A Birthday Surprise
As I was out shopping for a birthday present this last weekend, I was once again reminded of how the line between digital and physical customer experiences continues to get blurred.
I specifically was at my local Barnes & Noble store, picking up the audio book of Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly which the gift recipient had expressed an interest in listening to.
The checkout process was the normal process: hand the associate the item, scan, price, “Are you a member?”, cash/check/credit, sign here, bag, receipt…but what stood out to me was the last step in the process – the receipt.
The top part of the receipt is your normal, everyday, run-of-the-mill printed receipt – it’s what followed that was so suprising to me: a secondary receipt titled “You may also like:” with recommendations for 5 other titles that Barnes & Noble thinks I’ll be interested in based on my purchase.
What I love most about this is the superior relevance of the recommendations themselves. Based on what I just bought, these recommendations really would be great for me to get the gift recipient, too. What I love next, is the coordination between their website and their point-of-sale (POS) system: these are the exact same recommendations that BN.com has on their product page for Killing Lincoln in a section titled “Customers who bought this also bought“.
Website recommendations like this have been around for years. Some organizations have gone the route of developing their own in-house recommendation engines like Amazon.com. There are also several vendors like RichRelevance, Certona, MyBuys and a long list of others that specialize in personalized recommendation software that you can integrate into your website, emails and other channels. Most often the recommendations are based on collaborative filtering algorithms which in their simplest form use transactional data and website behavioral data to calculate the “People who bought this also bought these” or “People who viewed this also viewed” types of recommendations.
I’m a big fan of using recommendations like this. I’ve worked on projects to incorporate them into the website and into emails, even digital variable direct mail printing, and I’ve seen the engagement and revenue lift from the superior relevance that they bring to the customer experience.
Turning Digital into Physical
This is really the first time I’ve seen the traditionally digital experience of personalized recommendations incorporated into a physical, printed receipt like this, and I think it makes for a very relevant and engaging customer experience.
After all, what better timing to get me to make my next purchase than moments before I walk out the door after my last?
Do you know of another company bringing the digital experience of personalized recommendations into the physical customer experience? If so, please share by commenting below.