How to create a personalized customer experience (in 5 steps)

Katie Leask

Aug 15, 2023

Katie Leask

Aug 15, 2023

Today’s customers expect a cohesive experience throughout all their interactions with a brand. 

Whether it’s a website visit, marketing email, push notification, or any other customer interaction — companies that want to thrive in this hyper-competitive online landscape must find ways to tie every customer touchpoint into a smooth journey.

This is where personalization comes in.

Personalizing your customers’ experience — by delivering tailored content, messaging, and product recommendations at every stage of the customer journey — can help you improve acquisition costs, conversions, and customer loyalty.

However, true personalization can be incredibly difficult to achieve

Brands today use a plethora of solutions to communicate with customers, keep a record of interactions with them, and automate campaigns. This creates data silos and requires companies to invest in expensive integrations if they want to create cohesive omnichannel experiences.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to overcome these challenges to create a truly personalized experience for every one of your customers. In this guide, we’ll:

Table of Contents
  1. What is a personalized customer experience? (and its benefits)

  2. A 5-step framework for delivering a truly personalized customer experience

  3. Real-life examples of brands that deliver personalized customer experiences

  4. Personalize every step of your customers’ experience with Insider

We’ll use Insider — our cross-channel personalization platform — to show how you can put the strategies we’ve listed into practice.

Insider can help you build consistent, personalized journeys across all touchpoints customers have with your brand—from your website and mobile app to channels like email, SMS, and WhatsApp. Visit our website or schedule a demo with our team to learn more.

What is a personalized customer experience? (and its benefits)

A personalized customer experience is achieved when every touchpoint in a customer’s journey — like your website, emails, push notifications, social media ads, or chatbot interactions — is tailored to their unique needs, interests, and preferences.

McKinsey’s research shows that 71% of consumers expect personalized experiences and that companies that grow faster drive 40% more of their revenue from personalization than their slower-growing competitors. In short, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach in today’s online world, and personalization is an expectation, not a nice-to-have.

Delivering truly personalized experiences requires brands to:

  • Show relevant content, messaging, and product recommendations to each customer.
  • Communicate with each customer on their preferred channels and at their preferred times.

This can be a very difficult task, as today’s customers use a plethora of communication channels and platforms to interact with brands. For example, some might use mobile-first channels like mobile apps, SMS, and WhatsApp, while others prefer the more traditional website and email.

Due to this complexity, companies that want to deliver a personalized experience across all touchpoints have to either:

Regardless of the specific setup, brands that consistently deliver personalized customer experiences see massive benefits due to:

  • Lower friction. When the entire journey is tailored to them, customers don’t have to wonder what to do, where to click, or how to find the product they want. This massively reduces friction, resulting in a smoother experience and higher customer satisfaction.
  • Higher trust and engagement. Providing only relevant content, messaging, and product recommendations shows that you understand customers’ needs and value their time. As a result, customers are more likely to stick with your brand long-term and continuously engage with your messages.
  • Higher conversion rates and revenue. This is a direct consequence of the previous two benefits. As you lower the friction and build more trust with customers, conversion rates and revenue naturally increase, helping you maximize your marketing efforts and budget.

A 5-step framework for delivering a truly personalized customer experience

Before we dive into the steps, note that you’ll need two prerequisites before you can start building and implementing a personalization strategy:

  1. Reliable customer data. For most brands, this data is stored in channel-specific marketing tools, analytics software, customer survey solutions, customer data platforms (CDPs), and so on.
  2. A basic understanding of your customers’ expectations, journeys, and roadblocks. This should be relatively straightforward if you’re running customer surveys and using analytics tools to understand how customers interact with your brand.

If you’re just starting out and don’t have enough customer data, you can start by developing customer personas. Then, you can run some experimental campaigns and surveys to see if your assumptions about customers match up with reality.

Step #1: Aggregate your customer data

Like all other marketing activities, successful personalization relies on customer data. Specifically, you need to know:

  • Who your customers are — their names, contact information, and relevant demographic data.
  • How they interact with your brand — which channels (or combinations of channels) they prefer and what times of the day or week they engage with your messages.
  • The products or services that interest them — which categories they browse, which products they add to their carts, and what they’ve already bought.

For most brands, this data is siloed off in disconnected systems, like customer relationship management systems (CRMs), email marketing software, SMS marketing tools, survey platforms, content management systems (CMSs), and so on. This forces brands to set up complex integrations to get an accurate view of the customer journey.

A better way to start the personalization process is to aggregate your customer data into a CDP.

CDPs combine customer data from multiple sources into a single database. Companies use them to overcome data silos and get unified profiles of each individual customer that serve as a foundation for their personalization efforts.

For example, Insider’s Actionable CDP can aggregate customer data from any online or offline source — including CRMs, CMSs, analytics tools, survey software, in-store point-of-sale (POS) devices, APIs, and many more.

