Strategies, research, industry trends — your pulse on the marketplace
The   Bazaar   Voice
Strategies, research, industry trends — your pulse on the marketplace
customer journey

This is a guest post by Bazaarvoice partner Monetate, a leading provider in personalization technology. Here they’ll talk through how they work with one of our shared clients, The Exchange, to create a 5-star, personalized customer journey.

Did you have a chance to attend the Bazaarvoice Summit 2024?

If so, then we hope you had the chance to catch an amazing presentation from our client, Army & Air Force Exchange Service, aka The Exchange. Both Monetate and Bazaarvoice have the honor of working with The Exchange.

At Monetate, we work closely with their team to provide personalized experiences and relevant content for their customers shopping at their online store at

During the Bazaarvoice Summit, Shane Binion, E-commerce Marketing Manager, The Exchange, shared with attendees how his team is leveraging Monetate Personalization to build personalized experiences for active military, retirees, veterans, their families, and other personnel across the entire customer journey.

We’re proud to play a role in helping The Exchange to make the customer journey easier and more personalized, featuring trusted information from other shoppers when making purchases online.

Here we’re going to talk about The Exchange’s mission and how we support them in their endeavor.


  1. What is the customer journey?
  2. Why personalization matters for the customer journey
  3. How to serve up personalized content
  4. The impact of personalization on The Exchange’s customer journey

What is the customer journey?

The customer journey encompasses all the experiences customers undergo while engaging with your company and brand. Rather than focusing solely on isolated transactions or encounters, it captures the entirety of the customer experience.

In essence, it’s the series of steps a shopper takes to them becoming a customer. Optimizing the customer journey through personalization provides a better shopping experience, which leads to more purchases — personalization can increase revenue by up to 15%. For example, let’s look at The Exchange.

Why personalization matters for the customer journey

Serving an eligible customer base of 33.4 million shoppers worldwide, The Exchange is the US Department of Defense’s largest retailer.

The Exchange provides goods and services for the Army, Air Force, Space Force, Navy, Marines, and the Coast Guard. If you’ve ever been on a military base, then you might be familiar with PXs and BXs – The Exchange operates those locations too.

Their website features goods and services from top brands, including Nike, Graco, Disney, Lego, The Home Depot, Lego, Samsung, and more. All purchases are tax-free, feature exclusive military pricing, and 100% of The Exchange’s earnings support the military community.

For Shane Binion and his team, they use automated personalization and product recommendations to provide a superior user experience when shopping online.

When it comes to an e-commerce strategy, the following initiatives are important to The Exchange:

  • Build and maintain trust and loyalty in a highly competitive retail environment
  • Deliver on customer expectation of personalization when shopping online
  • Serve dynamic product recommendations depending on where the customer is on the site or in the sales funnel

Just how do they accomplish these e-commerce and personalization goals?

How to serve up personalized content

It’s important for The Exchange to provide the most personalized and smoothest experience for every customer across the whole shopping journey. Shane and his team use personalized content in several different ways to serve their customers.

First, it’s important to note that only active military, veterans, their families and other military personnel past and present can shop on The Exchange’s website. Therefore, to shop, customers have to login as members.

What makes this shopping experience unique is that The Exchange has a wealth of first-party data about each customer. By the nature of their business, they know who their customers are, their location, their military branch, and more.

Here’s how this data, alongside Monetate Personalization, leads to personalized content.

Branch specific banners

Thanks to first-party member data, The Exchange knows what branch of the military their customers belong to. Therefore, they can serve products by branch – Army, Air Force and Space Force, etc., for a truly customized shopping experience.

Weather specific banners

Are members expecting rain? Snow? Cold temperatures? With geolocation from Monetate, The Exchange knows where their customers are located and what the predicted weather forecast is for their region.

For customers expecting stormy weather, The Exchange serves targeted banners promoting rain gear. For regions expecting snow and cold weather, customers see banners promoting winter gear.

The banners are scheduled to start appearing two days before the predicted weather situation, giving members time to purchase umbrellas, coats and other supplies to prepare for the weather conditions.

Become a military star

Another service provided by The Exchange is the Military Star credit card. Thanks to customer data, The Exchange knows which customers have the credit card and who does not.

For customers that don’t have the Military Star credit card, they’re served with a promotion to sign up, increasing the number of members to get the credit card.

Testing web banners

As any marketer and merchandiser can tell you, testing is important and necessary when building out the customer journey online. With Monetate, you can continue to experiment and build out your findings for refinement.

The Exchange leveraged Monetate to test whether placing “Story Elements” above “Shop By Category Elements” would end up increasing customer engagement and the depth of the customer drive.

But what The Exchange found is that this theory only worked for Patio, Garden & Garage, where placing “Story Elements” above “Shop By Category” resulted in a boost in average order value by +13%.

For all other categories results were flat, suggesting that customers tend to respond better to “Shop By Category” being higher up on the page.

The Exchange also conducted some tests around their homepage banner.

They felt their current style was too cluttered and distracting. They wanted to test whether a new banner that would take the visitor to a PLP (product landing page), featuring multiple CTA banners would be more effective and result in more clicks.

But what The Exchange found was that the metrics between the two experiences were flat. Customers responded to the complex banner the same as the simpler banner. Armed with these findings, The Exchange can keep refining the UX and customer journey on the website and impacting key metrics.

Product recommendations help customers find what they love

The Exchange has also done some incredible work in product recommendations leveraging Monetate.

They currently have 10 containers that are live and expanding. They also target both new and returning visitors, with trending items and actively promote cross sell items towards the end of the conversion funnel. On top of that, they’re even working on building a Deal’s Page to recommend sale items to help customers get a great deal.

As we discussed earlier, The Exchange honors the individual military branches customers belong to when shopping online. This strategy also rolls over into product recommendations, with The Exchange targeting various product recommendations based on branch of service.

One other fun example is how The Exchange leverages product recommendations and sports fandom. The Exchange has a Fan Shop where sport items, like team jerseys, are recommended to shoppers based on their team preferences.

The impact of personalization on The Exchange’s customer journey

Through working with The Exchange and with Shane and his team, Monetate has been key in helping the team to deliver success.

In 2023 alone, the team delivered 53 million personalized experiences, influencing 7.1% of revenue. Shane and his team also launched 104 digital experiences through the Monetate platform. So far, in 2024, The Exchange is on track for even more growth, delivering 4.8 million personalized sessions in January alone, influencing 4.4% of revenue.

We look forward to our continued work with The Exchange as they continue their personalization of the customer journey. Eager to hear more? Watch Monetate and The Exchange’s full on-demand Summit session right here.

We’re better together. Interested in becoming a Bazaarvoice partner? Apply here!

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