Finding inspiration at Drapers Digital Festival

The Drapers Digital Festival in London represents the largest gathering of ecommerce and digital fashion professionals. This year the entire event focused on the importance of building relevant and inspiring personalised experiences across in-store and online sales channels.

With a great line up of speakers which included Dan Rubel, group strategy communications director at Shop Direct, Josie Cartwright customer director at River Island, and Marc Rosen, Executive VP and President of Global Ecommerce at Levi Strauss, there were some key themes which manifested over the day; two way communication, inspirational experiences, data and mobile.

The event highlighted the importance of leveraging advanced personalisation that does more than simply personalise based on purchased items. Personalisation has evolved to understand and anticipate how the shopper thinks and will behave. When personalisation is capable of understanding what an individual likes or dislikes it can anticipate needs, inspire shoppers and curate one to one shopping experiences.

The mid-morning panel session featuring our very own, Perdeep Kanda, ruminated about the spectrum of personalisation articulating the impact of simple complete the look or product suggestion functionality to the more sophisticated personalisation which creates seamless shopping experiences across the entire shopper journey spanning touch points and devices. Perdeep added, for personalisation to be truly relevant it needs to happen in real time.

There is a fine line between personalisation that is relevant and personalisation that becomes creepy as Sophie Wooller, head of consult at iProspect UK wisely warned. She articulated that it’s essential to be cognizant of deploying personalisation that is ‘too creepy’, using an example of a campaign which followed her husband around the internet suggesting he take her to New York as ‘too personalised’ and therefore creepy.

So what is the key to being able to achieve inspirational personalisation? The speakers at Drapers all echoed that data, is of course the answer! Data is one thing retailers are not short of, but data alone isn’t enough, retailers need a system that can turn the data into something useful, at scale and in real time. This involves automation and specifically turning decisions over to AI, representing a challenge for retailers to shift their thinking and relinquish control.

If retailers want to be able to create truly inspirational customer experiences, they’ll have to put their trust in the machines.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harriet is Director of Marketing in EMEA for RichRelevance and is responsible for all marketing activities across the region.
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