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Key insights from the Monetate European Summit 2016

There is little doubt that personalisation is one of the buzzwords du jour in the world of fashion retail. What is less clear is the right way to approach personalisation, what the objectives should be and what those goals should be measured against. In Drapers’ first personalisation report, we aim to shed some light on these areas.

Personalisation and experience marketing platform Monetate held the 2016 edition of its annual European Summit on June 30 in London. Here Drapers brings you some of the key findings from the day. 

Predictive testing will be key for the future of personalisation

Predictive capabilities will be the next stage of personalisation, Monetate senior vice president, Europe, the Middle East and Africa Mike Harris told Drapers.

“As we move out of the web channel to cover all of the other customer touch points to include activity across other channels, personalisation will not scale as a manual approach. Our product roadmap is very much built around predictive.”

“What I see as the future of personalisation is that all interactions with customers would be automated and based on machine learning, where that data has been captured will be used in real time and serve the optimal experience based on the goal of that particular brand.”

Montetate announced the launch of its predictive testing at the conference. David Brussin, co-founder and chief product officer explained this will avoid the long learning process o A/B testing, allowing retailers to learn and take action faster, driving more ROI by doubling revenue. It does this by allowing daily or evenly hourly testing, resulting in the ability to make 120,000 decisions over a two week period. Whereas with standard testing, the retailer or brand would need to wait for a defined period before gaining their insight.

Don’t just focus on conversion, retailers advised

Retailers should focus on the customer’s lifetime value, Waitrose manager, online selling and trading Richard Luck, said.

Luck, who has spent 25 years at Waitrose and 10 in ecommerce, said the supermarket had “empowered” the ecommerce team to personalise, explaining that it “has to become bread and butter”.

Rather than simply focusing on immediate conversion as the major KPI for personalisation he advised: “The piece around customer lifetime value is critically important,” adding “your commercial KPIs will follow”.

Relevancy is key, he said: “You don’t have to sell me something now. Show me something relevant and I will come back and buy.”

Retailers must focus on experience to win over millennials, says Mary Portas

The customer experience will overtake product as the biggest differentiator on the high street by 2020, retail guru Mary Portas told delegates.

Speaking as part of a line-up that included JD Williams group ecommerce CRO manager Finn Christo, the chief creative director and founder of creative communications agency Portas said “the millennials are spending on experiences rather than ‘stuff’”.

She added that “digital is part of the everyday” for this audience now, and that retailers need to find ways to better “connect technology with retail; where the brand is a social experience, where the brand lives”.

Portas noted Selfridges as a positive example of creating theatre in store, versus the likes of Marks & Spencer. “I think their [M&S] product is actually really good. It’s the experience where they need to focus.”

Portas spent time at John Lewis, Harrods and Topshop before joining Harvey Nichols aged 28 and progressing to its board in 1989 as creative director. There she helped transform the in-store experience by bringing in new designers, promoting the department store through 1990s TV comedy series Absolutely Fabulous, and by installing a bar area on its fifth floor to create a social hub. “There was no marketing strategy, there was instinct,” she said.

“The shift in experience has to go back to bricks-and-mortar,” said Portas, noting that what Apple did “is they created a brand reality, not just an image” and that John Lewis has built its brand on “trust, knowledge, experience and service”.

Question everything to create the best on-site experience, says N Brown’s Christo

Testing and personalising content in order to drive customer engagement is critical to maintain and grow your customer base, N Brown Group ecommerce conversion rate optimisation manager Finn Christo said.

Delivering a session entitled ‘From Landing Page to Landing Session: Tailoring the onsite experience to win new customers’, heo advised attendees to “question everything” and explained that there are 50-60 tests live at any one time on the JD Williams website, N Brown Group’s largest etail brand.

The retailer has worked with Monetate to create more personalised experiences across mobile and tablet and saw an 18% increase in new visitor conversion within two weeks. “The results have been great”, Christo told Drapers. “Things like making sure the hamburger menu has been altered so you can get to your [preferred] product more quickly. With Monetate we are able to make changes very quickly in five minutes, where it would normally have taken months to get a change hard coded onto the website.”

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