We’ve all heard the story about how in 2012 Target exposed a teenage girl’s pregnancy by sending baby-product coupons to her house based on her recent spending history. And while the mass-market retailer caught a volley of negative criticism for outing the underage shopper’s situation before she’d told her parents, there was no denying the company’s on-point prediction—or the potential it presented to increase basket size.
But let’s be honest: It’s one thing to make suggestions based on past purchases; it’s a little stranger to send an “I know what you were looking at online” e-mail. At some point personalization crosses the line from cool to creepy.
That’s where Shoptelligence comes in. The “unified commerce personalization engine” recently emerged from stealth mode after two years to personalize the shopping journey for all retail channels without getting too personal.
“The benefits of personalization online are well known. You get a very significant double-digit lift in average order value and you get a double-digit lift in conversion. But some of those benefits are not really available in-store because of the need for clickstream data (the trail of digital breadcrumbs a user leaves behind as they click around a website),” explained Laura Khoury, CEO and founder. “Essentially, Shoptelligence is a dynamic recommendation engine that helps shoppers find the best items for them in fully coordinated ensembles, which helps retailers increase basket size and delivers a higher level of service to shoppers.”
Think of it as something of a “digital smart stylist,” that seamlessly plugs into other retail solutions for mobile apps, beacons, e-commerce and more to serve up recommendations using a medley of artificial intelligence, enriched product data and consumer engagement.
“We are the only solution that does not require clickstream and transactional data,” Khoury pointed out, adding, “Shoptelligence can be deployed in all channels, especially in-store, and can work with just product data alone to deliver margin-maximizing ensemble recommendations.”
Say, for instance, that a shopper steps into an apparel store looking for new work clothes but not everything in stock is suitable; Shoptelligence can generate a complete ensemble based on an appropriate top and the consumer can tweak it according to her budget and style. Then, if she’s comfortable with the retailer knowing who she is, the technology can incorporate past purchases into the mix—which can help make up her mind if it happens to be a top that’s a higher price point than she would usually go for. “If she sees it 15 different ways, with a pant she bought last year or a jacket she bought earlier this year, she’ll be much more likely to purchase that top,” Khoury said.
And it empowers consumers and salespeople alike, she added. “We’re providing a tool that provides consistency across the entire sales associate force,” she said. “Furthermore, after the customer has purchased something using the unified omnichannel engine, that associate is able to send ensemble suggestions post-purchase to get them to come back.”
Basically, it’s about building a better shopping experience by bringing the best of the web to brick-and-mortar stores in a manner that will engage the pinch-swipe-zoom generation.
“Our ability to serve the anonymous customer is unprecedented,” Khoury said, adding, “The known customer gets a very differentiated and valuable experience which is now a quid pro quo that they’re willing to give for that additional service, and really helps retailers boost the level of service in their loyalty program.”