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Few people in retail knew the importance of the e-commerce customer journey and were not that many years ago. Retailers tracked their buying habits. Some recommended products based on these habits. There were reward programs created by others for the frequent shoppers. The customer journey was defined by each of the silos that made up an e-commerce transaction.
That is changing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you optimize the e-commerce experience, the logistics part of the equation can turn a satisfied customer into an unhappy customer, according to the pandemic.
Eli Finkelshteyn, the founder and CEO of Personalization platform Constructor, told Modern Shipper this week at the National Retail Federation's Big Show in New York that the last-mile delivery portion of the journey starts with retailers offering better product suggestions.
When Adobe Analytics reported on its data from the 2021 holiday shopping season, it found that there was a 10% increase in out-of-stock messages for e-commerce shoppers. According to a survey by Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights of 1,033 online shoppers, 25% said they searched online for items in stock and ready to ship.
It is that last item that firms like Constructor are helping solve for. Constructor works with retailers to create personalized shopping experiences for consumers. This includes tracking data and shopping patterns to make product suggestions more relevant.
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The company talks to retailers to determine what business metrics are most important to them. Because of Constructor's open platform, Finkelshteyn calls it a product discovery platform, nearly any data point the retailer collects can be incorporated into the system and optimized to improve the search recommendations.
Finkelshteyn said we want to make this transparent. It's not just helping the customer find the best product, but it's also helping the retailer know why the customer chooses that product. Constructor is focused on the customer experience, and what 2020 -- 2021 taught everyone is that the last mile of delivery is an important part of that experience. Finkelshteyn said that the platform can integrate inventory and shipping platform data to make sure the options the customer receives can be delivered.
He said that the shipping problem is different to different retailers. The data from each retailer is very different. Finkelshteyn gave a typical e-commerce example to illustrate how a personalization platform helps with a successful delivery experience.
As I learn more about you as a customer, and I see that everything you have in your cart is pick up from store, and then you search for a Red Delicious apple and it is only available in the warehouse, I probably shouldn't show you that as an option, Finkelshteyn said. If the store has a Golden Delicious apple, I might want to show that. The goal is to help the retailer build a relationship with the customer, and that means building trust.
It's not just about giving back results, but it's about giving back relevant results, and it means items that can be shipped to meet customer expectations, according to Finkelshteyn.
The retailers define metrics, they can tell Constructor what is the most important thing, according to Finkelshteyn. If faster shipping is important, the system can be optimized to offer product suggestions that meet the criteria, including using distance to the end consumer or delivery provider as possible sorting parameters.
He said it doesn't matter to me if I have this item in inventory if I have to ship it from Vietnam. I have a preference for Tennessee if it is available. E-commerce personalization is a big business for retailers and has been shown to boost sales. It is increasingly being used to connect the entire customer journey, right through the shipment to the door and even a return if necessary.
The best world is where retailers and consumers both win, according to Finkelshteyn.
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This post contains sponsored advertising content. This content is intended for informational purposes and is not intended to be investing advice.