The industry is working towards a goal of predictive personalisation, said Jason Grunberg, vice-president of marketing at technology firm Sailthru.
He cited the example of US etailer JustFab, which also includes FabKids, Fabletics and ShoeDazzle. It has 4 million members, operates in 10 countries and has 17 million social media fans.
JustFab asks new customers to take part in a style quiz, which establishes their preferences and gathers additional information related to sizing, location and family to provide appropriate recommendations. Once a customer is registered, the site presents a special offer with a countdown clock to prompt a first sale.
JustFab has done lots of testing on the frequency of emails and channels to provide relevant communications.
“They want to maintain the right balance between helpful and engaging, and creepy,” said Grunberg.
“Personalisation is an evolving journey with the maturity curve starting from basic field insertion [using someone’s name] through to behavioural recommendations and omnichannel optimised communications,” he said.
“The goal is predictive personalisation, which can give a lift of 20% in customer lifetime value.”
He said the firm is now sending fewer emails, but is making more money.