike. Arrow has designed their site so that users are able to save and share their configurations to an account by linking them to an email. Chris is not ready to pull the trigger yet, but he wants to show his friends and family what he designed, so he creates an account that he can come back to. Arrow now has the ability to communicate with Chris with regard to a specific product that he is interested in, opening the door for a personalized offer, recommendations on accessories for the bike he designed, and even financing information. Both sides are more satisfied with the experience and the derived value than if Arrow had tracked Chris using cookies hoping that he would convert.
The value of data collected by 3D configurators is not limited to the specific user who configures a product; brands can use the choices made and discarded by consumers when using the configurator to make product design and planning decisions. Popular color combinations, the most frequent model purchased, and combinations of accessories paired together or with a specific model are all data points that Arrow could use to improve their experience and their products. If red is a popular color across the industry, but few of Arrow’s customers choose it after seeing it on the model, perhaps they need to revisit the shade of red they offer. On a more positive note, perhaps they notice that the majority of consumers who upgrade the wheels also choose a certain style of seat and other select upgrades. Arrow could offer these options as a specialty trim, tailored to the buyers who are looking for those extra touches on the bike.
The ways in which brands are able to offer personalization to consumers are changing, but the value that can be generated through new methods and an increased focus on improving the overall experience mean that the loss of tools such as cookies and app tracking should not mean the end of personalized marketing. Brands have new opportunities to engage their customers in engaging ways, and they should be excited to take that next step.
Want to learn more about how 3D configuration can contribute to your personalization strategy? Get in touch with a visual expert today!