Search and marketing aren’t always enough for shoppers to find your products – many need help to guide them to what is best for them. This is particularly true for health retailers and brands. One such health retailer, Revive Active, has implemented technology from Conversity on its website to help customers find tailored vitamins rather than just choose products that they might regret or not use after purchase. To find out more, Internet Retailing had a chat with Daithi O’Connor, Founder and Managing Director at Revive Active and Sarah Cameron, Director Customer Experience at Conversity.
Internet Retailing: What are the particular challenges you faced with selling online to customers – what were the main pain points before the solution’s implementation?
Daithi O’Connor, Founder and Managing Director at Revive Active: As a vitamin and health supplier, the particular online challenge for us to overcome was to recognise that choosing the right supplement can be complex. It’s really important that we speak in the right voice, to the right customers at the right time. Essentially, it comes down to knowing your target audience well enough to understand what their key challenges are and how you can solve them across your channels.
After this, it comes down to choosing the right technology to help your brand to cut through the noise and deliver the best possible customer service. For us, the right technology to implement was Conversity’s intelligent guided selling (IGS), which allows us to prompt customers on our website with relevant guided questions to help them with their purchase. IGS technology captures the personal needs and motivations of customers in real time and understands their mindsets to ensure recommendations that are personal to them are made. This also ensures that customers receive a tailored experience that fits their needs.
IR: Give me an example of the typical sales funnel before the implementation and what it looks like now – pointing out where the specific improvements lie
DOC: Before the implementation, our website was product-focused, which worked well if the customer knew what they were looking for. However, if the customer didn’t have any previous knowledge or wasn’t sure what products they needed, their shopping journey and navigation wasn’t as simple. We recognised that we needed to provide a more customer focused experience and IGS offered that to us. Once we identify our customer needs, we can then offer relevant products.
This was all about recognising that different people have differing needs at different life stages, so it is important to talk to them in a language that matches their motivations. For example, we’ll know if a customer is recovering from a hip replacement or that they may be training for a marathon – both are concerned about their bone health and we recognise this through the questioning and selection of products. As a result, the customer will be presented with relevant products rather than a whole list of supplements that might or might not be relevant.
The IGS platform has allowed us to naturally interact with our customers and reassure them on their purchasing journey. It has also given us insights into individuals and their requirements so that we can personalise their experience and make recommendations based on their specific needs.
IR: What sort of data do you collect on customers to help you understand their needs and likes?
DOC: The IGS platform allows us to collect insights that helps us to understand the different mindsets and needs that drive purchase decisions in real-time. It helps us to understand which lifestyle demographics require most guidance. For example, through implementing IGS, we now know that increasing energy levels is a key outcome for a large demographic so we can therefore make relevant vitamin recommendations based on this knowledge
Technology and data collection should always assist and help your brand to understand the macro trends in your market so that you can better focus your efforts. It is also important to capture customer feedback post-sale so that you are aware of what works and what doesn’t and adjust when necessary.
IR: How hard was it to integrate the technology into your existing systems and processes – what should other retailers be aware of?
DOC: It was really simple and quick as it’s a cloud-based solution – and the data files feed in automatically along with customer reviews, promotions and product updates.
IR: What sort of uplift in sales has the new system delivered to you? Any figures on % change in ARPU, AOV, sales, traffic – anything to quantify the improvement?
DOC: We are delighted with the results – all key indicators KPI’s are increasing. We’ve also noticed a higher conversion for customers going through the guided sale, an increase in the number of items in baskets as well as much longer brand engagement times.
IR: What are the data and cyber security implications of knowing your customers better and how do you mitigate them?
DOC: While we use technology that allows us to really know and understand our customers better, we are fully GDPR compliant which means that we do not share data with any third parties.
IR: What next?
DOC: Intelligent guided selling technology allows customers to get quality advice online, which replicates to what you would get in-store with a real sales advisor. This means that customers are more likely to stay on your website and to find the right products, which in return makes them feel empowered to make a purchase based on their needs.
Going forward, IGS will help us to learn which customer segments require the most support, which journeys have the highest return on investment, where there may be gaps to develop new products and also where customers are most happy to combine products.
IR: More generally, what are the challenges for the health and beauty sector online – competition? Amazon? Price? Delivery etc… if you can outline the key areas
DOC: To win against the likes of Amazon, you need to be closer to your customers, and offer the same level of convenience as they do, but also offer something different. Health and beauty brands online can’t compete on price alone, therefore they need to give consumers a reason to come to them directly. This means taking steps to be as human as possible online, which is a gap that Amazon can’t necessarily fill. This means being able to offer personalised advice and support, in much the same way that you would in a face-to-face situation with a trusted in-store advisor.
IR: What can other retail sectors learn from this – so if you could outline sectors and what the learnings might be would be great?
Sarah Cameron, Director Customer Experience at Conversity: Consumers struggle with the complexity of choice and they are crying out for help. Our research – which polled 1,000 consumers from across the UK earlier this year - found that 81% believe that receiving recommendations for relevant products is important. Similarly, when it comes to the quality of the advice given by retailers when consumers shop online, 86% of millennials consider this important.This highlights the significant role that relevant recommendations play in consumers’ lives.
The level of service and personalised guidance that customers receive in stores is difficult to replicate online. This is especially the case in sectors such as telecommunications, electronics, skin care and computing. However, tools such as IGS technology, Artificial Intelligence and VR all have the potential to bring increased convenience and personalisation by providing customised product recommendations and answers to simple questions.
While online customer service experience can’t necessarily ever replicate the role of a human in a store, there is still a huge need for retailers to guide customers through their shopping journey online and across different channels. If they fail to offer relevant real-time based recommendations, they risk a drop in sales and customer advocacy.