November 2, 2011, 3:54 PM

A little personal touch goes a long way

Daily deal operators need to do a better job tailoring their offers.

Earlier today I was chatting with Nathan Richardson, Gilt City president, when he mentioned that Gilt plans to use its own personalization technology to tailoroffers to customers based on their previous purchases.

"If I know that Caitlyn is more inclined to buy a $40 meal than me who is inclined to buy a $120 meal that comes with wine flights, it probably makes sense to surface deals around $40 to Caitlyn and more expensive offers to me," he said. "We think we can harness our technology to make it smarter."

That type of personalization is not new. I actually suggested daily deal operators should be deploying it more than a year ago. Shortly thereafter, a handful of sites, like Groupon, began tailoring deals to consumers based on their preferences in July 2010.

But still too many daily deal operators fail to understand what offers their customers might be interested in. LivingSocial, for example, today sent me an offer for two skin-tightening or anti-aging treatments. I’m a 29-year-old man, hardly the demographic I imagine uses those services. Similarly, Groupon recently sent me a Groupon Getaways deal for a hotel in Chicago, which would hardly provide a getaway since it’s only a few miles from my apartment.

The more offers I receive that seem to be oriented to someone other than myself, the less likely I am to open the e-mail. That means that I won’t see the site’s other offers. Given that LivingSocial, for instance, has 14 other offers today that I might be interested in, that could prove rather costly.

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