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Petit Bateau Case Study

  • PRODUCT: Recommend™
  • CHALLENGE: Embark on a personalization initiative centered on enhancing the online customer experience, particularly for high-spending shoppers.
    • 3x increase in sales attributable to recommendations
    • 18% click-through rate on add-to-basket page placement
    • Customers that use recommendations…
      • View 3x as many products
      • Purchase 2x as many products

“One of our add-to-basket page recommendation placements delivers a stunning 18% click-through rate. It’s impressive to be able to engage consumers with additional products that late in the purchase process.” – Christel Hennion Marketing & Digital Director, Petit Bateau.

Iconic French brand Petit Bateau is a leading apparel manufacturer whose signature nautical shirt has been an emblem of multi-generational style for babies, children and adults worldwide for over 120 years.

For the company, personalization has been a theme that permeates every business initiative. Marketing and Digital Director Christel Hennion notes that “We are a premium brand, and personalization is a unique way to enhance the brand perception of our customer base and to align our service levels to the quality of products we offer.”

A few years ago, Petit Bateau partnered with Avail Intelligence (acquired by RichRelevance in May 2013) to implement product recommendations on their item and add-to-cart pages. As the retailer underwent a major site redesign, it decided the timing was right to partner with RichRelevance on a personalization initiative that was broader than pure recommendations, centered on the online customer experience.

Broadening the scope of personalization

After implementing product recommendations with Avail several years ago, Hennion recognized that recommendations are a standard feature that customers expect online. Given that recommendations were essentially table stakes—or a foundational layer—upon which to build additional personalization, she sought a partner that could grow with her company’s ambitions.

Hennion was ultimately won over by RichRelevance’s retail industry expertise, precise merchandising controls and strong customer references. “The best practices and roadmap that were shared via a comprehensive proposal from RichRelevance convinced me of the full potential of the partnership,” says Hennion. “In addition, because we are a premium brand, it is of critical importance that we are able to manage our brand’s look and feel at all times. We had to disqualify any solution that lacked this capability.”

Hennion was also impressed by the breadth and depth of retail leaders worldwide that rely on RichRelevance as a partner—including key French brands like Priceminister, Kiabi, Darty and 3Suisses.

Uncovering customer insights

Since partnering with RichRelevance in August 2014, Petit Bateau has deployed Recommend™ on the majority of its site pages—home, category, search results, item, add-to-cart and cart—on five sites (France, UK, Italy, Germany, Belgium).

A year ago, the business set aggressive targets in terms of conversion, and personalization played an important role in this objective. The amount of sales influenced by recommendations has tripled since deployment of Recommend, validating the best practices that determined the actual recommendation placements on various pages.

In addition, further analysis uncovered that Petit Bateau’s highest-spending customers were the heaviest users of recommendations; they use recommendations as a means to navigate through the product catalog. These customers viewed on average three times as many products and bought twice as much as the average customer. “Enhancing our loyal shoppers’ experience is key for us,” says Hennion. “They account for a very large part of our revenue, convert better and generate a higher AOV.”

Hennion believes that when you look at the shopper segments that use recommendations and compare these results to other discovery and merchandising solutions, recommendations are the preferred means of engagement.

“Regardless of whether they have a precise idea of what they’re looking for, recommendations expose the catalog, provide suggestions, alternatives and even ideas…. Serendipity is hard to come by with search engines, but recommendations provide this,” observes Hennion. “One of our add-to-basket page recommendation placements delivers a stunning 18% click-through rate. It’s impressive to be able to engage consumers with additional products that late in the purchase process.”

Although Petit Bateau has implemented Recommend throughout various pages on several international sites, Hennion’s team plans to deploy product recommendations into emails (both transactional and promotional), and are exploring Discover™ (personalized search and browse) and Build™ (API-based personalization tools) to develop a robust omnichannel personalization strategy in ongoing partnership with RichRelevance.


