Historical personalisation in Sitecore allows you to set personalisation rules based on a visitor’s past behaviour with your website.

Many organisations choose Sitecore as their website platform for its advanced personalisation capabilities – historical personalisation is just one approach.

How does historical personalisation work?

Imagine you're a white goods manufacturer or retailer.

You’re planning to send an email to all your customers who have bought a new washing machine within the last six months with a special offer.

When recipients click on the link in the email, your website needs to identify them as an existing customer who has previously bought a new washing machine from you.

They're probably not looking to buy another washing machine from you. Showing content promoting washing machines, or discount deals will make them regret their purchase.

Instead, your website should show content relating to cleaning and maintenance accessories etc. This content will demonstrate that you know they’re a customer, and offering products or services they might want.

This is historical personalisation.

Personalisation needs to play on people’s emotions, making them feel good about themselves, and your brand.

Why is historical personalisation important?

There’s nothing worse than buying a product or service online, only to return to the same website at a later date and be offered the same product or service. This is a bad customer experience.

This kind of practice makes customers feel unimportant, undervalued, and can be extremely annoying.

New customers are the life-blood of any business – without them, you could fail. And in fact marketing studies, such as Binet and Field, have proven that prioritising the acquisition of new customers over loyalty activity can reap bigger financial reward for brands.

But focusing on new customer acquisition at the expense of existing ones is the road to ruin. Brands need both to survive.

By rolling out the digital red carpet for existing customers, providing them with personalised products, services, and experiences, you can drive up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and turn them into advocates for life – and that in turn drives new customers for you.

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How can I set up historical personalisation in Sitecore?

One of the first steps is to distinguish a new customer from existing ones:

  • Tag the links in the email campaigns you send to existing customers using a unique Sitecore SC_camp tag and use that as the identifier.
  • Use the conversion goal on your website as the trigger to identify and turn a new customer into an existing customer.
  • Ensure Sitecore is synced with your CRM system to determine in real-time if you are dealing with an existing customer.

You could even create a website alias – www.yourwebsite.com/customers – the URL for which is only shared with customers who have already visited your site.

Using Sitecore visitor profiling

Sitecore profiling is an easy way to begin using some of Sitecore’s powerful personalisation features.

By creating visitor profiles, you will be able to serve content to your visitors based on their interest, and of course, their history with you.

As an example, you could:

  • Offer a discount to a visitor who’s managed to add something to their basket but not bought.
  • Push your newest product or service to someone who has visited a similar product or service page or even bought from you.
  • Display your most popular blog post for someone who has visited your blog, or promote blog posts of a similar theme to the one they visited.
  • Offer a cross-sell discount for someone who has previously bought something from you, which will benefit them and enhance their experience of the previous purchase.
Setting up a visitor profile in Sitecore 
Setting up a visitor profile in Sitecore

Whilst at first glance, the process looks complicated, it isn’t. We have helped numerous customers set up visitor profiles in Sitecore to make full use of historical personalisation, and we’d be happy to help you, too.

Learn more about Sitecore personalisation:

Want to know more?

Sitecore is a-powerful digital experience platform that helps you to deliver highly-optimised, personalised experiences that deliver improved marketing and business results.

If you’re thinking about Sitecore as your website platform and you’d like to know more about historical personalisation, we can help.