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Predictive personalization for Home & Furniture companies

Content marketing works. The right content strategy guides your visitors through the sales funnel without making them feel like you’re pitching. Your customer controls what pieces of content they interact with, while you enjoy the climb in conversion rate.

Don’t take my word for it - websites which implement content marketing are experiencing an average conversion rate of 2.9%, compared to a 0.5% conversion rate of websites without a content strategy. That's nearly a 6x increase. However, this conversion rate comes at a cost. As you look at well-orchestrated content marketing campaigns from top retailers, you may wonder - how do you work your existing content to get more revenue from it? (Hint: it’s not distribution, it’s data).

Put another way, how could marketers harvest potential interest before visitors are ready to purchase? How could we turn the intent signals generated through reading articles and watching videos into behavioral campaigns that generate revenue?

Let’s walk through 3 examples of how predictive marketing tactics would drive revenue via ecommerce content.

Use Case 1 - The Home Depot

The Home Depot is known for being the go-to place for DIY projects as well as serious construction. Their website facilitates ordering tools and supplies for delivery, while also providing a helpful resource library of instructional videos and info for DIY projects. Some examples:

  • Under the tab "DIY Projects and Ideas," visitors can view an assortment of different instructional pages for a variety of projects both indoor and outdoor - appliance selection tips, how to build a fence, and even basic tasks like caulking. 
  • Check out the page, "Bath Projects." Once there, visitors can select specific projects and tips related to a bathroom.  In the "How to Caulk," page, visitors can watch a how-to video to see how caulking should properly be done, and then scroll down to easily view what supplies are needed for the project. Instructions are clearly outlined step-by-step, with a picture for every step. It’s an undaunting way of setting up a visitor for a successful project - without ever having to leave home.

Home Depot DIY Page.png

The Home Depot's "How to Caulk" Instructional

Content prospecting is definitely an aspect of The Home Depot’s marketing agenda. Browsing the "DIY Projects and Ideas," section doesn’t feel like pitching to the visitor. A visitor could convert or leave, all the more grateful to the Home Depot for demystifying a project.

What If?

The Home Depot could harvest (at scale) the vast amount of intent data that such (engaging) content produces. We’re talking valuable interest data. Based on how visitors engage (and don’t engage), a marketer can anticipate the triggers that will be effective once the visitor is considering a purchase. Here are some ideas on how The Home Depot could potentially leverage the data to turn initial engagement into (later) revenue.

  • Collect and store data. First, let’s store every interaction by a visitor to understand their behavior. Imagine that we’re collecting data from the "DIY Projects and Ideas," page instructing to "How to Caulk." Based on a visitor journey and via predictive modeling, we can tell that a visitor is highly engaged with the Bath Projects section of the website in a marketer quantified way - they’ve watched at least 2 videos covering How to Caulk, and Caulk and Sealant, over the last week and are predicted to browse caulking supplies in the future.
  • Create visitor segments. Using a platform like Intempt, where we blend past behavior (fact) and future behavior (predicted), we can specify a target group. For example, we create a segment that contains visitors who have watched Caulking videos at least 2 times (behavioral property Count of) after browsing the "Bath Projects " section (behavioral property Has Done), and are predicted to not add a product to the cart (predictive property Will Not Do Add To Cart).

Home Depot Segment-1.png

Creating a segment inside the Intempt Platform

  • Set up a notification campaign to target currently active visitors from our target segment with notifications at key drop-off points. In this example, a visitor may not get into the segment on their first visit of the “Bathroom Projects” section. They might make it after a few visits. What happens after? If they return to the store area and browse supplies, they meet a trigger event (for a campaign) which gets the notification out. Here’s what it could look like:

 

Home Depot Store.png

Simulated Scenario - Predictive Notification

 

Home Depot Store zoomed.pngZooming In

 Why this notification at this time?

Because the visitor’s past browsing behavior, purchase behavior, and their current context is indicative of what will happen:

  • They watched 2 caulking videos, so we use the suggestion for caulking supplies in the notification to cater to visitor's interests.
  • They have browsed the Bath Ideas section, indicating there may be an interest in bathroom remodeling supplies, so we suggest to pair the current items.
  • The platform predicted that the visitor is not going to add an item to the cart (Will Not Do Add to Cart predictive property), so the “Free Shipping” offer appears to encourage the visitor to proceed with a purchase.

Keep in mind, this isn’t blanket targeting that clutters the experience. The visitor is not exposed to a wide range of climbing pros. They are targeted with a personalized message based on the project with which they display an interest. Additionally, they are offered a shipping promotion since the visitor is predicted to not add these items to the cart based on their browsing behavior, and potentially (the model knows) their past purchasing behavior.

 

Use Case 2  - Pottery Barn Kids

Pottery Barn Kids (commonly known as PBK) invests in the "Tips and Ideas" article section that houses their content strategy. They want to inspire their visitors instead of simply being a thin veil to their commerce. The articles often (but not always) link back to the store, and offer great inspiration and tips for selecting the best product. Also of note, Pottery Bark Kids and PB Teen both fall under the umbrella of the well known Pottery Barn; all of the domains are listed for ease of cross brand referrals. 

 

PBK Home Page.png

PBK Tips and Ideas Page.png

PBK Tips and Ideas

What If?

