Over the past year, personalization was a major web buzz word, with companies seeking to better provide consumers with what they want, when they want it. That’s a trend that looks to continue in the coming year, and the way it’s being done is through the use of effective filtering and recommendations.
In the world of e-commerce, recommendation engines have proven effective in providing customers with a general idea of products they might be interested in purchasing. Amazon.com remains the master of this approach.
This form of personalization can be achieved in a number of ways. There is, for example, personalized recommendation, in which products are recommended according to the customer’s past trends; or social recommendations, which are based on the past behavior of similar users.
The increasing prevalence of open data has also led to an increase in the ability to personalize. Because companies are more commonly making their data available on the web, and that data is usually structured, it has become easier for third parties to access and re-use it.
The web itself, in its “2.0″ incarnation, is beginning to take the form of discrete units of information, such as products offerings and store listings; and associated data like reviews, ratings and addresses, moving around the web and being re-purposed wherever and whenever appropriate. These units of information can be reorganized into whichever configuration is most relevant to each individual.
Simply put, the more data an online retailer has about a customer, the better that retailer can target content and products.
Personalization was a key factor in the way companies did business on the web in 2009, particularly those selling products online. All indications point to an even bigger role for personalization in the new year.