How Verizon uses in-session marketing to increase conversions

By Ian Nadeau on August 21, 2023

Digitally native customers want real-time experiences. How can you deliver that in a privacy-first world? This is the question being asked of Verizon’s SVP of digital marketing and base management, Diana Zaccardi, and the VP of digital, Chris Paul. 

The best companies, like Verizon, have raised the bar for what online shoppers expect from ecommerce. 

For Verizon, meeting the expectations of the digitally native customer means executing on three pillars: 

  1. Anticipate their needs
  2. Engage them on their terms
  3. Solve their needs quickly

Verizon has built hundreds of models capable of accomplishing these three pillars for the existing customer. But what about anonymous prospects (a segment that accounts for 60% of their total web traffic)? 

Verizon is regulated by the FCC, meaning that they adhere to stricter privacy restrictions than other brands. 

Prospect data is a shallow pool and it’s getting shallower as they remove the ability for us to use third-party to recognize cookies from other places.

Chris Paul, VP digital, Verizon

When it comes to anonymous prospects, Verizon’s goal is to get them to start the commerce process and provide data that shows what they are interested in. As prospects act with the site, events are triggered in that session that uncover insights. According to Chris, “The signals that you get from the session might actually be more accurate — might trump — anything that you have.” This goes for lookalike models and other tried and true methodologies. 

Because of this, Verizon looked for a session-based solution to meet the expectations of anonymous prospects while respecting and adhering to customer privacy restrictions. They found the answer with in-session marketing.  

The path to in-session marketing

Three years ago, Verizon wondered if they could proactively engage prospects with real-time experiences. In-session marketing does just that by empowering in-the-moment engagement with clickstream data to accurately predict what the prospect will do with each subsequent click. 

In as little as five clicks, in-session marketing provides signals for purchase propensity, level of friction, price sensitivity, and other insights that power its ability to service customer needs in real-time. For Verizon, this means that the pipes now exist to create digital experiences that are responsive enough to alter the course of customer journeys for both their known and anonymous prospects. 

Using in-session marketing helped Verizon identify the on-the-fence segment of their anonymous prospects. This golden group is the moveable middle of shoppers that can be convinced to buy via anticipating their needs, engaging with them on their terms, and solving their needs quickly. 

Anticipate customer needs

Anticipating customer needs is the opportunity to intercede when a customer is on-the-fence. Actions can include offering a time-based discount to the customer if they are willing to purchase during the session, free ancillary upgrades, and other offers. 

With the accurate predictions of in-session marketing, Verizon can proactively tailor the experience around customer needs and guide them to purchase — lifting conversion rate by 72%.

When we say 72% conversion lift, I thought my guy was kidding. But it really did profoundly change the outcome

Chris Paul, VP digital, Verizon

Verizon has been using in-session marketing to anticipate the needs of on-the-fence prospects for years now and is in the process of scaling it to be business as usual. 

Engage customers on their terms

Engaging the customer on their terms means seamless experiences between devices or touchpoints. The Verizon customer journey is fluid — they may start online and purchase in-store or vice-versa. Regardless, Verizon must be ready to pick up where the customer left off. 

In-session marketing uses AI to analyze customer microbehaviors and identify the reason behind their visit. This enables Verizon to walk prospects through various options and help them find what they are looking for with personalized product recommendations and relevant offers in real-time. 

Engaging the customer on their terms improved conversion rate by 17%. Importantly, these efforts don’t require any additional incentive to the customer on the part of Verizon.

Solve customer needs quickly

Verizon solves customer needs in real-time by using in-session marketing to identify friction and intercept with the appropriate assistance. Those prospects that are in the sales flow and show indicators of friction (e.g., being on a page for too long or taking actions that demonstrate having second thoughts about a purchase) are assisted by a chat feature. 

Most customers will be directed to an AI chatbot that helps take them to the next step of the journey. Prospects that are on-the-fence and are demonstrating a high level of friction are directed to a human-assisted chat. 

The ability to identify and alleviate friction at scale has boosted Verizon’s chat-assisted digital orders by 161%

Verizon plans to continue to experiment with in-session marketing and turn the customer experience into a key differentiator. This means transforming the digital ecosystem with personalization at its core. 

All we think about at the end of this is a much more delighted, satisfied, non-friction filled customer

Chris Paul, VP digital, Verizon

By making Chris’ vision come to life, Verizon believes it will distance itself from the competition. 

Ready to realize the success Verizon is experiencing with in-session marketing? Request a demo today with our Session AI experts. 

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