Showpo beefs up personalisation strategy with artificial intelligence

AI-optimised marketing platform increases revenue, drives customer engagement

Australian online fashion site, Show Pony Group (Showpo), is rolling out an AI-optimised marketing platform from Emarsys in a bid to deliver omnichannel experiences and enhanced personalisation as part of its marketing strategy.

The seven-year-old company is considered one of Australia’s fastest growing women's online retailers and currently sells to over 60 countries with more than 1.3 million followers. Revenues in FY16 were $35 million, and the company has set its sights on breaking through the $100m mark.

The move to adopt the AI-optimised Web Channel solution, which follows in the footsteps of other successful implementations of Emarsys technologies over the last eight months as it migrated away from MailChimp, aims to increase revenue, improve customer engagement and sharpen the company’s competitive edge, according to Showpo CMO, Mark Baartse.

“The Emarsys platform has helped us to achieve great results over the last eight months and, based on that success, we're now implementing other Emarsys solutions," he said. "In particular, we’re excited to use the data we hold with Emarsys to unlock personalised experiences on our website using its new Web Channel solution, and roll out a truly integrated omnichannel experience for our customers.” 

Showpo's CMO Mark Baartse
Showpo's CMO Mark Baartse

The latest platform includes Web ChannelAI, PredictAI, Automation Centre and Discovery solutions and will transform Showpo’s website into a highly personalised communication channel natively integrated into an omnichannel experience, Baartse said.

“It is allowing us to pull all of our customer data in one place and get as close as we can to the mythical single user view, which everyone talks about, but very few people achieve,” Baartse told CMO. “And then to execute that data in as many channels as we can.”

Specifically, the online player can target and treat website visitors differently with personalised content and offers, based on a clear understanding of their loyalty status through the CRM and real-time data.

“With only one member of the team using the Emarsys platform day-to-day, we need a system in place that allows us to focus on producing great content that will speak to our audience, rather than operational admin,” Baartse explained.

“Emarsys has found a sweet spot in the market by providing the right tools and levels of integration to support the growing needs of organisations like ours. The results we’ve experienced so far demonstrate how powerful marketing can be. We look forward to further increasing customer conversion, retention and win-back rates with help from Emarsys over the coming months.” 

The company has just started using the Emarsys Send Time optimisation feature, for example, which lets Showpo tailor-make customised experiences. Rather than saying an email gets sent at 7pm, communications are sent to every different user at a time where the platform has identified they are most likely to engage with their email based on previous usage patterns.

"This is great for us because before we were just guessing," Baartse continued. "Rather than doing an average, it actually allows us to really customise the experience for all different people and to create a personalised customised experience based on that intelligence.”

Showpro is also trialling  the use of Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey integration to gauge customer loyalty, from post-purchase and customer satisfaction surveys, to then provide the insight to the customer support and marketing teams. Insights derived from this data are leveraged to maximise interactions across the entire customer lifecycle, driving Showpo’s customer segmentation and further personalisation of individual campaigns.

Additionally, Showpo is investigating Emarsys’ Smart InsightAI tool for smarter targeting of customers to reduce churn whilst increasing engagement and the lifetime value of shoppers. 

Level playing field 

While it’s a constant battle for smaller players to compete against large retailers, Baartse said the latest martech tools help a ‘smaller fish in the sea’ like Showpo gain a competitive edge.

“We’re not the biggest company in the world and a lot of the martech platforms are very expensive, so we’re looking for a lot of value for money for what we're doing - and also to avoid integration," he said. "Integration is very expensive as well and so we’re looking for an approach that lets us standardise as much as possible on one platform.”  

The latest technology also helps the company enter new markets and gives the team the right tools to build on market momentum.

“It’s important to us as a business to communicate effectively with our customers, especially as we enter new markets and territories across the globe, including the US, UK and Germany. It’s vital that the team is empowered to deliver personalised, relevant and engaging content to our customers at the right time,” Baartse said.

Asked his main concerns as a CMO, Baartse said understanding the customer is a big one. “Understanding how to balance, communicating for brand and for value proposition, while at the same time being able to deliver on performance goals - that’s a big challenge for us.”

Importantly, the goal of personalisation is an area of increased focus at Showpo.

“We really believe different people have different needs, that they are after different things and they are at different stages of their lifecycle, both as a person and in their relationship with Showpo," Baartse continued. "We really want to see how we can customise the experience to meet their needs. We are still on the earlier stages of that journey, but we are definitely very keen to pursue that a lot further.”  

In other related news, Showpo has selected Adyen as its payments partner in line with its global expansion. Under the partnership, Showpo will be able to cater to the payment needs of customers from more than 60 countries around the world.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

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