As a result, you get unified, 360-degree profiles of all your customers that contain invaluable data like:

  • Their names and contact information.
  • The channels they use to interact with your brand.
  • Their average order value (AOV), lifetime value (LTV), conversion rates per channel, and other key metrics.
  • Their full browsing and purchase history with your brand, including their last browsed and abandoned products, their last purchased items, and the events they triggered on your site or app.
  • Survey answers, CRM IDs, and much more.
Insider Unified Customer Profile

With your data in place, you can zoom out for a high-level view of your entire customer base. For example, the screenshot below shows an Audience Analytics dashboard in Insider with information about the number of known and unknown users, their reachability per channel, and more. 

Insider Audience Analytics

With Insider, you can build similar dashboards with any data and metrics that are relevant to your brands, including deliverability, open rates, conversion rates, revenue, AOV, and LTV.

Step #2: Segment your customer base

Market segmentation is the process of grouping customers together based on shared characteristics and behaviors. It’s a natural next step after you’ve consolidated your customer data, as it lets you home in on the right groups of customers for your marketing efforts.

With Insider, you can start by choosing from a list of automatically created predefined audiences.

Insider predefined audiences

As you can see above, you can easily target customers who:

  • Made a purchase during a specific period of time.
  • Abandoned an item in their cart.
  • Abandoned a product page.
  • Signed into your website.
  • Interacted with your brand on a channel.
  • Installed or uninstalled your mobile app at a specific time.

You can then combine those audiences with over 120+ standard attributes like users’ locations, devices, and operating systems to create more precise segments. 

Lastly, Insider also lets you use the power of artificial intelligence (AI) by targeting customers based on their:

  • Likelihood to purchase or churn.
  • Discount affinity.
  • Projected CLTV.
  • And much more.
Insider predictive audiences

This combination of standard and AI-powered audiences makes it easy to create targeted customer segments for all your marketing and personalization efforts.

Step #3: Reach customers at the right touchpoints, at the right time

Once you have a clear understanding of your customers’ behaviors, you need the ability to reach them on their preferred channels at the times they’re most likely to engage with your brand. 

That’s why we’ve made sure Insider supports lots of established and emerging channels, including:

  • WhatsApp.
  • Online ads.
  • Email and SMS.
  • Push notifications.
  • Websites and mobile apps.
  • And more.
Channels that Insider omnichannel marketing automation support

Thanks to this broad channel support, you can use our platform to reach customers on any touchpoint. And as we said earlier, our CDP automatically shows you each customer’s preferred communication channel (or combination of channels).

Additionally, you can also set up cross-channel automations using Architect — our customer journey builder. For example, you can use Architect to send an email to customers who clicked on an online ad without purchasing and follow that up with a web push notification a week later.

Insider's cross-channel journey orchestration

This is controlled via a user-friendly drag-and-drop editor, as shown in the screenshot below.

Insider Architect email SMS automated journey

Just like with the segmentation, Architect also lets you use the power of AI to:

  • Send each message at the most appropriate time. Our Send Time Optimization (STO) feature triggers each journey message based on the recipient’s past behaviors and preferences to guarantee a high likelihood of engagement.
  • Choose the right channels. Our Next-Best Channel Prediction feature automatically decides which touchpoints to try next, e.g., email, SMS, web push, or any other channel you’re using, based on each customer’s preferred channels.
Insider next best channel predictions

Overall, the combination of broad channel support and AI-powered cross-channel automations ensures you’re always reaching customers on the right channels, at the right times.

Step #4: Engage customers with relevant content, messaging, and product recommendations

At this point, you know your customers’ behaviors, interests, and preferences. You also know which channels they like and which times of day they’re most likely to interact with your brand.

The next step is to ensure each message contains relevant content, messaging, and product recommendations. Insider has an extensive suite of personalization tools that can help you do just that.

For example, our AI-powered Smart Recommender lets you deliver tailored product recommendations on any channel, like:

  • Your website and mobile app. With Insider, you can tailor every element of your site or app — including banners, pop-ups, search results, and more — to each customer, which helps you optimize conversion rates and maximize your marketing budget. You can choose from a variety of recommendation strategies, including most popular items, frequently bought together, new products, highly-discounted items, and many more.  
Insider website personalization top picks
  • External touchpoints like email, SMS, push notifications, and WhatsApp. Insider offers a simple drag-and-drop builder for creating personalized messages for all of these channels. This makes it easy to add dynamic elements to any message, like customers’ names, last purchased or abandoned products, items that go well with the ones they just purchased, and more.
Insider email personalization product recommendations

You can use Insider’s settings to easily fine-tune your personalization strategy. For example, you can decide if a product recommendation should appear on your entire site or only on specific pages, like product, category, or cart pages.

