If you didn’t make it to Exponea’s latest Online Retail Challengers event, you’re in luck: we’ve summarized it for you here. If you WERE there, then this is just a handy reference guide.
Let’s get into it.
The Expert Speakers
Ian Jindal – Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Internet Retailing
Ian started the event with a bang, discussing the ever-increasing importance of customer experience, as even well known brands make moves to stand out from the crowd, including:
- Starbucks opening exclusive, small-batch coffee shops with roasting on-site
- Nike taking a stand behind Colin Kaepernick, which resonated with the under-35 market
- Nespresso’s boutique shop, with an employee whose main KPIs are “Customer Knowledge” and “Customer Appreciation”
Ian hammered home the point that service excellence is no longer appreciated; it’s expected. Brands that don’t focus on the experience are either a thing of the past or soon to become one.
The easy growth period in digital is over and we need to fight to retain profitable customers rather than churn through newbies. The weapons are integrity, purpose and experience, backed up by uniformly excellent operational capabilities and on-brand frontline staff.
Peter Irikovsky – CEO of Exponea
Peter started his presentation with a clear message: growth is important, but loyalty is critical. He explained that a barrier to creating this loyalty is the lack of customer-centricity in many companies, who instead have a channel-centric focus.
A major reason for this is that most companies lack the technology needed to really make the shift: a customer data and experience platform (CDXP).
Peter next explained how a CDXP works. It’s a combination of:
- A customer data platform to enable a single customer view
- AI to enable real-time predictive and recommendation capabilities
- An email service provider with real-time triggering, A/B testing and multi-language support
- A user experience platform enabling 1:1 personalization
- The “x” factor
Finally, Peter covered several use cases that are only possible with a CDXP, including:
- Multi-armed bandit testing: a superior alternative to classic A/B testing. Rather than waiting to see the results of a segmented campaign, the CDXP uses predictive analytics to find the best performing variant for each individual customer, moving them to that variant while the experiment runs, resulting in much higher returns.
- Recommendations in a customer’s size
- Predictive retargeting
Peter concluded with three powerful questions:
- How many of you have someone in your C-Suite with Customer Loyalty as their #1 priority?
- Who believes that access to a Full Customer Profile can create a lot of value?
- How many of your colleagues have access to a Full Customer Profile?
Peter Jakus – Head of Academy at Exponea
The way you set and measure your goals drives the results. Peter Jakus discussed a new way to measure success: looking at the actual people, rather than their “sessions.” Session-based architecture made sense in 2005, but it’s 2019 now.
The idea of a “session” was created by Google because at that time, they didn’t have the ability to look at individual customers. With the data and technology available today, we can move past this manufactured idea, and start measuring with greater accuracy.
Peter went on to show how different the results could be when measuring the people rather than the sessions, and explained that even Google is now in the process of switching over to this new method of measurement.
Bruno Gorgulho – Global Head of Solutions at Exponea
Bruno spoke about the change that has happened in customer mindset. Today’s customers are surrounded by so much noise, that only the greatest customer experiences can break through. He talked about the connection between experience and measurement, and how to automate a virtuous cycle between the two.
Bruno also discussed the issue of “tech stack fatigue” that many companies are facing, due to the sheer amount of MarTech software on the market. Finally, he reviewed a few use cases that were made possible with a CDXP, including identity resolution and negative segmentation.
Brian McBride – Deputy Chair of Trainline PLC and Non-Executive Director at Wiggle
Brian gave the closing keynote speech to round out the event. He drew upon his vast experience as former Chairman at ASOS and former CEO of Amazon.uk to discuss the state of the industry and where it’s heading.
Brian discussed the disruption that e-commerce is causing the traditional retail industry, and the idea that companies need to “evolve or die.” He went into examples of this, including Kodak missing the rise of digital photography, and Nokia underestimating the importance of touch screens and the smartphone.
Brian went on to talk about the importance of being data-driven, and leveraging the technological advantages at-hand. Will there still be jobs for humans in the future? Of course, but a human working with AI will always be better than a human without.
He closed his speech with a discussion of leadership and influence. He mentioned that one of the most important things a senior manager can focus on is hiring the right people.
The Expert Guests
One of the things Denise discussed during her fireside chat was the problem FitFlop was trying to solve when they chose Exponea- namely the lack of visibility they had into what their individual users were doing pre and post purchase. Beyond that, they needed to stitch all that data together, which is something Exponea was able to help them accomplish through the CDXP.
She also discussed the reason that so many companies have trouble with long-term thinking: retail can be very unstable, and with global customers, an unsustainable bubble of discounting can be formed. She concluded that businesses need to think of themselves not just as cash-making websites, but as digital companies with digital customers – putting the digital customer at the center of activities.
One of the main topics Ricardo spoke about is how shopper expectations have changed in the age of omni-channel experiences. He said that what’s working now is sending specific messages to customers about items they’re interested in.
Ricardo also discussed the future technologies Desigual is interested in implementing. In particular, this included using Exponea’s CDXP to decrease irrelevant emails and gain a more specific view of customer expectations.
The Black Friday Panel – (Andy Mulcahey, Gianfranco Cuzziol, and Rod Anthony)
The Black Friday Panel brought together ideas and strategy from Rod Anthony (Senior Consultant at Wunderman Commerce), Andy Mulcahey (Strategy and Insight Director at IMRG), and Gianfranco Cuzziol (Global CRM Lead at Aesop).
Important talking points included:
- A discussion of how Black Friday 2019 will likely not see much growth over 2018
- A strategy around stripping your site down to the essentials to reduce distractions and allow for faster speed of use
- Not over-discounting during the period
- Using Black Friday, not just as a win during the sales, but as a long-term plan to bring in future loyal customers.
- Testing promotions throughout the year, then using the winners for Black Friday
Here are the key takeaways presented during the event after the speakers.
- Growth is important, loyalty is critical
- Customer-centricity is necessary for survival
- The CDXP enables use cases not possible before
- The way you set and measure your goals drives the results
- Session-based architecture was relevant in 2005, not 2019
- Sell to people, not sessions
- Get identity right
- Build a cycle between experience and measurement
- Attention is limited, so use it wisely
- Great leadership is the glue that holds the best organisations together
- E-commerce is disrupting traditional businesses on a huge scale. No industry will escape disruption. You can’t stand still.
- Know your customer. It’s all about the smartphone, mobility and data, and the personalisation that comes with it.
If you were able to attend Online Retail Challengers, we hope you found it valuable for your business. If you didn’t make it, we hope to see you next time! To keep up with the e-commerce topics Exponea is exploring, check out our blog.
If you’d like to know more about how Exponea could specifically help your business, please feel free to book a demo with us so we can start a discussion.
Your Customers Want an Experience. Give it to Them.
86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Give them what they want.