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CDW Case Study

  • RETAIL SEGMENT: B2B, IT Products and Solutions
  • PRODUCT: Personalized Recommendations, Personalized Browse and Navigation
  • CHALLENGE: With 100,000+ products, 1,000+ partners and 5,000+customer-facing trusted advisors, CDW needed to effectively connect a diverse set of customers with the right items, ancillaries and servicesto meet their unique business goals.
  • RESULTS: RichRelevance’s personalization solution allows CDW to deliver an engaging, immersive and relevant customer experience tailored for industry, company and individual role, as well as unique goals and preferences

Founded in 1984, CDW is a leading multi-brand technology solutions provider to business, government, education and healthcare organizations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The company is ranked #199 on the Fortune 500 with nearly $15 billion in annual sales. Challenge CDW has a strong reputation for bringing together both technology and unrivaled expertise to solve organizational challenges and build IT solutions that companies need to succeed. With more than 100,000 products (from over 1,000 leading and emerging technology partners) ranging from discrete hardware and software to integrated IT solutions, CDW’s customers rely on the brand for ongoing strategic advice and proactive problem solving.

To deliver on this value proposition, CDW must create and sustain a personal connection with each client – from the first engagement throughout the entire customer journey. This includes delivering the most valuable and relevant customer journey online, in email and across the digital experience – as well as through personto-person consultation via dedicated account managers who work directly with customers across diverse industries and vertical markets.

This high-touch approach requires a detailed understanding of each customer’s history with CDW and their role within the customer organization, as well as immediate goals, preferences and requirements. It is not enough to simply anticipate customer needs and ensure the compatibility of products; CDW must also continually adjust for things like changing inventory and co-marketing agreements while also connecting customers with the right services to support their solution.


RichRelevance’s proven personalization solution allows CDW to bring together pertinent data and systems around every customer to provide the most relevant, memorable experience in every sales channel. The RichRelevance solution identifies and understands both implicit and explicit preferences, and leverages product compatibility and services attributes to deliver the best possible guidance [alt: experience] to customers. By optimizing personalized search results and recommendations – from email to the home page through the shopping cart – each individual has a unique experience tailored specifically to them.

Within this experience, CDW has advanced control over merchandising to ensure customers are connected to complementary products, services and accessories from strategic partners. In addition, CDW’s sales support and dedicated account managers gain access to individualized product and services suggestions in real time to improve service levels and add value to every call center interaction.

How it Works

Every digital experience is dynamically generated in real-time based on comprehensive data on products, services, individual and account history and omnichannel transactions and behavior (online, email, call center, others). RichRelevance’s advanced machine learning automatically selects the best-performing algorithm for a particular interaction out of 125+ personalization strategies. Real-time signals are fed back into the personalization engine to allow the experience to evolve and adapt in real time to changing preferences, contexts and needs.

The RichRelevance personalization solution is built on a fully customizable, enterprise-class architecture that prioritizes scalability, agility and flexibility in order to make personalization work for CDW’s customers. RichRelevance currently delivers over 1 billion decisions a day with industry leading speeds and uptime – a must-have for CDW’s customers.


CDW has established a long-term partnership with RichRelevance based on the value that personalization provides to its customers and its business. This includes continually adding new data sources as fuel for improved personalization, as well as expanding the number of personalized touchpoints offered to customers.

As CDW’s growth outpaces the US IT market, the company has seen measurable increases in sales and engagement as it connects customers to the right products and services. These include: 

  • Significant increases in both cross-sell attach rate and average order value 
  • Improved operational efficiency and merchandising effectiveness 
  • Improved product awareness and conversion through onsite search by delivering more relevant results

CDW continues to innovate personalization aided by a dedicated personalization expert from RichRelevance who provides strategic advice and thought leadership gleaned from other industries. CDW continually evaluates and evolves every aspect of its personalization strategy including: what and how to test; optimizing personalized placements; instrumentation and technical aspects. RichRelevance’s guidance also extends to data science advancement to develop new personalization strategies, such as custom segmentation specific to CDW’s B2B framework.

“RichRelevance and personalization are an essential part of our effort to take the power of our products and make them work for our customers,” said CDW. “We bring together the very best performing and most relevant products and services to unlock value for our customers at every engagement – whether replacing a laptop or bringing a new restaurant online. Personalization is essential to providing the best possible experience to our customers and RichRelevance is a valued, long term partner in helping us achieve this goal.”


