Insights from Shop.org 2015

The Retention Science team had a blast this week with Shop.org, held in Philadelphia this year! We had the opportunity to interact with some amazing brands, learn about the latest and greatest in retail, and hunt down some authentic cheesesteaks in the City of Brotherly Love.

We were especially excited to officially introduce our new product Adaptive Lifecycle during a Big Ideas presentation as part of the conference. Charles Hachtmann, CMO and co-founder of Novica, a marketplace for global artisans in association with National Geographic, joined our CEO Jerry Jao to share Novica’s success story and how Artificial Intelligence will change the future of marketing.

Here are the main highlights from the talk:

Artificial Intelligence-driven marketing allows for more emphasis on strategy.

Novica, which provides a marketplace for artisans from across the globe to connect with shoppers, faced a challenge common to digital marketers today: the setup and maintenance required to manage lifecycle marketing campaigns took up too much time.

One of the key benefits of using Adaptive Lifecycle, Charles shared, was that it allowed their team to focus on strategy and content curation, in order to create inspiring and engaging messaging to connect their shoppers to the artisans they feature.

Artificial Intelligence-driven marketing enables more nuanced marketing.

Another advantage that Novica found with Adaptive Lifecycle was that it allowed for more nuanced responses to customer interactions. For example, the platform automatically sent differing engaging abandon-cart emails to customers based on how long they browsed the site. Customers who browsed for 3 minutes before abandoning and customers who spent 8 minutes before leaving were able to receive dynamic emails specific to their needs.

Through machine learning, our CEO Jerry pointed out, Adaptive LIfecycle would also be able to recognize whether there was intent to purchase. People who add similar items to their carts often have a higher propensity to purchase than shoppers who add random items, who are more likely using the shopping cart as a wishlist or bookmarking system.

Jerry also moderated a breakout session at Shop.org this year, titled End Customer Churn and featuring a panel of experts from the Container Store, Diamond Candles, and airbrush makeup etailer Temptu. The executives came from a variety of retail backgrounds and verticals, providing well-rounded perspectives on how customer retention tactics and an emphasis on customer loyalty are the keys to preventing churn.

Here are some of our favorite insights from the session:

Even huge retailers prioritize retention to prevent churn.

Melissa Collins, VP of Creative and Online at the Container Store, shared that customer retention is absolutely crucial for their brand: Approximately 32% of their customers account for 83% of total sales.

Understanding your customers is key to engaging them.

Justin Winters, CEO and co-founder of Diamond Candles, revealed that their messaging is highly tailored to their audience, whose customer base is approximately 95% female. Before Valentine’s Day, however, men make up 50% of sales — and it’s important to capture that audience to encourage yearly engagement.

Attention to detail matters when it comes to the customer journey.

Amy Madonia, Executive Director of eCommerce at Temptu, emphasizes that a smooth customer journey is crucial to preventing churn. She tests each step of the purchasing process herself to make sure that it’s intuitive and easy to follow, to provide the customer the smoothest ride possible.

Time is of the essence when it comes to recapturing customers.

Melissa emphasized the importance of timing when trying to re-engage a lapsed or almost-churned customer. From her experience at a primarily brick-and-mortar retailer that has nonetheless made strides in eCommerce like the Container Store, she said that the window to recapture interest is smaller than ever, and marketers should be able to deliver a “knee-jerk reaction” to customer actions.

This year’s Shop.org was full of fantastic sessions, and we hope the marketers who attended were able to gain some new knowledge for the coming year. For us, the three days were jam-packed with great conversations with great brands — we hope to see you there next year!