A Multichannel Identity Crisis: How to Solve Your User Matching Problems

Did you know that almost half (48%) of page views are anonymous? I suppose this wouldn’t be so concerning if it didn’t result in 13% anonymous purchases. If only online shopping were simple and mandated that users login and only had one account, this problem would be solved, unfortunately for us, this isn’t the world we live in. So how do we encourage more logins?

You could do what Priceline.com did and run a TV ad saying, “If you don’t sign-in you’ll die”, but I’m inclined to think this might be too racy for many of you. That said, they made their point, and if you do sign-in, not only will you not ‘die’ but you’ll also get a better deal.

Here are some ideas for how to increase your logins and simultaneously enhance your personalization capabilities.

Start with the 4 P’s:

  1. Product: Provide better products or features to those who login. Amazon, Wine.com, Nordstrom, Williams-Sonoma, JCPenney and many others provide product recommendations pages that are much more relevant when you are logged in.
  2. Placement: Provide personalized features in all channels including desktop web, mobile web, email, mobile app and mobile app used in-store.
  3. Price: Offer better prices or relevant discounts when logged in.
  4. Promotion: Personalize coupons, special offers and discounts. Starbucks’ mobile app is a great example. Still, many users won’t login until just before purchasing. Two ways to get the most from personalization for users who aren’t logged-in are:
    1. Soft logins: This is when a user logs-in on a device, the retailer writes their user ID to a first-party cookie, the user logs out, and the retailer continues to use their user ID for the current and subsequent visits. Many retailers put a time limit on the cookie, such as 14 days between logins.
    2. Provisional user ID: A temporary ID whose behavioral history is copied to a user profile when the user eventually does login. RichRelevance can use our third-party cookie IDs or a retailer’s session ID as the provisional ID.

User matching comes in many shapes and sizes, the complexities of data and channels have created an entirely new obstacle for retailers and brands to overcome. Some select flavors include multiple accounts per user, matching in-store and web shoppers, cross-device and cross-brand matching. While the user matching hurdle might seem unattainable, trust me it’s not. There are many ways to not only combat the user matching problem, but to also make great use of the surplus of data that becomes available with a multitude of users even if they’re the same person.
To learn more about how you can start matching users and creating more robust and complete shopper profiles download our latest white paper, The 5 Types of User Matching Challenges and How to Solve Them.

*RichRelevance analysis of 3.7 billion page views across a dozen countries on 100 of the largest websites using RichRelevance technology

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This post was written by Doug Bryan

ABOUT Doug Bryan
Doug Bryan leads the data science services practice at RichRelevance. Prior to joining RichRelevance he was the VP of Analytics at iCrossing/Core Audience, a digital ad agency and DMP owned by Hearst. Earlier roles include co-founder of paid search auto-bidder startup OptiMine; technical director at KXEN, specializing in customer lifecycle management applications of predictive analytics; product recommendations team lead at Amazon.com; manager at Accenture’s Center for Strategic Technology Research, and research staff and lecturer in computer science at Stanford University.
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