AI-enabled Emarsys facilitates 20% increase in Global Shop Direct revenue

A renewed focus on customer retention enabled by Emarsys

Shifting focus from direct customer response to retention, with the help of an artificial intelligence-enabled marketing platform, Emarsys, has seen Global Shop Direct obtain a 20 per cent uplift in revenue from automated product recommendations on its website.

After recognising the needs of its customers, plus preferred channels of communication, had changed, Global Shop Direct implemented Emarsys’ artificial intelligence (AI) enabled cloud marketing platform in 2016 to increase revenue through automation and improved personalisation. Now, the platform has enabled Global Shop Direct to increase its customers’ lifetime value by focusing on retention through improved engagement.

Global Shop Direct’s digital marketing manager, Maïna Cissé, said Emarsys’ automation and personalisation capabilities have been huge success drivers for the retailer’s campaigns, with the web channel solution allowing for personalised and relevant content to be displayed via its website to specific customers using AI, as well as real-time customer session data and historical CRM data.

The company has also successfully implemented Send Time Optimisation, which uses machine learning to analyse customer behaviour to identify times to send emails when they are most responsive, resulting in a 9.7 per cent increase in open rates. Across the board, it's seen a threefold increase in automated weekly newsletter revenue.

Global Shop Direct is now in the testing phase for its next stage of deployment, including using AI to decide what kinds of offers to give to a customer, based on previous behaviour and SMS marketing, she said.

“We had never been able to optimise win-back or abandoned cart campaigns prior to Emarsys,” Cissé told CMO.

“However, because real-time behavioural data is accessible through the Emarsys platform, these types of campaigns are now possible without further product implementation. Within four weeks of partnering with Emarsys, we had also experienced a significant boost in sales thanks to our first win-back campaign.

“Back in 2016, we increased the number of products in our portfolio, but were finding it really difficult to target appropriately, and have proper product recommendations, upsales and cross sales throughout the customer journey.

“We heavily rely on upsell and cross sell, and it was very manual process. We ended up looking for a platform to help personalise the product recommendations, instead of us using our gut feeling, and a platform to help us with automated campaigns, which was previously quite difficult to do.”

Cissé said the almost immediate 20 per cent increase in revenue from product recommendations after implemented Emarsys was a surprise, given the company was convinced it was already optimising well.

“The automated segmentation, and also the product recommendations via the website and newsletter, have made a massive impact. Now, it’s personalised and targeted based on browsing and past purchasing behaviour,” she explained.

“Emarsys first run through and segment the customer base, and identify product and category preferences, and also where they sit in lifecycle, and they identify platinum and gold customers. This all helps to offer very targeted product recommendations.

“Our first objective was to increase the value of our database, as we don’t get a lot of new leads, most of our contacts are past customers. For the first time we implemented a win-back campaign. We had a database with a high number of contacts, but previously we were never able to segment it that way, so we’d usually try to target active customers only, leaving out all these people who might have visited the website, or interacted with us via the phone.”

Cissé also said when it came to product recommendations, you can be as logical as possible and still not necessarily get it right, and implementing Emarsys really drove that home.

“We did a split test based on what we were doing before, before gradually decreasing our control group to identify if our previous strategy was efficient or not. We were convinced in the past we were optimising, but we weren’t expecting the 20 per cent uplift we got,” she explained.

Now that it has its retention strategy in hand, Global Shop Direct is next setting its sights on acquisition.

“Next we’ll be looking at how to use our data to look at CRM ads, and using Emarsys to develop lookalike audiences to target on social media and GDN, so this something we’re looking at testing in the next few months. It means us relying on machine learning to improve our strategy," Cissé said.

“We also tested our recommendations, which sends targeted offers to our customers, and through this we are noticing a huge chunk of our database don’t respond to discounts; it’s not necessary to activate them this way, it’s better if we offer the right product instead. So this is another area of AI we’re playing with."

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