How Big Data can help retailers optimise mobile

Cross-channel-optimised mobile search and discovery solution provides an answer

Mobile devices are working their way into every facet of our lives these days. For instance, according to Accenture Interactive, 72 per cent of consumers ages 20 to 40 now use mobile devices to comparison shop while in retail stores.

The problem for retailers? The majority of them leave without making a purchase with their smartphone or tablet; they purchase online-often using a different device, such as a desktop PC.

How do you track the success of your marketing under these circumstances and ensure that you are delivering your customers the best possible experience? BloomReach, which specialises in Big Data marketing applications, believes Big Data provides the answer.

BloomReach today took the wraps off BloomReach Mobile, a cross-channel-optimised mobile search and discovery solution built on the company's signature Web Relevance Engine technology.

Follow Transactions From Mobile to the Ultimate Purchase Channel

Joelle Kaufman, BloomReach's head of Marketing, said that creating an excellent mobile experience and then being able to follow a transaction from mobile to the desktop, for instance, is essential, because consumers make extensive use of mobile while shopping. However, they don'toften don't use mobile devices for the ultimate transaction. Instead, she says, users frequently shop with mobile devices and make the final transaction online.

"Mobile as a channel is almost insignificant from a commerce perspective," she said. "But it's not a direct channel. If you deliver a poor experience on the mobile phone, many customers who have that experience not only will leave your mobile website, they will not use your normal website and they won't go to your store."

BloomReach's answer is a Cloud-based Big Data application that continuously optimizes content mapped to the unique characteristics of a particular mobile visitor and the device that visitor is using. The application is designed to use a combination of web-wide and social data, natural-language processing and machine learning to provide dynamic categories and results that are unique and individual to the user.

For instance, you might search for "green floral dresses" and dynamically receive a set of results of green dresses with floral prints, even though the retailer's website was not set up with those categories. In addition, past transaction results might indicate that you have a preference for sleeveless dresses, allowing the system to present sleeveless green dresses with floral prints as the top results.

Cross-Channel Optimisation Allows Retailers to Follow Transactions

Using cross-channel optimisation, all this can take place across multiple devices, even if users never authenticate themselves. Cross-channel optimisation identifies anonymous, individual user profiles and determines if customers are likely the same person using multiple devices without customer authentication. BloomReach Mobile then uses these insights to create dynamic categories based on the shopper's on-site web and mobile activity, in addition to presenting the most relevant products and search suggestions.

"With the cross-channel optimisation, if we've identified the user, we can tell you what the mobile user bought when they went to the desktop," Kaufman says.

"Over 50 per cent of people we identify go to the same category page in both places. And over 30 per cent go to the exact same product," she adds. "Often they'll discover on the mobile phone and buy on the desktop or go into the store."

Avoid the Creepy Factor by Discerning Intent

Of course, the danger of such targeting is in making the customer feel spied upon. But Kaufman said retailers can avoid the "creepy factor."

"When you give somebody what they want, they appreciate it," Kaufman said. "When you try to infer what they want based on who they are, they're offended. Who says I'm shopping for me? Intent is everything. And the problem is that it's hard to discern. You have to understand language and behavior. We've built a system that's able to hone in on the scent of intent. The scent of intent is a really good thing to be able to inform what content you show me. Then give me the ability to naturally refine it."

To hone in on that "scent of intent," BloomReach collects data from 150 million Web pages and more than a billion consumer interactions. When a client signs on, BloomReach deploys a pixel on the customer's site and then simply listens for a period of 14 to 30 days while performing a deep crawl of the site.

Once that period is done, BloomReach mobile is capable of automatically creating personalized dynamic categories that group products relevant to a shopper based on shared attributes like brand, color, style, category, or even a shopper's preference for on-sale items, pins and likes.

As Kaufman likes to say, Crayola has a color library of 164 colours. BloomReach has a colour library of 1100.

Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud.

Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

Read more about applications in CIO's Applications Drilldown.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Un-complicating multi-channel marketing: 5 actionable steps

There’s so much choice available that customers can pick and choose who they buy from and where, when, and how it happens. They want to discover, research, evaluate, and purchase on their preferred channel. Give them that option, and they’re more likely to choose you. That’s the whole point behind the multi-channel approach.

Aaron Agius

Co-founder and managing director, Louder Online

People in vegan houses shouldn't throw bacon

Picture this. You’re at a Gourmerican burger joint chomping a cheeseburger, when an outspoken vegan friend starts preaching that you’re killing the planet. Last week, that same vegan downed a pricey glass of pinot before their flight to a far-flung destination, armed with their strongest mossie repellant and first aid kit. Anything amiss?

Abbie Love

Strategist, Ikon Communications

The role of the CMO is evolving: Are you keeping up?

My (amazing) vacation in the Galapagos Islands earlier in the year got me thinking about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. What does this have to do with the role of today’s CMO, you ask? Plenty.

Sheryl Pattek

Vice-president, executive partner

It’s excellent aiming to resurrect the complete within the hearts and minds of connected customers, moreover because the terribly relevan...

CMO Interview: How Kodak’s global CMO is bringing the brand back from the brink

Read more

Great to see ActiveCampaign's growth funded with some serious money.As a platform, it's up there with the usual suspects in terms of feat...

Lawrence Ladomery

CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 13 October

Read more


Kerry Edwards

Open Colleges taps into social for better student interaction

Read more

Or just go to sites like www.shopsthatshiptoaustralia.c... and others and be sure that the stores will send to where you live :-)


Why online shopping is like dating – RedBalloon CEO

Read more

Personalisation is the key. Customers demand a very relatable and well defined CX where the sincerity and understanding of their disposit...

Hitesh Parekh

In pictures: Improving cutomer experiences through smart personalisation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in