Starting with a Customer Data Platform (CDP) may sound like a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right preparation, you can ensure a smooth and successful implementation. We hear you thinking: what does that preparation entail? And what does such an implementation process look like anyway? These are all understandable questions, to which we will answer in this blog. For convenience, we have compiled our experiences, success stories, and best tips for you.
How does a CDP implementation process look?
A CDP implementation process consists of a number of phases that follow one another in sequence. In the following paragraphs, we will explain what the phases look like, how you prepare for them, and what you need to pay attention to during the implementation. This way, you can get started in no time.
Step 1. Develop your personalization strategy
Before we actually start the implementation, we always take a look at the personalization strategy first. This strategy tells us what we want to achieve and, accordingly, which data we need. It also helps to stay on track. Once this strategy is on paper, we can really get started.
Step 2. Translate your personalization strategy into use cases
The next step is to translate the personalization strategy into concrete use cases. These use cases are means or implementations to achieve your goal(s). For example, an abandoned cart journey (use case) to improve the conversion rate (goal).
If done correctly, you can (almost) hang every use case on one of the following pillars:
- Acquisition: Attract new customers
- Conversion: Turn visitors into customers
- Retention: Keep customers engaged
- Reactivation: Bring lapsed customers back
Some use cases are very concrete, such as stimulating newsletter signups. Other use cases, on the other hand, remain a bit more abstract. For example, think about recognizing profiles on the site or mapping out favourite product categories.
Do you need help with developing your use cases? Or don’t you know where to start? Then use our handy Success Cases Framework. This framework contains different use cases per pillar, which you can copy one-on-one or use as inspiration to create your own use cases.
Step 3. Determine the right implementation option for data collection
Once your personalization strategy and use cases are concrete, we take a look at the data infrastructure of your platform and channels. This structure determines how the data channels are linked to the CDP. In theory, there are three options that you can use: a plugin, smart tracking, and custom tracking.
Option 1: Use a plugin
With a plugin, you can easily connect your e-commerce platform with the CDP. This will automatically synchronize all the necessary data from your webshop. You only need to manually activate the connection of your email channel.
Spotler Activate offers plugins for multiple platforms, including Shopify, Magento 2, and Lightspeed. If you use a different platform, then smart tracking and custom tracking are suitable alternatives.
Option 2: Use smart tracking
Do or can you not use a plugin, but do you have an enhanced ecommerce datalayer? Then you can start with a CDP by activating smart tracking. To ensure that smart tracking functions optimally, you need two things:
- A product feed in XML format – so that the information about products can be stored in the CDP. With feed management solutions such as Channable, Channelengine, or Google Merchant Center, your product feed will be automatically loaded and synchronised;
- An API call for backend purchases – so that order confirmations and related information from the e-commerce platform are synchronized to the CDP. This ensures that you know 100% that every purchase comes into the CDP. Even when AdBlockers are in play and cookies are refused.
Option 3: Use custom tracking
If you cannot use a plugin and do not have an enhanced ecommerce data layer, then custom tracking is the solution for you. This also requires a product feed in XML format and an API call for backend purchases.
The connection with your email service provider (ESP)
Earlier in this blog, we already mentioned the manually activated connection between the CDP and an email service provider (ESP). Most ESPs come standard with such a connection and are easy to activate using an API token.
Spotler Activate offers connections with Spotler Mail+, Copernica, Deployteq, Mailjet, MailCampaigns, Spotler Webpower and Klaviyo.
Step 4. Prepare your team
Have you developed your personalization strategy and use cases? Have you mapped out your IT landscape and determined how you will connect the channels? Then you have reached the final step: preparing your team for the implementation. The knowledge you need in your team for a successful implementation depends on the following:
- Do you want to build custom personalizations and use cases? Then CSS and HTML knowledge is important.
- Are you not using a plugin? Then knowledge of API calls and (building) XML feeds is essential.
- Do you want to apply custom tracking? Then experience with Google Tag Manager is essential.
So, before you start the implementation, consider whether your team has the right resources to realize your plans.