Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Digital Transformation: A CXO's Guide

How retailers across the globe are undergoing digital transformation through personalization

Retailers, particularly those in the beauty sector such as L'OCCITANE en Provence, are using Qubit for personalization to increase sales and profitability.

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Jirsak, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Retailers are using personalization technology to change how data is collected on customers as part of an overall digital transformation strategy.

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One personalization platform provider is London-based Qubit, which has customers including NET-A-PORTER, ColourPop, Ulta Beauty, Farfetch, Vestiaire Collective, Ubisoft and L'OCCITANE en Provence. Every week, Qubit is used to personalize approximately $600 million in online sales.

Retailers working with Qubit can collect behavioral data from customers to use for personalization. In July, Qubit integrated with Salesforce Commerce Cloud to automate the integration of Qubit's data layer for ecommerce companies. The resulting product is known as the Qubit Pro platform.

Qubit enables retailers to deploy personalization techniques that go beyond basic targeting and product recommendations, whether they're a first-time visitor or a long-time customer. The technology combines data collection methods, advanced segmentation capabilities and personalization techniques.

"Ecommerce companies no longer see personalization as a nice to have, but as an essential way to engage with their visitors," said Graham Cooke, Qubit's CEO. "We're working with brands that are leading the way when it comes to creating data-driven customer experiences. The Qubit Pro platform is a valuable stepping stone for Commerce Cloud customers wanting to integrate with a technology dedicated to powering personalization initiatives."

Why it's a digital transformation for retailers

Personalization has required a digital transformation for many retailers. In the not-so-distant past, online customers had to search an entire site to find a product. Now, with personalization, products are suggested to the customer based on a variety of data points, including their online browsing history and previous purchases.

"Ultimately this is about retailers driving more revenue and being very competitive within their sector -- and these are already very competitive sectors, with categories like beauty an inherently competitive area," said Leah Anathan, chief marketing officer at Qubit.

Qubit also has Qubit Aura, an AI-powered discovery product built specifically for mobile commerce and launched in late 2017. Overall, Qubit customers have reported up to a 6 percent increase in revenue as a result of personalization, Anathan said.

SEE: Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

How L'OCCITANE uses personalization

L'OCCITANE en Provence is one of Qubit's customers, using Qubit Pro on more than 20 domains from Japan to Brazil, London to Australia and also with the US, according to Loanne Le Gac, e-business product coordinator for L'OCCITANE en Provence.

"We have multiple regional teams using the platform to build personalizations that can easily be rolled out, if successful, to other regional teams meaning we can scale very quickly. These include social proof, abandonment recovery, geo-based personalizations and Qubit Aura, the product discovery solution for the mobile web," Le Gac said.

"Qubit Pro allows us to consolidate all of our worldwide personalization efforts into one platform. Collaboration is key, and aligning with the teams across the globe is essential to the success of our personalization program. Working with Qubit, we're able to bring the in-store experience customers have in-person, online. It's an incredibly exciting time to be in ecommerce," Le Gac said.

The beauty and cosmetics retailer has been using Qubit since 2015 and has seen a 2.86 percent increase in Revenue Per Visitor (RPV) overall, with a 3.55 percent increase in the UK and a 2.65 percent increase in the US, Le Gac said.

"When Qubit Aura was released in late 2017, we were one of the inaugural customers on the solution as we recognized that it was a great opportunity to offer 1:1 personalization using the latest AI technology," she said.

Benefits of personalization

The biggest benefit of personalization is delivering customer experiences that resonate with visitors, said Le Gac.

"Personalization is required for any brand looking to differentiate their product offering and be able to deliver experiences that really resonate with onsite visitors. You sometimes have seconds to engage with a visitor online and if you're not delivering content, offers and messaging which resonates they'll quickly bounce," she said. "With personalization you can deliver context and appropriate messaging to visitors if they're a first-timer customer or if they've been buying from the brand for many years. We focus on bringing together retail, ecommerce, luxury, cosmetics and technology together into a cohesive experience for our visitors."

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