Personalizing e-commerce: Top takeaways from the Glossy Summit

At this week’s Glossy Summit in Miami, centered on mastering the modern retail experience, executives from top brands and retailers met in groups to discuss the biggest issues on their minds today. Group 1 focused on the personalization of e-commerce, including how much is too much and what strategies are most effective.

Understanding personalization
“I feel like a lot of brands say they’re doing personalization, and they’re not. Or they’re using a very, like, ‘We put your name in an email subject line.’ That, to me, is not personalization. I still think we have a ways to go in terms of retailers becoming advanced in personalization.”

“It’s the same thing with AI. I feel like everyone says they’re doing AI, but it’s not AI, it’s not machine learning. It’s software that has existed for five years.”

“We keep talking about segmentation and ‘how to market to that group,’ but this isn’t about groups, it’s about an individual. If personalization is what you’re talking about, and you have 200 million shoppers, then you have 200 million ways to reach them. In a group that’s 18-24 years old, you could have an 18-year-old with two kids, and you could be an 18-year-old graduating from Columbia, Why are we still grouping people into old-school categories? They don’t mean anything.

“True personalization is on the individual level, but that’s not scalable for a lot of businesses yet.”

Personalizing effectively
“ROI is almost immediate and conversion rate goes up when we personalize emails. We’re making the experience better and more tailored to the customer.”

“When people get our back-in-stock alert and they’re ready to buy, that’s our happiest customer — and it makes conversion rate higher. We are learning so much about the customer by them just indicating what they wanted that we didn’t have. It’s another data point that will allow us to personalize in the future — and it’s feedback we can give our partners: We had more demand than you had product.”

“Luxury personalization is where we’re struggling most. What we’ve been doing that has been working well, more in our international markets, is using artificial intelligence to clench [customers’] discovery in creating personalization and curation — not in the actual products, but in the product recommendations.”

“You can gather quite a lot of attitudinal data on how things make consumers feel, and use that as positive seed sets to build out experiences and to curate — making [customers] want to go to a store to ask for your products overs someone else’s. “

“Every single retailer, when you talk to them about personalization or when you start mentioning the plans and what you want to do, they start jumping for joy. They all want to [personalize] — whether it’s a question of resources on their side, I don’t know.“

“We do a bit, and we’re going to do much more personalization through our newsletters. We’re a little bit unsure as to where to start and where to stop. We’re known for our original product and our strong point of view, and I think there can be too much personalization.”

“Inspiration gets lost in the idea of personalization.”

“It’s not just the marketing department or the customer experience that needs to think about personalization, it’s going to impact the whole company.”

“There’s a fine line between when personalization is welcome and when it’s not. If you are searching for something specific and you know what you want, you almost don’t want that intervention. It can be intrusive.”