Getting Personal: How AI-powered personalization is helping retail bands stand out from the crowd

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In a Gigabit article, Qubit's VP of Product, Simon Jaffery-Reed, shares how personalization can help retail brands to differentiate themselves from the competition - read the full article here

Using personalization to capitalize on ecommerce growth

The future of ecommerce is filled with opportunity for those investing in the right long-term strategies today, however, it’s often difficult to see the wood through the trees when it comes to project prioritisation and focus.

With one in every five pounds spent with UK retailers now being spent online, experiences and brand are oftentimes the only way brands can differentiate away from the supply chain behemoth that is Amazon.

Mobile is another key driver for ecommerce growth, with Black Friday 2019 mobile revenue expected to surpass that of the desktop for the first time. However, our research has shown that 63% of shoppers currently only shop with two to five different brands. So what are the levers that retailers can use to drive loyalty, engender trust and stand out from the crowd?

With Netflix, Instagram and Spotify driving the digital experience agenda, customers have now come to expect brands to know them and to show them relevant products and services throughout their user journey, no matter the channel.

Tastemakers vs. logistics

The first thing to understand is that not all retailers are the same. Benedict Evans, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, in his talk “The end of the beginning” splits them into two categories: retail as logistics and retail as a tastemaker.

Retail as logistics is best encapsulated by Amazon who has gone from relatively humble beginnings to holding a significant share in nearly all retail categories. In fact, recent research from Mintel shows that 90% of UK shoppers now use the retail giant. With its Prime service offering next or even same day delivery on an increasing number of items, there are now few retailers who can compete with them on logistics. For customers who want to get things, as quickly as possible, with as little time and effort expended – Amazon have perfected the solution. While some brands have raised their game to keep pace, many have opted to simply list their products on Amazon in order to allow customers to benefit from its speedy delivery times.

There has however been some trepidation from ‘tastemaker’ brands whose customers value brand experience over convenience. After all, logistics is just one element of the customer journey, so why run the risk of diluting the experience you offer customers by handing over control? Many brands feel that the only sure-fire way to safeguard brand experience is to own the end to end experience and sell directly. But what experience can they offer that will trump convenient delivery and encourage return purchases?

For example, if you want to buy a gift for your partner, or are in the process of booking a holiday – then actually you care more about quality than the convenience. You want to know what you are getting is just right. You might want to be inspired, or to be given support in finding the item that is just for your needs, and even more you might care a lot about the quality and after-care that you are going to receive. 

For tastemaker brands, in particular, using customer knowledge to provide personalised experiences is the key to offering something more valuable than fast shipping. Whether online or offline, whatever the channel of engagement, the experience has to be synonymous with the brand itself. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) comes in.

To read the full article on Gigabit, click here.

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