Insider personalization strategy setup

Insider also offers a unique tool for driving customer engagement and product discovery: InStory.

InStory lets you add Instagram-like stories to your site or mobile app. These stories contain content and product suggestions that are personalized for each customer who opens them.

For example, a customer who’s interested in sneakers can be shown a story of your new sneaker arrivals, while another customer who’s interested in jackets may be shown jackets that were recently discounted.

Insider InStory mobile stories

For example, Media Prima used InStory to boost their average session duration by 525.71% by showing each user bite-sized content that’s personalized to their interests.

Lastly, Insider can use generative AI to craft engaging copy for your email, SMS, and push notification campaigns.

All you have to do is give it a prompt and our platform’s generative AI (powered by OpenAI) will create the relevant content. For example, you can instruct Insider to:

  • Write a celebratory email for customers on their birthdays.
  • Write targeted push notification copy for customers who have a high discount affinity.
  • Write an SMS message for people who just opted-in to receive SMS communications and have shown interest in a specific product category.

Overall, Insider’s generative AI capabilities and extensive templates can save you tons of time and effort, as you can rely on our platform to do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of creating effective marketing campaigns.

Step #5: Continuously collect data to refine your understanding of the customer experience

Personalization isn’t a one-and-done type of activity. Customers’ preferences and interests change constantly, so it’s essential to keep a pulse on them to guarantee the continued success of your personalization efforts.

Here’s how Insider helps you do that:

First, once our CDP is set up, it constantly gathers data about your customers. This means your 360-degree customer profiles get updated in real-time as people interact with your website, mobile app, and external channels — a process called progressive profiling.

Next, Insider also lets you gather customer feedback through different types of surveys. You can create surveys with one or more questions and select from a variety of question types — single answer, multiple choice, dropdown, and more.

Insider mobile app survey builder

These surveys can be embedded on any page of your site or mobile app. For example, you can have a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey shown to customers immediately after they complete a successful purchase on your mobile app.

Insider NPS survey

And since Insider also supports AMP emails, you can let your customers provide feedback right in the email, without needing to visit your site or app. This reduces friction and increases the number of responders.

Insider AMP email NPS survey

Now that we’ve covered the theoretical framework, let’s see how personalization works in practice. 

Real-life examples of brands that deliver personalized customer experiences

This section will focus on five companies that used Insider to create personalized customer experiences across their websites and mobile apps, as well as channels like email, web push, and SMS.

Note: If you want even more examples of successful personalization, you can browse all the case studies on our site.

How Philips increased their AOV by 35% with on-site personalization

Philips is a Dutch multinational conglomerate that’s a world leader in technology and healthcare.

They used Insider’s personalization suite to improve their results in key areas like:

  • Mobile engagement and conversions: Philips worked with our Account Management team to integrate Insider’s Smart Recommender on their site. This tool delivered relevant product recommendations to each user based on their preferences and past behavioral data, resulting in a conversion rate uplift of 40.11% and generating over 20,000€ of incremental revenue.
 Insider Philips personalized product recommendations
  • AOV: Our team advised Philips to add a Progress Bar to their site that appears whenever a user adds an item to their cart. This bar serves as a reminder to customers of how much more they need to add in order to receive free shipping. After seeing the personalized bar, customers started to engage way more with the site, leading to a 35.17% increase in AOV.
Philips website coupons free shipping progress bar
  • Conversion rates for new visitors: Philips wanted to engage new website visitors with more relevant content from the start. Our team helped them integrate personalized coupon code overlays for new visitors, which brought in a conversion rate uplift of 14.94% on the desktop web and an AOV increase of 10.15% for the mobile web.
Insider Philips personalized website coupon codes

Besides these tactics, Philips also used Insider to add social proof messages, which further increased their AOV and conversion rates. For the full story, you can check out the Philips case study on our site.

How Garanti BBVA boosted log-ins by 21% with personalized user journeys

Garanti BBVA is an integrated financial services group and retail bank that operates in every segment of the banking sector.

They wanted to deliver highly personalized experiences to customers across various digital channels. Insider’s unified-channel approach and segmentation capabilities were an ideal fit for their needs, so they decided to test our platform.

Specifically, Garanti BBVA wanted to engage customers who were over 55 and uncover their most-used transaction items. After consulting with our team, they decided to create a landing page for this target audience and use Insider’s on-site personalization functionalities to personalize it to each customer. 

Garanti BBVA wanted to see how the new personalized landing page would affect the conversion rates for five key events:

  1. Log-in.
  2. Personal Loan Application.
  3. Credit Card Application.
  4. Overdraft Account Opening.
  5. Search Bar Usage.

Based on their comparison with a control group, the new page managed to improve the conversion rates for all five events:

  • Log-in — by 21%.
  • Personal Loan Application — by 502%.
  • Credit Card Application — by 192%.
  • Overdraft Account Opening — by 20%.
  • Search Bar Usage — by 51%.

