Build.com

  • RETAIL SEGMENT: Home Improvement
  • PRODUCT: Recommend™
  • CHALLENGE: Build.com, ranked #80 on the Internet Retailer Top 500, sought a personalization partner to deliver targeted, relevant content across all shopping channels to their customers.
  • SOLUTION: Recommend™ personalized product recommendations implemented site-wide on seven Build.com websites.
  • IMPLEMENTATION: Seven sites (with multiple recommendation placements on multiple site pages) implemented in eight days
  • RESULTS:
    • Page Views: +16%
    • Orders: +14%
    • Items per Order: +11%
    • Revenue per Session: +32%

“Great personalization really fuels an intuitive shopping experience, based on my behavior, likes, and profile data. It’s a seamless experience that caters to me as I move throughout a site.” – Justin Bergson Director of Engagement and Personalization Build.com

For Build.com, the third-largest online home-improvement company, it’s all about creating a unique shopping experience—from inspiration to installation.

As an online category leader in plumbing, lighting, door hardware and ventilation, the retailer is singularly committed to maintaining its reputation as a trusted resource for its home improvement customers.

Personalization plays a key role in creating this backbone of trust for the homeowners, contractors and others who seek an end-to-end solution on any of the Build.com family of ecommerce sites.

In July 2013, Build.com partnered with RichRelevance to explore how they could deliver highly relevant and curated experiences—through recommendations, offers or content—at every possible customer touch point. The resulting gains in customer engagement and conversion since partnering have been significant, and include a 16% lift in page views, a 14% lift in orders and a 32% lift in revenue per session, for shoppers that interact with recommendations.

“Great personalization really fuels an intuitive shopping experience, based on my behavior, likes, and profile data. It’s a seamless experience that caters to me as I move throughout a site,” says Justin Bergson, Director of Engagement and Personalization at Build.com.

Bergson is keen to incorporate data analysis and benchmarking in order to enrich the customer experience. “At Build.com, we live and breathe data. Every decision we make is a data-driven one. RichRelevance plays right into that—the robust reporting and the amount of insight we’re able to glean gives us confidence in our decisions,” says Bergson.

Transitioning to RichRelevance for Data-Driven Personalization

Product recommendations as a solution were not new to Build.com, which had worked previously with two other vendors—one that had an add-on personalization solution as part of its ecommerce package, and another that “ recommend™ was a stand-alone personalization vendor. While the first vendor integrated seamlessly with the company’s existing analytics platform, getting personalization just right required a high level of customization from the internal team. The second vendor lacked the functionality and capability to customize and build out segments, or to create the frictionless personalized experience Build.com was searching for.

Ultimately, Build.com made the decision to partner with RichRelevance based on the sophistication and large number of Recommend’s algorithms (125+) and the system’s massive customization abilities. “RichRelevance has customization abilities that are four to five times that of competitors, and has targeting capabilities built into the solution—with no separate vendor needed—and that was very appealing. The system had the equivalent of a lot of hard coding we were already doing. The fact that copy could be swapped out by our merchandising team and there was no heavy JavaScript required was ideal, “ says Bergson.

In fact, once both RichRelevance and Build.com teams engaged on the initiative, implementation for seven Build.com sites was completed in a record eight days, with multiple recommendation placements on pages throughout all sites—home, category, item and cart pages. Integration for recommendations in emails was also completed in a non-standard fashion—using a server-side API call instead of an image-map integration.

Guiding the Customer on the Path to Purchase

As passionate as Bergson is about leveraging data to make the right decision for the customer, he firmly believes that the human element is irreplaceable when it comes to what he calls “customer fingerprinting” on the path to purchase. “We were really looking for a fully fledge personalization experience—from the beginning of the purchase funnel through to post-checkout,” says Bergson.

To continue the online conversation with Build.com’s customers, he plans to implement RichRelevance’s targeted promotions and content solutions in addition to recommendations onsite and in email.

His multi-pronged approach to personalization is part of a grand vision. “We approach personalization like stepping stones. It’s not just about recommending products, but actual rooms—with custom tags and content. Not only do I want to help customers purchase the right faucet, I want to share the ‘how to’ guide for installing that faucet at the same time,” says Bergson. “Or maybe we’ll recommend a room and matching products, which might come from different manufacturers but share the same finish and style. That’s the true power of personalization—when smart, behavior-based algorithms can pave the way from inspiration to installation.”

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