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IRX 2014 PREVIEW Jane Dixon of RichRelevance on the importance of omnichannel personalisation

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Jane Dixon of RichRelevance , which specialises in developing personalised shopping experiences across channels, will be speaking at next week’s Internet Retailing Expo 2014 (IRX 2014). We caught up with her for a preview of her presentation.

Internet Retailing: At IRX 2014, you’re going to be talking about the importance of building a strategic roadmap for crosschannel personalisation. What kind of retailers need to be thinking about this – and why is it so important?

Jane Dixon, senior consulting manager, client excellence, EMEA at RichRelevance: Anywhere where you’re able to influence the customer purchase process there’s a role for personalisation.

What personalisation delivers ultimately is the ability to help close the deal. It’s about being able to offer up legitimate alternatives to the products under consideration, but it’s also about helping the customer discover new products and exposing areas of their catalogue that they might not find by themselves.

More common objectives which are to grow the value of the customer, increase basket size to help sell more product in. Any industry where those are objectives, then it’s useful.

It’s an easier proposition for bigger retailers, particularly where they’ve got a much, much bigger catalogue, the likes of Marks & Spencer or Tesco Direct, for example, stocking thousands of products. But it works equally for the smaller retailer as well. We work with the likes of Sweaty Betty, who have a smaller range. Even though they don’t have those thousands of products it works incredibly well for them because they can present products immediately that are in tune with specific interests.

IR: What’s the first step towards achieving crosschannel personalisation?

JD: I think in the simplest mode, it’s relatively easy to start implementing personalisation technologies on the core digital channels such as the website. Where we really start to implement value, we tie together all the different channels that connect to the customer, through emails, through mobile, in-store. That’s where it starts to become a bit more challenging.

IR: What’s the ultimate aim that retailers are heading towards – and what’s the benefit to them in achieving that?

JD: With crosschannel personalisation what we’re trying to do is understand the customer through all channels of engagement. What our customers’ customers are trying to achieve when they’re seeing a website through mobile is often quite different when they’re seeing it in store, through email, for example. It’s about understanding what the customer intends when they engage through the individual channels and how we can customise the proposition for retailers to match that intent. What’s core to that is being effective in collecting the data for those touchpoints and tying it together. The art in tying it together is less about big data exercises and more about good old-fashioned marketing and merchandising, and making it worthwhile for the customer. It can be a simple as encouraging email sign-in so the customer reveals themselves whether they’re in a mobile app or on the website to using loyalty cards which are matched online and in-store, for example, with retailers like John Lewis. Retailers that have catalogues can use personalisation data to help personalise call centre scripts.

At IRX I’ll be presenting how we’ve used personalisation tehnology and data to personalize point of sale technology – where the customer is making the final purchase we can create a much better customer experience by recognising the customer and offering them other products, if appropriate, that they might also like.

IR: Beyond your own presentation, what are you most looking forward to at IRX 2014?

JD: It’s great to network and talk to other providers at a big retailing event, but of course more importantly it’s about talking to our customers. Although we do that day in day out, you often get a different class of questions in an environment like that. We’re extremely responsive, we have a lot of the technology that we provide to our customers which has been developed in partnership with our customers.

At an event like IRX, we often get people we’ve worked with coming up to us and saying we’ve just seen this bit of technology and we’d really like something that works along these lines: is that something you can do? What’s really exciting about such an event is engaging in those types of conversations.

Jane Dixon, senior consulting manager, client excellence, EMEA at RichRelevance, will be speaking on Omnichannel personalisation: building a strategic roadmap for cross-channel personalisation in the Internet Retailing In-Store conference at IRX 2014.

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