How Aussie brands are bringing personalisation into CX

Marketers from L'Oreal, Booktopia, Hello Fresh and Onthego share their efforts to make customer experience personalised

Personalisation is a cornerstone of delivering relevant and real-time experiences to customer that count. In our latest Food for Thought series with leading marketers, we asked three brands: What does personalisation mean for your marketing mix and how does it drive better customer experience?  

Christophe Eymery
Head of digital and media, L'Oréal A/NZ

Personalisation of the customer experience is a key focus for L’Oreal as part of our ambition to help each individual define and achieve their own beauty using relevant products and services.   

The first focus is in product manufacturing to meet consumers’ expectations and create new needs, and we have more than 5000 products available in Australia across our 26 leading beauty brands.  

Secondly, it is about personalised communication with consumers to drive awareness, consideration through education and social advocacy for those products.  

For the past three years, we have also been powering our data lead marketing with Salesforce. The first step was to build one centralised customer database. We then segmented it to achieve personalised communication in eDMs but also on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, advertising via the advertising studio. Yves Saint and Lancôme have been our pilot brands to test and scale precision marketing in Australia.   

In the US, Lancôme took a step further, taking product personalisation to the counter with Le Teint Particulier, a device to scan your skin to help you choose the best matching foundation and have it made at the counter.    

Moving forward, L’Oreal is continuing to expand its digital beauty service offering to offer a personalised experience at scale for consumers. Traditionally, the experience at the point of sale has been economically viable only in the luxe distribution channels like the department stores or Mecca and Sephora. But digital is giving us the opportunity to take this experience to mass retail environments.  

L’Oreal Paris’ Makeup Genius free to download mobile app is the best example to date: A beauty advisor in your pocket to discover, virtually try on and buy make-up looks or single products at Priceline online.

Wayne Baskin
CTO and deputy CEO, Booktopia

Meeting our customers’ needs and wants has required building a culture of experimentation through cross-team collaboration. We continue to invest in our customer relationships and personalise the experience we provide by gaining a deeper understanding of consumer journeys.  

Using purpose-built technology from Optimizely, we can continually test and optimise additional features by setting a business case, goal and target, then look at our site to see what we can change to achieve them.  

This is with the objective of attracting not only a wider range of buyers, but more buyers. As a result, the company has seen a 40 per cent hike in desktop conversion rate and a 50 per cent hike in mobile conversion rate. This was a big turning point for us, as we realised the importance of putting the customer first and really analysing their behaviour so that we could adapt accordingly.  

To effectively personalise customer interactions, we have leveraged experiments to get data-driven results. These experiments indicate behavioural trends, which we can then use to decide how to best improve our buyers’ experience. Sometimes what we run does not produce the results we expect to see either, however, a negative outcome can be just as insightful for basing decisions off as running an experiment that gets the reaction we expect.  

Wayne Baskin
Wayne Baskin

While we were running experiments in and around the checkout page, we found a minimalist and simplified approach to checkout worked more effectively than the common ‘more items you might like’ suggestion strategy. We ran this test across 50,000 customers and saw a 1 per cent increase in checkout, compared to if we distracted them and started showing them numerous other brands and subjects.  

We also discovered that having trust icons in our website header led to a 2 per cent increase in conversion rates. This is an invaluable learning when you look at our revenue of $100 million - those two icons are worth $2 million to our business.  

By utilising experiments to gain insight into consumer behaviour, we have been able to improve the performance of our website and how this impacts our conversion rate. We can justify our improvements and the new systems installed, and we can then monitor whether there is an increased conversion rate from the alterations we make. 

A few years ago, we rebranded our whole website and the user experience that went with it using A/B testing to assess the new website in terms of customer conversion rates. The revised version is simpler to use and allows us to see where customers experience difficulty.

Mick Spencer
Founder, ONTHEGO

Our business is built on personalisation and delivering an on-demand product at scale. The company was set up by me when I was at university, where I found a significant and fundamental flaw in the printed apparel space. I thought people weren’t getting what they wanted and the supply chain wasn’t technology or data driven. It was all just a big mess of data and information not going anywhere.

So I started to print shirts from my friend’s soccer team. A couple of months in, I received a massive order of 500 cycling kits and delivered in three weeks. None of my competitors could do them in less than 14 days. So I made it work and I also digitised all the patterns, and we worked hard to deliver the order well before the event even happened.

In five years, we built the company into a multi-million dollar business offering 210 products and five different key categories, from sport to industrial and trade.

Mick Spencer
Mick Spencer

Along that journey, what I’ve discovered was not only do I personally loved the product, but the personalised, customisable component brings people together towards a common cause or goal. What we provide is unique and personal to each of our customers. As a result, our customers are a lot more passionate about our products.

On top of this, because we don’t physically hold stock, we can invest our resources into technology and our website to deliver more personalised experiences for our customers as we continue to scale. At the same time, we can better leverage data to continue to improve those experiences moving forward, while continuing to invest in our streamlining and optimising our own backend technology platform.  

So our mass personalisation customer experience model is this: Whatever our customer wants, they can design it themselves and we can provide a really great, personalised and seamless experience from start to finish.

At the same time, we don’t lose focus on short term, mid-term and long-term goals and planning what is really achievable. Otherwise you can get easily overwhelmed. Transparency with customers is also really important, and engagement to understand what they really want, because inevitably, it is the age of the customer.

Tom Rutledge
Founder and CEO, Hellofresh

2017 has been a big year for us with some tremendous milestones relating to customer experience enhancements and development of operational capability to bring these about. As with all developments in the business, the changes were a product of much customer research and insight gathering.  

As a recipe development company, we facilitate the cooking of those recipes through ingredient delivery, and we know who is cooking them and when. As a consequence, we have millions of survey responses and we know a great deal about what Australians like to eat. This in itself is a great personalised message to be able to communicate in advertising and throughout the purchase process.  

Tom Rutledge
Tom Rutledge

Because of this, and the nature of our product and its importance in a family’s routine, we have a highly engaged customer base that helps us take the product forward. We have introduced a choice and preference framework to allow customers to opt for meals that they will love, but without overwhelming them with a dizzying array of options.  

As well as the choice framework, we’ve seen our Classic and Family products develop in different directions to the satisfaction of both customer bases. Underpinning both of these is the production facility commissioned earlier this year, which was custom built to support the product range that our customers told us they wanted. With its launch, we were able to leverage both our insight into Australians’ eating habits and our strong operational capacity. This allows us to continue to grow.  

All of these developments have helped to support the purchase process through continued word of mouth referrals. We have become more tailored and personalised in our communication to customers - both in terms of product and region - and the authority that comes from the expertise we have around eating habits and operational capability is a key differentiator that really helps us to acquire, and keep, well-fed customers.

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