As with The Home Depot, Pottery Barn Kids' vast content library indicates a rich trove of useful interest data that will dictate our segment membership, campaign qualification, a trigger event, and eventual notification. No more data being lost in the ether - up to 10 domains can be linked with the Intempt technology - we’re going to use it to create a richer customer intent profile. Here’s how I would turn the interest generated during the engagement period into purchase:

  • Keep collecting the data. Exploring customer behavior through data may tell us that existing customers were inclined to make a purchase after browsing a certain number of related pages, on any linked domain. First, let’s identify the shared visitors of our three domains, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teen, and Pottery Barn. Using a platform like Intempt, we store every interaction by specifying a tracker for all 3 domains. In this way, we can understand all visitor behavior, and leverage the data in the future campaign.

PBK Linked Domains Tracker.png

  • Let’s go back to segments - We estimate that visitors drop off without a purchase after viewing around 5 pages (each visitor views roughly 5 pages per visit), so we segment our visitors as narrowly as possible based on their activity over one or more web sessions, and we put any visitor on PBK who, after viewing 3 desk furniture pieces, and then reads the article, "5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Desk," will fall into our segment.
  • Follow with the campaign. We set “Visits Pottery Barn Kids furniture” 3 times (behavioral property Count of), "Visits Tips and Ideas" one time (Behavioral Property Has Done) and is not predicted to add to cart (predictive property Will Not Do Add To Cart), as the trigger events in the segment that will elicit our personalized notification. If a visitor on Pottery Barn Kids falls into this segment, they are qualified to see the following notification regarding best sellers from Pottery Barn, to encourage a purchase of a desk from either Pottery Barn domain: 

 PBK Desk final.png

Simulated Scenario - Predictive Notification

 

PBK Desk final zoomed.png

Zooming In

 

Why this notification at this time?

Because the visitor’s past browsing and purchasing behavior and their current context is indicative of what will happen:

      • The visitor has engaged with at least 3 pages of furniture;
      • The visitor has expressed deep interest by looking in the content section "Tips and Ideas;"
      • The platform predicted that a visitor was inclined to drop without adding an item to the cart, so a cross-brand referral link appears, encouraging the visitor to see best selling items.

Use Case 3 - World Market

World Market are pros at using content as a way to guide their users though the sales funnel. First of all, their content section called "Inspiration," is a gem for anyone looking for a little guidance to make their space their own - it provides tutorials, recipes, and beautiful photos of room decor and arrangement ideas. 

The "Shop by Room" section is an example of how to help consumers move themselves further along in the sales funnel. The section offers an array of different rooms, and once one room is selected, a variety of rich photos showcasing the different way in which the room can be decorated and furnished, with the elemental decor clearly listed below each photo. This helps visitors feel like they’re in control of the purchase process. Visitors set the pace at which they move from the research phase to purchase phase. Great reminder that content doesn’t always need to be text-based; providing high-quality interactive images is appropriate for a buyer that cares about seeing an example of how the details can be pulled together in the finished product.

World Market Inspiration Page.png

World Market "Inspiration" Content

What If?

A working mom is planning a fun Halloween party, so she jumps on World Market to look for some seasonal inspiration. She would rather look online than deal with the kids while in the store. The mom's journey begins in the "Lookbook," section, where she clicks on the "Halloween Lookbook."  As previously mentioned, the visuals that show the finished product shape our segment, campaign, trigger event, and notification plan. Here’s how I would increase the odds of converting first-time visitors who may be new to entertaining at home:

  • It’s data time!  
  • Create a special place for those visitors - segment them. For this segment, we are focusing on first-time or returning visitors who haven’t made a purchase or added products to the cart, but consumed a certain amount of "Lookbooks," visual guides, and looked at any number of decorative items AND serving items.
  • Keep Campaigning. Now, a trigger event may be the absence of it.  In our case, when items are reviewed, but nothing is added to cart, we know it’s our time to shine and send a notification. Many outcomes are possible for this campaign. Let’s focus on leading a new visitor to "Recipes" blog. We lead them to see how that item can be used, and provide other ingredients that would make a Halloween Party that much better.

Wold Market Halloween.png

Simulated Scenario - Predictive Notification

 

Wold Market Halloween zoomed.png

Zooming In

Why this notification at this time?

  • The visitor was qualified for a segment by viewing at least 3 Halloween decoration items, including on serving item - yes, it’s that specific.
  • The platform predicted that visitor may not be finding their perfect item and would likely bounce. To lower bounce rate, a link to a visual guide appears - this is engagement.

As of right now, World Market offers a 50% discount for rugs to every online visitor. Instead of offering this discount to just anyone - which wastes time, budget and effort on people who are not in the market for a full on furniture spree - why not send a more targeted message that is likely to encourage a window shopper to convert into a purchaser? This is truly effective engagement. These notifications effectively promote, and we know (through visitor journey analytics) that engagement of this sort is a precursor to revenue. More on visitor journey analytics in this post!

Final thoughts

Identity is core to marketing. An ability to collect and understand a visitor’s browsing patterns is a prerequisite to make predictions about their future behavior. It enables you to know the customer more intimately, and to anticipate their needs. Intempt is a product designed to help every company be smarter with their consumers. Given our investment in big data, predictive modeling and notification based marketing, and high-touch customer service, we are uniquely committed to deliver AI that transforms the customer experience.