For more details on Garanti BBVA’s challenges and approach, check out the complete case study.

How HipVan improved conversion rates by 46.7% with personalized cross-channel journeys

HipVan is Singapore’s leading online furniture store that offers stylish designs and quality products at honest prices.

A few years back, they were experiencing high drop-off rates on product pages. Plus, visitors who came to their site from Google Ads would often bounce because they didn’t immediately see the product they were looking for.

Our team suggested HipVan start using Insider’s Smart Recommender to improve product discovery by showing personalized recommendations to every visitor. We also advised them to leverage our built-in A/B testing to identify the most optimal personalization strategies. 

In just a month after implementing these suggestions, HipVan experienced a conversion rate uplift of 6.03%.

Additionally, HipVan wanted to re-engage customers and anonymous visitors at different touchpoints to improve retention rates and brand loyalty. This required them to come up with an effective omnichannel personalization strategy.

With help from our team, they started using Architect to craft personalized journeys across channels like web push, emails, and mobile app push. Overall, these cross-channel campaigns resulted in a conversion rate uplift of 46.7% compared to the sitewide average during the same quarter.

Insider HipVan automated email journeys

If you want to learn more about HipVan’s use case and the benefits they experienced from working with Insider, check out their case study.

How NA-KD increased CLTV by 25% with individualized cross-channel journeys

NA-KD is one of the top 20 fastest-growing fashion brands in Europe.

Before working with Insider, they were facing a common problem among eCommerce organizations: Their tech stack was fragmented.

A combination of point solutions and tools built in-house left their customer data siloed off, which prevented the brand from getting a clear view of the customer journey and creating personalized customer experiences.

As we said earlier, consolidating your customer data is the first step toward successful personalization. That’s why NA-KD turned to Insider to bring their data into a single place to get a clear, 360-degree view of their customers

With the foundation in place, NA-KD started using Architect to revamp their cross-channel marketing efforts with a new data-driven approach. This allowed them to deliver tailored content, messaging, and product recommendations on the channels their customers want to use, including:

  • SMS.
  • Email.
  • Push notifications.
  • And more.
Insider NA-KD cross channel journey

As a result, NA-KD successfully expanded their personalization efforts to five different channels, resulting in a 25% increase in CLTV and a 72x return on investment in the first 12 months of using Insider.

For more details and a video breakdown of NA-KD’s journey, check out their case study.

How Rivièra Maison achieved a 17.08% and a 12.25% uplifts in AOV with website personalization

Rivièra Maison is a global home and interior brand with exclusivity, atmosphere, and service as its core values.

One of their main challenges was product navigation. With a massive product catalog, it was often difficult for users to find what they were looking for quickly and efficiently.

Insider’s AI-powered product recommendations help Rivièra Maison overcome this issue. 

Our platform analyzed different user behavior patterns and started showing personalized product categories to each customer, which made navigation much easier. Plus, Insider also added personalized “Top Searches” to the main navigation. These strategies resulted in a 17.08% increase in AOV.

Rivièra Maison also needed help with encouraging returning website visitors to complete their purchases. 

With help from our team, they created personalized overlays for returning visitors that highlighted their recently viewed products. 

This reduced friction in the shopping process, leading to an additional 12.25% uplift in AOV. In fact, the strategy was so successful that Rivièra Maison added a native “Recently Viewed Products” block to their site.

To learn more about Rivièra Maison and the other Insider capabilities they used, refer to the full case study on our site.

Personalize every step of your customers’ experience with Insider

Insider can tailor every touchpoint of your customers’ journeys — from your website and mobile app to external channels like email, SMS, WhatsApp, and push notifications — to their preferences and interests.

Our platform’s broad channel support helps you save time and resources by consolidating your marketing stack, which is much more efficient than using lots of disconnected systems. Plus, it makes it easy to create and automate cross-channel marketing campaigns.

You can use Insider to:

  • Aggregate all customer data — from analytics tools, customer service solutions, CRMs, APIs, CMSs, and any other online or offline source — into a single database.
  • Get invaluable customer insights into behaviors, interests, and preferred touchpoints.
  • Predict behaviors with our AI-powered intent engine, like how much different segments are projected to spend and how likely they are to buy or churn.

Lastly, our easy channel integrations, experienced customer support team, and vast template library will help you create and implement the right customer personalization strategies for your business in no time.

Click here to book a demo with our team and learn how Insider can help you reach your business goals


Katie is an award-winning content marketer with over seven years of experience in content strategy, development, and copywriting. As Global Content Director at Insider, she currently oversees content strategy across 26 regions. Fun fact: Katie read 64 books last year (for which she owes a long commute and two week-long holidays where she spent approximately six hours a day with her nose in a book).