Published: 27 June 2017
Implementing personalisation on your site is an exciting step...and in my opinion it’s my favourite element of my job. However, you do need to consider that there are some steps that you need to take to ensure that it works.
Personalisation - The Challenge
Be prepared - It’s difficult.
It’s not difficult from a technological point of view but a content management perspective.
You need to embark on this journey with your eyes wide open. Before you used to only have to consider one page of content for the home page, but if you want to personalise you need multiple pages of content for each personalisation strategy that you have. It escalates quickly.
The mythical ‘Phase 2’ or Phase 3
We always say (and we hear it a lot) that we will implement the personalisation strategy once the website is live. However the problem is it often never happens….so how do we get you there? What steps do you need to take?
How much should you personalise?
You simply need to personalise ‘just enough’ to make a difference and make the user feel nurtured.
Personalising customer experiences, whether on your website, in an email push, or a social media campaign, requires you to deliver content that takes into account the context of customers’ current and previous brand interactions.
SO the prerequisites, what are they?
OMS/DMS/XDB - You need to ensure that this is enabled (this may need additional servers for Mongo DB as you need to be able to store the data that is generated - which could incur an additional cost).
A great blog has been written by Jamie, our Lead Client Side Developer on the Basic Sitecore setup can be read here: /blog/basic-sitecore-architecture-infographic
What is Mongo DB?
“Sitecore 7.5 introduced MongoDB as the main datastore for the Sitecore® Experience Database™ (xDB). Sitecore xDB allows organisations to collect all of their customer interactions from all channels to create a comprehensive, single view of the customer that allows marketers to better optimise the customer experience in real-time.
In xDB, the collection database acts as a central repository for storing contact, device, interaction, history and automation data. An optimal collection database configuration helps organisations increase the availability, scalability, and performance of their Sitecore deployments.
With MongoDB, companies can ingest, store, and analyse varied data from billions of visits with ease. MongoDB scales horizontally across commodity servers, allowing customers to cost-effectively grow their deployments to handle increasing data volumes or throughput.”
What happens if you don’t have MongoDB?
Don’t panic, there will still be some features that will work - but you will not get the full experience.
You will be able to personalise based on current user activity, for example based on the user’s location (GEO IP) or if a particular Goal has been triggered on site.
What you can’t personalise is the trailing visitor information, for example what they have previously purchased or their Engagement Value’. Effectively anything that you would like to personalise in the long term...will need Mongo DB.
Ideally your site needs to have been built inline with Habitat, which follows the Helix development principles suggested by Sitecore. If this has been followed then you will know that you need to have the following:
Components. You need components (if not you need to personalise the whole page, rather than individual components).
Display Components & Data sources
Display Components must accept data sources, as Content sources need to exist for personalised component
Goals need to be defined and implemented.
Profiles and Personas
Profiles and Personas need to be defined and implemented.
An audit of your site can be carried out to ensure that Personalisation can take place, please get in contact with us to find out more!
You should be aware that to personalise by location (Geo IP) and or device on Sitecore, you will need to purchase nominal credits from Sitecore’s App Centre. Don’t forget that Sitecore’s App Centre uses Silverlight, so you will need to use Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari to access it.
Want to know more?
Check out my latest Sitecore webinar on the Path to Personalisation below or give me a call on 01233 467800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, Id love to hear from you!