eBay takes an ‘interest’ in mobile personalization
eBay wants to make it easier for customers to shop based on their interests, starting right on their mobile homepage.
The online marketplace launched a new feature on its app that curates items for users based on their hobbies, interests, and fashion styles. Called “Interests,” customers will see a homepage personalized with merchandise tailored to their preferences upon launching the app.
eBay asks users a series of questions, and then uses data and algorithms to uncover search patterns. Customer interests are matched with their browsing patterns, and the company uses these results to create a homepage with themes and items tailored to the user.
“Our shopping experience should be as individual as each shopper on eBay,” said Bradford Shellhammer, head of browse & personalization for eBay. “By asking people to tell us a little bit about their interests, we’re delivering a personalized store built around the things you care about most.”
Interests is currently available on eBay’s mobile app in the United States for iOS and Android. In the coming months, it will roll out to new platforms, including mobile-Web and desktop, as well as more markets around the world, according to the company.
Study: Apps can make or break customer loyalty—especially among Millennials
Retailer apps that offer value and high levels of functionality drive purchases — plus they are a catalyst for long-term customer loyalty.
Brand apps play a crucial role in brand affinity, as nearly half of consumers said a positive experience with a retailer’s app translates into greater loyalty, according to “The Brand App Experience: Value, Purpose and Brand Loyalty,” a report from WillowTree, a firm that designs and develops digital experiences.
According to the data, 67% of customers have downloaded brand apps, with those from banks, restaurants and retailers leading the charge. A majority of customers (68%) said that if they are loyal to brands, they will download the company’s app.
Loyalty is highest among Millennials (51%), who said that a positive brand app experience would make them more likely to purchase from that brand consistently. This is compared to 47% of customers overall, and 35% of Baby Boomers.
To ensure they can maintain this loyalty and drive customer engagement, functionality must meet customer expectations and deliver high value. For example, 65% of consumers expect promotions and exclusive deals; 59% expect access to loyalty programs, and 50% want to make purchases within the app. Respondents who had positive experiences through these and other services said they were more likely to make purchases, sign up for loyalty programs, use the app regularly, and increase their loyalty to the brand, according to the data.
“The brand app is much more than just another marketing channel — it is the cornerstone of a brand’s relationship with its customers,” said Tobias Dengel, CEO of WillowTree. “Our relationships to apps are deeply personal in nature, and an app’s quality and usefulness acts as an indicator of how much a brand cars about us. The brand app can no longer be a check-box item, especially in an extremely saturated market.”
Consumers who had a negative experience said they would make fewer purchases, not recommend the brand to others, and become less loyal to the brand. Others stated they would delete the app altogether. In fact, 43% have deleted up to a quarter of their brand apps, and 22% have deleted more than half of their brand apps, according to the study.
“The ability to foster a positive experience has enormous potential for brands looking to drive engagement and loyalty,” Dengel said. “It puts brands in a critical position to understand the role that the brand app plays in the customer journey, in the customer relationship, and the value they can build into these products. Otherwise they risk joining the vast ranks of deleted apps.”
Insights: Kroger’s new partnership allows it to ‘leapfrog’ Walmart and Amazon
The recently announced partnership with Kroger Co. and British online grocer Ocado illustrates a shift in online grocery retailing for both players. And it will give Kroger a head-start in realizing true profitability in online grocery in the United States.
Since 2014, Ocado has been exploring selling its technology and logistics expertise in a service model with an external retailer. The move now seems to have just hit its stride as it has partnered with Sobey, Casino and now Kroger in recent months.
The exclusivity of Kroger’s offer is unique because it keeps that technology out of competitors’ hands trying to get up to speed in the online grocery landscape in the U.S. This is a big win for Ocado — both because of the increased revenue but also the expanded international exposure.
This model — which is a pure-play retailer using its platform as service support — was very successful for Amazon a decade ago. And it could potentially be a similar game-changer for Kroger.
Ocado’s current logistics and technical expertise in supporting online grocery fulfillment in Europe allows Kroger to potentially leapfrog both Walmart and Amazon in this space. Not only does the knowledge make Kroger better positioned to succeed in e-commerce, but Ocado has also illustrated the ability to operate profitably in the e-commerce space, something yet to be realized in the U.S. across any major grocery retailer.