  • PRODUCT: Find™
  • CHALLENGE: With more than 2 million unique SKUs, needed to move beyond basic site search to provide ‘true personalization’ that is instant, individualized, accurate and exceeds shopper expectations.
    • Delivered initial ‘out of the box’ conversion increase of 7.3% – the biggest conversion increase has ever seen as the result of introducing a new tech capability.
    • Immediately enhanced brand perception & engagement by returning relevant results for queries averaging 2.2 words or less. Provide a better experience to high-value customers (40% of revenue comes from session with search).
    • The search experience at scale to help understand if shoppers are locating the items they wish to buy.

RelevanceTV: is the largest online consignment and thrift store in America with over 2 million unique items available for purchase. The company was recently named to the Internet Retail Hot 100 List for is unique business model and vision to help customers be environmentally sustainable while saving money on their favorite brands.

With more than 2 million unique SKUs, needed to move beyond basic site search to provide ‘true personalization’ that is instant, individualized, accurate and exceeds shopper expectations.

Large Industrial Distributor Case Study

  • RETAIL SEGMENT: Large Industrial Distributor
  • SOLUTION: Engage™
  • CHALLENGE: This case study highlights how Engage™ was used to optimize customer engagement— without having to invest intensive manual resources.
  • RESULTS: Using RichRelevance Engage™, this supplier achieved the following banner performance:
    • Increased AOV by 13%
    • Increased conversion by 116%
    • Increased revenue by 125%
    • Increased click-through rate by 34%

“What I love about Engage is that it takes us out of the equation in determining what customers would respond to best. Because Engage is based on algorithms, it helps us make that decision.” — Digital Marketing Manager

A large industrial distributor of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products and services to multifamily, hospitality, healthcare and government facilities across the United States and Canada. The industry leader carries more than 55,000 products on its website.

The digital marketing team overseeing promotions, email and display marketing and social media, had the daunting task of identifying and placing website banners to better expose a massive product selection and drive revenue from online visitors.

When it came to banners, they noted that “we were seeing poor results on home page banners. Nothing was working. Customers came and left and we simply weren’t getting a lot of traction.”

Moving personalization beyond product recommendations

The retailer tried different programs as an interim step to force banners based on what they thought would work, but then learned about the Engage™ product offered by their existing personalization provider, RichRelevance. Having used its Recommend™ product since 2010, they had already witnessed firsthand how personalized product recommendations help fuel the online path to purchase.

“As soon as we heard about Engage, we were super excited. Its features matched our goal of increasing banner engagement with our customers by leveraging segmentation and targeting, as well as self-optimizing capabilities,” said the digital marketing manager.

RichRelevance Engage maps individual shopper behavior against advanced targeting and audience segmentation tools so that marketers can deliver highly personalized campaigns with relevant content. Its ability to automatically optimize this matching saves valuable time and eliminates the need to run hundreds of manual A/B tests to get content personalization right.

The retailer implemented Engage in August 2013, and has seen significant success in its key metrics, including a 13% increase in AOV (compared to the website AOV of those who didn’t click on a banner), 116% increase in conversion and 125% increase in revenue (as compared to previous banner ad performance, for the latter two metrics).

“What I love about Engage is that it takes us out of the equation in determining what customers would respond to best,” says the team. “Because Engage is based on algorithms, it helps us make that decision.”

Seamless cloud implementation

Adding the Engage product to their site was seamless, and brought not only time savings, but additional benefits when it came to execution and learning. The Digital Marketing Specialist who manages online promotions and internal site display for the business, shares the details: “Before we implemented Engage, we only had one space to do any sort of marketing and banner messages. Other programs allowed us to display marketing banners on different pages, but were still very manual in terms of entering information for each individual target and segment. They involved a lot of people, and designers. With Engage, I’m saving at least several hours of time per campaign. Engage also now allows us to run 50 to 100 campaigns at a time, which we were never able to do before.”

Gleaning customer insights across the purchase journey

In addition, Engage is helping the team learn what customers respond to. “Customers weren’t responding to information or content like brand features and website resources, but were really engaging when it came to promotions.” They have also learned which verticals engage the most, and gleaned best practices to help optimize banner placement, based on their ability to monitor and measure campaign results through the Engage dashboard.

Previously, the digital marketing team only had the opportunity to deliver one banner per industry (out of five total served) per home page per month. Today, this retailer can serve banners not only on the home page, but also on key conversion pages like product, registration, and order confirmation pages—all while testing many different promotions. It is able to meet its goal of optimizing customer engagement via banners that expose the most relevant products to the most applicable shopper segments.

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