“Recommendations, personalisation, tailored emails and web pages – these are all put place by forward thinking retailers to orchestrate shopping experiences that keep customers happy and loyal,” Newberry told a packed conference session at Kensington Olympia. “At the heart of this must be the ability to deliver relevancy and to drive inspiration.”
Newberry (pictured left) revealed what typically makes up the ‘data framework for an exceptional shopping experience’ – namely user profiles, a customer’s purchase history, user behaviour and user preference. He said these data sets can be boosted with third party data covering, for example, geo-location and recent or expected weather. The website’s product feed should also be part of the framework.
“The key is joining the dots so that you connect the customer to the products they love,” he said.
Once you have the data framework, how do you personalise?
This is the point at which retailers need to consider: What are we trying to achieve? What interests and inspires this shopper? What are the shopper triggers – the nudges that will lead him or her closer to a purchase?
Machine learning can be applied at this point. You are looking for a correlation between data and the products that appeal to that particular shopper. An AI engine will help you learn the micro experiences, the moments, that will drive a conversion.
With recognition of individual experiences that matter, by joining them up it is more likely that the shopper will complete the customer journey. Each experience must be designed to help them complete the purchase. So for instance, AI can pinpoint what kind of campaign, content or pricing strategy will inspire the journey to continue, rather then end in a bounce.
Personalised birthday outreach as a converter
Attraqt has helped retail clients succeed with birthday outreach email campaigns using AI to finetune the strategy. When a customer receives an email with a birthday coupon – on the right date – the personalisation continues beyond the basic email messaging. Newberry says personalised product recommendations on the email catch the attention of the shopper. The offer itself can be relevant, based on the customer’s gender, size, past purchase history, favourite colour and style.
She then clicks through to a personalised landing page dynamically created for that individual. The offer there might also be tailored to the changing weather with a message saying: ‘Nicky, wrap up it’s cold outside’ – relevant messaging for a discount on the latest winter coats.
Avoid the pitfalls of personalisation
AI can help retailers hone the magic moments of personalisation that will inspire sales conversions along the digital shopper journey. But personalising the journey too heavily is not recommended. Watch out for ‘personalisation burn out’ – when there is a risk of irritating customers or beginning to overshadow other elements of shopping, such as discovering new products and styles.
Retailers must also be aware of regulations around the collection and use of personal data – GDPR in particular. “Don’t be creepy. Know the accepted limits of data usage,” said Newberry.
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