Consumer Electronics Case Study

  • RETAIL SEGMENT: Household appliances, multimedia, bedding, custom kitchens
  • PRODUCT: Recommend™ & Engage™
  • CHALLENGE: A multinational electrical retailing company was looking for the ability to create impacting personalized experiences at every customer interaction across multiple sales channels. However with a large and complex product portfolio, the company needed an automated solution to exceed their customers’ experience.
  • RESULTS: 5% revenue lift from Recommend

Introducing Personalization Across Customer Touchpoints

In 2013, a multinational electrical retailing company partnered with RichRelevance as their personalization provider due to the breadth of personalization solutions available and the versatile features, which were available across multiple channels. Also important to them was the stability of the RichRelevance Relevance Cloud™ platform and its ability to absorb the high peaks in their traffic, whilst still delivering efficient response times and a great user experience.

This electrical retailing company implemented Recommend™ in 2013. Recommend is a data driven personalized product recommendations solution, which automatically suggests products to shoppers based on browsing modes and preferences. Recommend has been progressively deployed across the Darty website – on the home page, category pages, search result pages, item pages, add to cart page and soon the cart page.

Across the website, Recommend yields an average click through rate (CTR) of 3% and contributes to over 5% of the revenue of their websites.

Advanced Merchandising Drives Increased Cross-Sell

In line with their customer service philosophy, this company felt they wanted to go one step further and anticipate customer needs based on what a shopper is considering or selecting to purchase, by suggesting complementary items, accessories or even compatible maintenance products. For example: scale remover for a kettle, lenses for a camera or connection leads for TVs. With so many products and accessories and such stringent compatibility criteria, Darty was facing the need to manually develop these product bundles.

The RichRelevance Advanced Merchandising tool was a natural extension to Recommend, providing the ability for them to anticipate customer needs with complementary and compatible products. The Ecommerce Director at this retailer explained the features he loves:

“The advanced merchandising tool is user-friendly and intuitive, you can see immediately the output will be based on the criteria selected. As it can rely on regular expressions it doesn’t matter if some parts of our product catalog don’t have a broad set of attributes. Using Advanced Merchandising we have seen some great productivity gains as all the rules support the evolution of the product catalog. For example, once we’ve created a cross-sell rule for a category or sub-category, any new products added to the catalog will automatically pick up the right rules and cross sell products associated with it. This is invaluable and saves us a lot of time.”

Advanced Merchandising is used to help shoppers quickly and easily identify other items they might need, saving them the time of searching separately. This shortcut to relevant products maintains the customer in the conversion funnel as they can add the item to cart directly from the product recommendation. The Advanced Merchandising tool is enabled on pages on this retailer’s website lower down the conversion funnel such as the item pages and cart pages.

The Ecommerce Director went on to comment on the results they are seeing from recommend™ Advanced Merchandising, “Proposing accessories and complementary items to the customer is very powerful. We have seen some really encouraging engagement metrics, such as click through rate and add to cart rate on the suggested products using Advanced Merchandising. Metrics are strong in all areas, in particular in the small appliances category where we have CTR as high as 10%.”

Engaging Customers with Personalized Content

With a lot of content across multiple topics and products, this retailer saw an interest to go beyond product recommendations and leverage personalized content to support their customers in their decision process and drive additional revenue. They needed a solution to help segment and target tailored content to the right shoppers at the right time.

In mid 2015, they implemented Engage on their website. The placements included the top of the homepage on the hero banner carousel, as well as on the category and sub category pages on 3 different locations – top carousel and two placements at the bottom of the page. In addition, they implemented Engage on the homepage of their mobile site.

They currently have up to 50 recommendation rules that range from evergreen rules that rotate banners from the top categories of the website on the homepage carousel, to new proposals after cart abandonment on specific categories and products.

The ECommerce Director is delighted with the results; “We measure customer engagement with our content by analyzing the click through rate of the personalized content. We have witnessed click through rates on the homepage three times higher for personalized banners verses generic ones.”

The ability of Engage to target content to specific audience segments, means they can offer trade brands the capability to reach shoppers that match the profile of their target market. This helps both drive awareness of the brand as well as improve conversion rates through incentives and promotions.

Through product recommendations, advanced merchandising and content personalization, they have been able to significantly improve every part of the customer experience across key touchpoints.


Why Personalisation Should Be at the Heart of a Retailer’s Customer Strategy

IDC’s research shows that personalised experiences deliver higher engagement, improved experience, increased spending, and better customer loyalty.