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Personalisation report: Retailers reveal how they make it personal

Andy Berks of Asos, Tim Kalic of Pretty Green, Claudia Roggenkamp of Levi Strauss & Co, and Darren Spurling of Terry de Havilland talk about their personalisation strategies.

Andy Berks, digital product director, Asos

“I don’t believe in personalisation for personalisation’s sake, but if it helps to solve a customer problem, then it is the right thing to do. And there are positive examples of personalisation throughout the Asos experience, from the engagement and traffic we generate by sending personalised emails to the high click-through rates we get from personalised display banners and social content. But two areas worth highlighting are our size algorithm and our recommendation algorithm. The former has driven conversion rates up and return rates down by using each member’s past purchase history to automatically recommend the product size they should be buying for each brand. And the latter has led to a significant uplift in conversion and click-through rates.

“These are good examples of how AI is transforming the industry and I am extremely excited about the potential this technology has.

“Each time someone browses our site, our AI gets richer and smarter. This allows it to recommend better, enabling us to give customers a better and more relevant experience every time they visit the site. From a business perspective, this is very exciting – it’s a powerful tool with the potential to drive value that increases over time.”

Tim Kalic, head of digital, Pretty Green

“Personalisation is an integral part of most leading digital products many of us use daily, and this constantly raises consumers’ expectations.

“Delivering an experience that takes into account a user’s location, device and current and previous behaviour is paramount to staying relevant and in touch with what consumers now expect.

“Search and social network providers use personalisation incredibly well. However, it is fair to say that most retailers do not have adequate systems in place to deliver truly relevant experiences to their customers.

“There are many challenges in implementing a solid personalisation programme: all the way through from gathering and having a single view of customer data, to the strategy of what to do with that data and how to deliver the end-user experience.

“Those retailers who are able to successfully connect their customer data points and intelligently deliver excellent and relevant user experiences will have a considerable advantage over those who choose to ignore – or do not have the tools to manage – this important element of modern digital commerce.”

Claudia Roggenkamp, VP of ecommerce, Europe, for Levi Strauss & Co

“I believe that personalisation will become the ‘new normal’ in a couple of years. Because of this, it will be key to the success of big, democratic brands like Levi’s. Small, targeted brands may not need to invest in this technology as heavily, but the broader the audience you’re interacting with, the more essential personalisation will become.

“To prepare for this, we are testing several ways to personalise our shopping experiences across different channels. I’m encouraged by our progress and looking forward to rolling out these new tools as part of our larger strategy to invest in technologies that strengthen the direct-to-consumer relationship. I’m also excited about the potential that artificial intelligence (AI) has to both provide an innovative approach to customer service and drive development.

“I recently visited China and was intrigued to see how AI had moved big parts of the country’s consumer interaction with social channels. It’s only a matter of time before the same thing happens in Europe. When it does, shopping will become a completely personalised experience with individual style and size recommendations, and the ability to customise products.”

Darren Spurling, managing director, Terry de Havilland

“Consumers have so much choice. They know they can get the product they want rather than compromising. So fashion brands are having to offer the ability for customers to personalise both their products and their online experience. You need to create rules to manage how your brand is being used and ensure that the online experience creates the impression of a personal experience. This can include following the customer’s path through your website to get the right products in front of them (you don’t have to allow them to design their own product).

“We also find that, even with our bespoke couture service, customers want the product almost immediately, as their expectations about waiting have changed.”

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