After months of preparation, it’s hard to believe that Blue Acorn’s very first XChange Conference is in the rearview mirror. Fortunately, we experienced every aspect of the show, attending multiple sessions on partner day, networking with many brands and retailers, and exhibiting in the partner showcase. All in all, it was a very rewarding trip to South Florida for the Blue Acorn team!
If you were not able to attend this year’s show, I’d say that the conference had a common theme: achieving revenue growth through personalization.
Today, having an attractive site and an exciting product is just not enough to entice buyers to transact. Brands that are not adapting to their customers’ needs and investing in the right optimization technologies are losing out on serious profits. Personalizing your ecommerce site and user experiences are necessary to maintain a profitable business.
During the conference, Demandware gave attendees a deeper look into the platform’s new “Predictive Recommendations” feature, which allows brands to take advantage of the huge advances in data science to create deeper relationships with customers. The feature has been available to a select few during a pseudo-beta phase. We saw it live at XChange, and we got to see how our customers will be able to use a predictive intelligence engine to capture user activity in real-time and promote the most relevant products to the shopper. Pretty exciting stuff!
During the conference, Demandware also announced a new feature called Predictive Email. The feature combines Demandware’s predictive intelligence engine with your ESP, so when your customers open your email, they’ll see personalized, up-to-date content. The new feature is all a part of driving revenue through repeat shopping.
Common Personalization/Testing Questions We Heard at Xchange
With big data and machine learning becoming more commonplace, questions around building testing and personalization strategies and executing these projects have came up in our conversations more frequently. We were fortunate enough to answer many of these questions during the partner showcase, and to provide next steps for many brands looking to begin their journey into personalization. The three most common questions we heard:
Q: What are the benefits of f traditional A/B testing and personalization?
A: Traditionally, A/B testing is about finding the right user experience for your website visitors. Personalization takes your optimized user experience and then focuses on the behavioral aspect of the conversion. It’s about offering visitors specific promotions, product recommendations and content.
Q: We have not been successful with our optimization efforts. How can we improve our testing/personalization projects?
A: First off, testing is not easy. You need a team of experts that are both right- and left-brain- balanced to come up with optimization plans that are data-driven and engaging enough to cause a reaction to buy. Making a website visitor “click” is easy, making them “transact” is not.
Q: We know we should be optimizing our site to include things like personalization. How can I get my boss to consider the added expense of testing/personalization?
A: One of the most common mistakes brands make today is looking at testing/personalization services as a monthly expense. The most successful brands we work with recognize these projects are investments to improve their site and overall customer experience. Once you make the investment to develop an optimization culture, you’ll never look back.
Demandware’s predictive recommendations have been proven to increase revenue per session and average order values for their brands. Now, with predictive recommendations, Demandware customers will have the ability to personalize their site experience from one centralized place.
At Blue Acorn, our optimization team has been solving these and many other eCommerce challenges. We recognize that each site is unique, and requires a tailored approach to achieve results. As a team, we look forward to getting these new personalization projects started for our mutual Demandware clients.
We look forward to next year’s XChange and to seeing even more advances in personalization technology.
*Photo Credit to Colton Perry, VP of Partnerships at Monetate!