Customer Personalization

What exactly are key-value stores good at? To begin with personalization; the ability to identify customers, their behaviors and preferences and then use that information to customize the user experience in a high-performance environment is key in today’s marketplace.

Information about an individual’s web habits has become the lifeblood of today’s organizations. As we check our Facebook page, search for products and shop at on-online retailers, we leave behind a wealth of information that identifies who we are, what we like and how much we’re willing to spend. Organizations capture and store this information in a variety of ways; in session, cookie and user profile stores, and use it to customize and personalize web pages, ad and banner selection, and product suggestions all with intent of increasing sales and customer satisfaction.

Session Store

A session store collects information about a particular user or customer who visits a website. A session is created when someone first visits a site. The session has a key, which is passed to the user in the form of a cookie (the value). Each time the user makes a request to the site, the session information is retrieved and updated. In addition to session information, session stores can capture user ids, URL clicks and the contents of a shopping cart to be used for future interactions.

Cookie Store

A cookie is a message that is sent from a web server to a web browser. The purpose of a cookie is to identify a user and save site login information for future use. Since web servers have no memory, the visited website places a cookie file on the user computer’s hard disk which contains information about who you are and your preferences. When the user visits the site at a later time, the information in the cookie file is passed to the website and used to customize the users experience. For example, instead of seeing a generic welcome page when you visit the site, you might see “Welcome Back Sue”.

User Profile Store

Like session and cookie stores a user profile store collects information about a user who visits a site to customize information in a future visit. User profile information allows companies to enhance our shopping experience, tailor ads and banners on visited web pages and suggest products and services we might use.

In the past, information on customization was stored in cookies. The benefit? It was simple, and stored the data on the client. Unfortunately, if a user went to a different computer or browser, the information was lost.

People have used user profile stores on the server for this kind of data, and this is sometimes referred to (somewhat incorrectly) as server side cookies. However, companies that want a unified user interface must have the following:

ID Mapping

Today, most web-enabled mobile devices like phones, tablets and laptops can access a company’s web portal. When a mobile device connects to a website, it sends information about itself such as, the type of device it is and the browser it’s using. Knowing this information allows online retailers, social media sites, and eCommerce companies to create a single interface that generates device compatible information to send to their consumers seamlessly and simultaneously.

URL Shortening

URL shortening is a common practice on the web. To shorten a URL a short URL is linked to a web page with a long URL using an HTTP Redirect on a domain name. For example, the URL “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/URL_shortening” can be shortened to “http://tinyurl.com/urlwiki”.

URL shortening is useful on social media sites like Twitter where long URL’s won’t fit into a 140-character tweet. URL shortening can also be used to make links human readable. In eCommerce applications, it can help track user clicks and provide detailed information on the clicks a link receives.

Content Delivery Networks

Content Delivery Networks (CDN’s) are designed to serve web objects (text, graphics, images), downloadable information (media files, software, documents), applications (eCommerce), and on-demand media to their customers in a high availability environment. Using a key-value store to simplify the process let’s users get what they want when they want it.

Dynamic Product Pricing and Inventory Management

Dynamic product pricing allows businesses to set flexible prices for products and services based on current market demand.

Commonly found in eCommerce and retail industries, dynamic pricing strategies use algorithms that combine real-time competitor pricing, supply, demand and current inventory data to make on-the-fly decisions about price; they may change by time of day; lowering prices during slow periods to increase sales as well as during peak periods to maximize profit.

In online marketplaces like Amazon and EBay where competition is steep, retailers may want to change prices immediately which requires a fluid and flexible pricing strategy as well as the technology to support such immediate and rapid change.

Real-time Bidding

Real-time bidding is the process of buying and selling online ad impressions via real-time auctions that occur in the time it takes a webpage to load. As a web page loads, information about the page content and who is viewing it is passed to an ad exchange. The ad exchange places the ad space up for auction; the advertiser willing to pay the highest price wins the bid.

The winning bidder’s ad is then immediately loaded into the webpage; the entire process must occur in milliseconds. Real-time bidding is used by online retailers, in eCommerce, and in social media to drive consumer behavior. The process of locating and displaying the most appropriate ad with low latency requires a clever use of hardware, software and RAM.

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