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IRX 2012 PREVIEW Interview with Ewald Hoppen of Dutch retailer

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In our latest preview of one of our major events of the year, Internet Retailing Expo (IRX 2012), we asked speaker Ewald Hoppen, senior web analyst at Dutch retailer, about the powerful effect personalised marketing messages can have on sales.

Internet Retailing: I understand achieved high levels of return on its email campaigns by personalising marketing emails and website banners. What led you to do this in the first place, and how did you approach the use of personalisation?

Ewald Hoppen, senior web analyst at Dutch retailer We wanted to create more touchpoints with our customers but they were to be highly relevant. It is our firm belief that by providing highly relevant pieces of marketing communication it is possible to increase customer loyalty, brand equity and financial KPI’s. As we were already using state of the art tooling from Coremetrics, Unica and Responsys, the most logical step for us was to turn to these partners and ask them for their input. By using standard tooling (LiveMail, AdTarget and Campaign) and linking this up with Coremetrics partner Criteo, realizing these pieces of relevant communication turned out to be quite effortless.

IR: Is this a complex task or something that can be easily automated?

EH: When using the right tooling and the knowledge of your partners and possibly other external parties, it is my firm belief that if a company believes in this way of communication, setting it up need not be complex or time consuming.

IR: Can you summarise the results – and were you surprised by them?

EH: Results are better click through rates from email as well as bannering, and also a better follow through in the form of conversions. An interesting fact is that not much cannibalisation on other campaigns happens, so the added sales are almost all a ‘bonus’. We were not surprised by the direction of the effects, but the magnitude sometimes surprises us. Specially when you keep in mind that most of it is achieved via the uses of data and data sources already available.

IR: Would you advise other retailers to follow your example? What advice would you give them based on your experiences?

EH: Of course, the benefits are very clear and large. Work with a well thought-through plan. The basis is good quality data that is flexible, scalable and that you can combine across different sources. Find the partners that best fit you and your needs to build these data sources.

As I see it, this isn’t the hard part, because most of all you need a culture where there is focus on providing relevancy to your visitors and customers. When you have these elements in place; culture, the people to execute, tooling and data, then trust your partners to help you progress and move forward. And if you feel you lack the right partners, find new ones as it makes all the difference.

Find out more personalised email marketing firsthand from Ewald Hoppen of at Internet Retailing 2012 (IRX 2012). His presentation, Analytics, insight and being personal, is in the Enterprise Conference at 2.30pm on March 21.

Entrance to IRX 2012, which will be held at the NEC in Birmingham on March 21 and 22, is free. More than 4,000 visitors are expected at the event, which features an exhibition of 150 suppliers to the ecommerce and multichannel industries alongside a two-day learning programme, Selling in the Digital Age.

The programme features four conferences, dedicated to Mobile and Social Commerce, Fast Track, Enterprise and Customer Experience, as well as a series of workshops, learning sessions and demonstrations of the latest technology.

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