TECHNOLOGY

Patio furniture marketer makes product recommendations personal

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

RST Brands has found a way to suggest the most relevant new products to its online shoppers.

The patio furniture company is readying to launch Recommendations Web, a solution that automates new product recommendations. Integrated within NetSuite’s Bronto Marketing Platform, the solution uses a combination of custom business rules and predictive models to automate dynamic, personalized product recommendations for e-commerce websites, without the need for extensive technical support.

“Seeing what the recommendations tool has done for our emails, I cannot wait to get Recommendations Web live,” said Matt Grimm, director of e-commerce at RST Brands. “Having a tool like this live on our NetSuite SuiteCommerce site will change how we interact with our site visitors.”

Recommendations Web uses consistent branding and appearance of product recommendations across channels, while guiding customers down the path to purchase with tailored recommendations. The user-friendly solution also enables marketers to quickly and easily create business rules, select predictive rules, then customize the display layout to personalize content in a manner designed to maximize conversion and engagement.

The solution also enables users to apply the same set of recommendations on multiple pages, minimizing the need to update or implement custom code when recommendations rules or designs change, according to Bronto.

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Study: ‘Shoppable moments’ drive customer purchases

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Retailers are opting for personalized content and unique experiences to grab more wallet share among digitally influenced customers.

Today’s shopper is in search of more memorable interactions and shoppable moments across touchpoints. However, these influencers need to move beyond traditional campaigns, and toward search, social media and the power of artificial intelligence (AI), according to “Enabling Experience-Driven Commerce Anytime, Anywhere,” a report from Avionos.

For example, customers want to be engaged the minute they begin searching for merchandise — a process that two-thirds (66%) of consumers begin on Amazon or Google. A third of respondents (33%) said they begin their search on Amazon, and 32% begin with a Google search.

Social media is also becoming an active commerce channel in the new digital landscape. However, retailers need to look beyond using influencers to drive purchases. For example, 60% of consumers have never purchased a product promoted by a celebrity or social influencer, but more than half of consumers (55%) have made a purchase through a social media channel, such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Instead, contextualized content inspires shoppers and drives their confidence. More than half (54%) of shoppers said they feel more confident in their online purchases if the retailer offers detailed product specifications. Meanwhile, 49% feel more confident if a product listing has extra content available.

Companies that can provide a combination of three factors — detailed product specifications, a user-friendly return policy and extra content — would result in almost 100% confidence (94% of respondents chose one or more of those three), according to the study.

“In the eyes of consumers, a product for sale online is only as good as the accompanying contextual information, product details and images. The better the content, the more confidence consumers have in a brand,” the study said.

Despite the vast amount of product information available online, shoppers believe that physical retail is still relevant. In fact, a majority of consumers (63%) prefer to purchase big-ticket items, like electronics or furniture, in a store. Meanwhile, 52% said they prefer to research these products on desktop or mobile devices.

Customers also expect AI to streamline shopping experiences, especially as more shoppers adopt voice-assisted devices within their homes. In fact, 77% of respondents said the increase in voice assistants being used for ordering has positively impacted their perception of e-commerce. Meanwhile, nearly half (42%) of consumers feel that AI will lead to faster checkouts.

“While online shopping is now the norm for most consumers today, the in-store experience still plays a role in enhancing the overall shopping experience. Brands and retailers can bring the online and offline worlds together by embracing tactics like using physical locations as showrooms, leveraging digital to offer more information about a brand’s story or products, or enabling services to buy online and pick up in stores,” the study said.

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Study: More companies warming up to biometrics for authentication

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

To arm themselves against increasing cyber-threats, more organizations are turning to biometrics technology.

That’s according to a new study from authentication solution provider Veridium, which found that among the surveyed companies, which included retailers, that experienced a data breach, 63% are implementing or planning to add biometric authentication to prevent another one. The study was conducted among 200 U.S. senior IT decision makers who work in various industries, including retail, manufacturing and finance, among others.

According to the data, 99% of IT decision makers reported that they are currently using passwords in their organizations. Yet, only 34% of respondents are very confident that passwords alone can protect data sufficiently.

Eighty one percent of IT decision makers think biometric authentication secures their company’s data better than passwords alone. Further, the majority of respondents (86%) agree that biometrics is the most secure authentication method for both organizations and consumers to use.

The main reasons influencing their usage of biometric authentication include overall better security (63%), increased workforce productivity (54%), and better accessibility (50%), the study revealed.

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