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Published: 1st February 2020

1580412199how useful is your personalization

How useful is your current Personalization Tool

Written by: Ken Condon
Read Time : 3 Min | 1509

How useful is your current personalization tool and what do you really know about it?


Recently I was having a coffee on Grafton Street in Dublin with a friend of mine who shall remain unnamed but let’s just say he is an eCommerce nut of 15 years. When he isn’t working on his own site he is giving talks, writing great blogs, or sending me links to the newest coolest AR or AI product that has caught his eye.

On this occasion, it was me that started the conversation on the topic of how useful his current personalization tool was and whether or not he was competent in using it every week.

He actually shrugged his shoulders and said Ken I put recommendation blocks on my home page about 13 months ago and haven’t really done anything with them since.

So 13 months later he is still paying for a tool that he doesn’t understand how to use, has never changed the Algorithm that was put there on day one even though things change in the digital world in a mile second, and starts to complain to me about whether or not it was a great investment

This set my mind racing wondering if this was a similar story across the industry or just an isolated incident. So I decided to survey other eCommerce managers that I knew and of course, sought your help here on Linkedin. I discovered the following  

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The first three questions I asked were basically to find out what people thought about their current tool, the training received, and basically how useful they found the tool each day.

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The results showed that the vast majority of people just used a plug and play and didn’t invest any time into a product that covered more than 30% of space on their site. Also, it's a tool that has the potential to grow your revenue up to 28% but this still doesn’t seem to be a good enough reason to take more control over it.

The second question I asked was whether or not you felt properly trained to use the tool by yourself every day in an attempt to really squeeze your site for sales and also consistently improve your UX. This was a landslide NO vote which showed that training isn’t really a priority out there for Providers and eComm managers don’t feel competent in using the tools. The final question in the first batch also showed that there is an uneasy feeling about actually using the tool with most leaving control slip to a third party.


I then moved to ask questions about how useful their Personalization tool was in the real world of Online Retail. A place where real things happen like the end of line stocks or maybe you would like to really push a certain new brand in every recommendation block this weekend and not interfere with the Machine learning Algorithms. I think the word reactive is something that is missing from the current Personalization industry as too many things have to happen to help you react in the moment. Take a simple Algorithm, can you tell me how quickly you can change it, and yes call the provider, get through, explain your need and then wait until they have a moment or their tech team to action your need Your moment lost.

Or take for instance you need to add a Div container to a certain page. What do you do next ?? call your developer, book in time to lay the code(2,3 days a week maybe ) add the work to the monthly bill 2/300 euro or pounds and then wait for your provider to add the Algorithm (1,2 days ) Your moment lost

So now I wonder when investing in a great Personalisation tool is the speed and accuracy of the Algorithm the most important factor you gauge your final decision on. Should things like usefulness or UI come into the equation at all?

Does the big well-funded brand names cloud your judgment so much that you are too embarrassed to ask for proper training on how to use them or is this just a factor you think your personalization provider will do it for you on a minutes’ notice so you can react in time to an issue?

This is where the little guy inside you says don’t touch what’s not broken and just be grateful with the 10/11% that you are getting from your tools.

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Hence 13 months later my friend is not sure if he is happy with his investment or not as the results are just ok.

So I decided there and then to go looking for a more rounded Personalisation tool that I can actually use every day in my business.

I set about creating my AI Personalization wish list

  • I need to drag and drop Algorithms into my div containers and no need to call my provider. 
  • I need to start predicting what my customers need next rather than just showing them what they previously searched or purchased.
  • I need to drop 5.6.7 different algorithms into the same block rather than just one and conserve space on your page and create the complete personalized journey 
  • I need to merchandise cross-category
  • I need to merchandise a particular product on another particular products page 
  • I would like to add Static end of line stock or new brands into the recommendation block whenever I need to
  • I need Div containers to be laid in under a minute without the help of a developer 

All seems a bit much to ask for but this is actually where AI Personalization has moved in the last 20 years. Do your research look at the latest technology and expect more from AI Personalization.

Here is an image below of Amazon Personalization 20 years ago,,, 

Recognize where your current technology is at?   Name, History, and Similiar Category is old news. Nowadays we can predict what their next purchase it going to be :)



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Want more advice feel free to ask me questions






I am a solution-driven Professional who is skilled in Digital Technology, Project management and Business Development. My professional life...

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