A morning of relevant content from ecommerce and retail experts
On November 14th, Qubit hosted the latest event of our ‘Personalization with the Pros’ Roadshow, hosted in partnership with Google Cloud, at their offices in King’s Cross. With ecommerce leaders from beauty, cosmetics, and fashion industries in attendance and speakers with a wealth of knowledge to share, the morning helped informed how personalization and customer centricity are integral to growth strategy.
Here are the main points from our guest speakers, including experts from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Biglight, Google and Qubit.
Trends in the retail market with BCG’s partner and managing director, Sarah Willersdorf
Sarah began the day’s talks by outlining the current state of retail, taken from BCG’s research: “This will be the first trillion-dollar holiday season. In the US, it's going to be the biggest Black Friday and Cyber Monday yet, with over $10 billion predicted in sales.
“What we see with shopping events like Black Friday, Boxing Day and January sales is an opportunity for personalization. The real goal is to retain and monetize customers who visit your site in this time by developing digital relationships that scale - understanding your customers’ intentions, tastes, and interests, and being able to build lifetime value.”
She continued by outlining what customers are mainly looking for: “Convenience, value, and frictionless shopping experiences. This is all enabled by personalization. Privacy is also a top of mind concern for consumers, but recent data we have shows that 50% of consumers are happy to give data in exchange for something, such as access to limited edition products, first access to sales and gated members-only areas onsite.
“Be cautious about how you use data but also be transparent about what you use it for. Consumers want more contextually relevant and personal offers, services and products in exchange.”
Creating a remarkable customer experience with Steve Borges
Biglight is an experience design company that has worked with such leading brands as Adidas, The North Face, and Burberry. In his talk, Biglight co-founder Steve Borges utilized his years of experience to answer two key industry questions: Why has experience innovation become the key brand differentiator and what are brands doing to create remarkable customer experiences?
“If you ask a customer to browse for a specific item, around 60 to 70% of them will go straight to Amazon. The remainder goes to Google and then spends the entire journey on Google Shopping. With such major players like Google and Amazon starting to own the ecommerce space, the ways in which brands can make a difference is by creating meaningful connections between your customer and your brand."
Steve went on to talk about where the best place to start in creating meaningful experiences: “We need to look at the customer journey in a broader context; to understand what people experience and how they feel. Review how well people feel their needs being met. And I'm not just talking about on your site. The key thing is to focus on the initial research stage as well as the time they spend on your site.”
Decoding consumer decision-making with Georgie Altman
As Strategy and Insights Manager at Google, Georgie has seen how buying behavior has changed with the advent of new technologies: “We live in a world where we're all empowered by digital. We have our phones with us all the time, which means we no longer behave in a linear fashion as consumers. There are plenty of linear models of thinking on buyer behavior, and that's problematic because it doesn't reflect the complexity of the consumer journey anymore.”
“What we found is that we are triggered to purchase something, or just think about purchasing a product, but something happens between being triggered to purchase and actually completing that is complex and messy.
“We go into this exploration phase when we open up our considerations. And then at some stage, we narrow down those considerations. This doesn’t necessarily happen in a linear way. For example, people may go back and the exploration begins again.
“There's a kind of balance to be had between achieving an experience that drives people to purchase, so we're not stuck in this kind of endless loop of decision making and not getting to an outcome.”
Beauty expert Cassia-Lily Ellis shares how personalization can solve industry-specific problems
Cassia is an expert in personalization within retail and beauty sub-verticals. Having worked at Qubit with some of the biggest brands within beauty, she was able to highlight the key pain points retailers face and a few examples of personalization strategies that can solve them.
She opened by outlining how the beauty and cosmetics industry has evolved: “Beauty originally was seen as not translating well online as it's so experiential - you want to sample beauty products. I think beauty is the most exciting category of retail since makeup and skincare is a key area where someone's brand preferences can be changed really quickly.” A great customer experience can make the difference between a one-and-done purchaser and a lifelong customer.
Cassia continued with how personalization can be applied in beauty ecommerce. “Beauty is just inherently personalizable. For example, you can deploy a skin quiz that targets a visitor who is concerned about dry skin.
"Once you know someone's looking for products to address dry skin, you can personalize their experience. You can create very clear segments of users with lots of data that outline their intent. This makes it a lot easier to get the right product to the right customer, a lot of the time.”
Cassia finished with another example of how personalization can create a more relevant journey for onsite visitors: “To beauty retailers, hero products can be both a friend and a foe. Hero products are great for acquisition but are sometimes problematic for retention. You really have to be quick to establish a cross-sell for some brands into different categories.
“So one of the things that we launched with some of our newer brands who want to draw attention to hero products was literally just a badge that highlights this, which is especially effective for newer pure-play brands and for demonstrating to new visitors. It doesn't sound too complicated, but actually, it can affect a huge uplift.”
“You can actually put this experience into a template so different kinds of badges can call out different characteristics of products to different segments of users. So this is, again, a way of just scaling that experience.”
Overall, the event sparked much interest in the challenges and opportunities that personalization is undoubtedly presenting retailers from across beauty, cosmetics, and fashion industries.