Each of us has access to more than 10 million products from anywhere at any given time via smartphones and other devices. And companies don\u2019t miss any opportunities to tell us what we personally are supposed to need and use.\nTypically, this boils down to this: \u201cMany people who are your age or have similar shopping habits were interested in these products or services.\u201d Sometimes, this approach to personalization is helpful, but most of the time, it falls short because it doesn\u2019t get to the bottom of why something is truly relevant to the individual customer.\n+ Also on Network World: The big picture of digital transformation +\nIn today\u2019s digital world, companies no longer need to rely on this segment-centric and wisdom-of-the-crowd approach. With the technologies at hand, we have the ability to instead look at how individual customers interact with specific products and services and what features they prefer.\nIn short, companies can now shed light on a person\u2019s unique needs, wants and preferences and use these insights to create highly individualized experiences that go way beyond recommendations.\nHow does it work?\nThink of it as the sequencing of a customer\u2019s genome.\nIt starts with taking advantage of the changing data landscape, such as the significant increases in accessible data and advancements in algorithms. The technology now allows us to deconstruct each interaction a customer has with a brand, such as purchases, emails opened, events attended and social posts they like.\nFrom there, we can also capture the DNA of each product or service composed of ingredients, features, specifications and ratings\u2014and map them to the individuals\u2019 interactions and choices made. Are they brand fanatics? Do they prefer certain colors, styles or features? Do they have unique needs for allergies or accessibility? This will allow companies to move away from the simple what to understanding the why.\u00a0\nWhy do it?\nYou should offer user-specific suggestions because it helps customers, which in turn helps the business\u2014today more than ever.\nToday, experience is the new battleground. Brands must create experiences that are curated to the individual.\nPeople are becoming overwhelmed by the sheer volume of products in the market. This abundance of choice is having a detrimental impact on brands. Research shows consumers are more likely to make poor decisions, be less satisfied and switch stores entirely when confronted with too broad a choice. Just consider that 39 percent of consumers told Accenture Interactive they have left a website and made a purchase on another site or in a store because they were unable to cope with all the options.\nHow does the \u2018genome\u2019 help customers?\nCompanies that decode the individual motivations and passions of their customers will be able to provide experiences that are truly personal.\nAt the most basic level, they will be able to provide product and service recommendations that are much more relevant to the people receiving them.\nBut the opportunity is much bigger. Imagine offering what you know about customers back to them\u2014for example, services acting like a digital personal assistant, concierge or shopper.\nUltimately, the "genomes" will bring forth a unique enterprise asset\u2014an asset that is richer, more dynamic and at a much greater scale than traditional market research. This collection of voices will be invaluable intellectual property. Companies can drive new forms of innovation from it across marketing, merchandising and service design\u2014products, services and, most important, experiences.\nToday, experience is the new battleground. Brands must create experiences that are curated to the individual. Shifting their thinking from the what to the why when it comes to customers\u2019 choices will be an important first step to success.\nI would like to thank Jeriad Zoghby, global personalization lead at Accenture Interactive, for his contribution to this post.