How Systems of Insights Power the Shopper Experience

What is the secret of retailers that engage shoppers and convince them to add more items to the cart? What is that magic engine that knows what shoppers need and suggests matching items at the right moment in the journey to purchase?

According to Brian Hopkins at Forrester, a successful, engaging shopper experience depends on the ability of a business to gain fast insights that result in meaningful action. “These ‘systems of insight’ will be the engines that power the digital business,” says Hopkins.

It’s those insights that drive the personalized experience, whether it’s delivered by a recommendations engine, a personalization platform, or a personalized discounts and pricing tool. Businesses that have this ability to discover critical insights of shopper behavior and act on them in real time, while the user is on site, are the ones who will stand above the competition.

Do you know what is it that drive shoppers to purchase one item over another? Was it because of competitive pricing, an attractive presentation of the right number of relevant items, or was it the targeted offers personalized to each shopper? To answer such business questions in the eCommerce space, we rely on the power of behavioral analytics. Behavioral analytics enables us to do a time-series analysis of the shopper actions throughout the entire customer journey from an ad click to a confirmed purchase, which leads to data-driven insights.

Behavior analytics that rely on raw data of user events collected from different customer touch points is exactly this “system of insights” that feed and guide the engagement systems, which work together to influence the customer experience and conversion. The combination of insights-driven engagement systems and advanced analytics capable of conducting fast queries based on behavioral segmentation and in real time, is the secret behind most successful businesses in general and eCommerce business in particular.

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Here are a few examples of how insight-driven engagement engines deliver personalized experiences to shoppers at the right time to push them towards purchasing.

Recommend Relevant Products to Shoppers at the Right Time

A deep analysis of all events across all channels result in product affinity insights that power businesses with the ability to provide the right recommendation with high chances for conversion. Imagine being able to answer complex business questions such as: Are shoppers who viewed one product line likely to buy another item from that line or a complimentary item? Which items do shoppers tend to buy together? Which one do they buy first? What causes shoppers to search and purchase the same product on a competitor’s site?

Those familiar recommendations of items that are likely to be viewed and purchased together, known to retail professionals as Next Best Offer, are driven by recommendation engines guided by insights. In this eBay example it might be an analysis that showed that shoppers who buy specific sundresses are also likely to view and buy similar sundresses in that same style.

Another, less familiar but powerful example is of a successful retailer that performed an advanced path analysis and found that many of the visitors to the men’s department also shopped in the sports department, added products to their cart and then continued on to the hardware department.

Behavioral path analysis gives insights into the popular paths of shoppers and the different categories of preferred products. Whether product or category recommendations, effective next-best offers delivered to shoppers increased loyalty and engagement. These types of insights are critical for promoting relevant suggested products from the right categories to drive higher engagement.

Engage Shoppers at Every Step of the Customer Journey

Shoppers crave a particular experience when they shop, whether offline or online. An attractive display of product items and information, a good price and easy checkout experience, a feeling of a personal relationship by receiving a personalized discount or personalized offer — each action is a vital step in the shopper journey to purchase and feel that we’ve received a pleasant experience that leads to results. Generally speaking, that means a good bargain for whatever we’ve come to buy (and possibly more items offered along the way).

It’s challenging to deliver this experience for each shopper at every opportunity. According to Forrester, while 74% of firms say they want to be “data-driven,” only 29% say they are good at connecting analytics to action. But retailers who have systems of insight that power these engagement engines can rest assured. They’ll easily be part of that 29%.

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