Sephora, JustFab, Net-a-Porter top customer personalisation index

Sephora tops Sailthru's personalisation index
Sephora tops Sailthru’s personalisation index

Sephora tops a new index ranking 100 brands on the quality and degree of personalisation in their customer experience.

Released by cross-channel experience management platform, Sailthru, the inaugural annual Retail Personalisation list awards scores on a scale of 0-100. Sephora earned the highest honours with 79 points, followed closely by JustFab with 72, Walmart with 69 and Net-a-Porter with 64. Coming in joint fifth place with 62 points are eBay, Nordstrom and REI.

The aim of the index is to not only quantify how leading retailers are using personalisation, but to determine gaps in their approach and to examine the relationship between a personalised experience, customer satisfaction and retention.

“The vast majority of the top 25 brands are growing revenues year on year, reinforcing the value of a personalised digital experience for customers as a prudent business strategy,” said Neil Lustig, CEO of Sailthru. “What’s even more telling about the value of personalisation is that brands in the midst of executing turnaround strategies are rapidly evolving their customer experience to once again gain traction in the market. Sailthru is thrilled to recognise these top brands for their efforts to create exemplary digital customer experiences.”

Monica Deretich, vice president of marketing and CRM at JustFab, added: “Personalisation has been at the core of the JustFab business model since our founding in 2010, and it’s a key contributor to our compound annual growth rate of 124%. Our members are the focus of everything we do, every single day. We strive to create styles she wants at a value she’ll love, all within a curated and customised digital experience. Modern retail relies on strong long-term relationships with individual customers, and we continuously work to advance the personalisation within our customer experience so that we can elevate our business and the retail industry at large.”

The broader report from Sailthru finds that execution is currently lagging far behind vision in terms of personalisation, with 15% of those studied saying they are executing only against their most basic definition of the term currently.

The team have also highlighted some key trends, including the fact that mobile is also behind when it comes to personalisation, and that brands need a policy around data.

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#smwf: New Look’s closed community policy aims to encourage engagement

Amid a wealth of discussion on online community building at the second day of the Social Media World Forum (#smwf) in London today, it was particularly interesting to hear of the strategy being run by UK high street retailer New Look.

Oliver Lucas, head of consumer insight and CRM, explained how despite being a mass market store, New Look operates a “closed community”, called myLook (launched 2009), whereby fans have to apply to be a member.

Doing so, he said, enables the company to get the most from its ‘fans’. Creating this barrier to entry makes consumers feel like there’s something special behind those doors, therefore they become more eager to be there and more willing to actively participate when they are, he explained.

Accordingly, the official spiel on the myLook intro site reads: “At New Look we believe that fashion should be enjoyed by everyone and to help us ensure that everything we do is designed for you, we are inviting those who think they have a real passion for fashion to apply to be a member of this very special community of likeminded people.”

It continues: “Inside you will be able to share your views, suggest improvements, connect directly with New Look and the community and tell us what’s right and wrong in the world of fashion and have a genuine visible effect on the high street.”

That latter part,the “geniune visible effect”, Lucas also picked up on, saying the idea of maintaining a closed community is to make those involved feel more empowered. “If there’s 150,000 members, could I really make a difference?” he asked. Opting for a smaller number instead, he said, encourages engagement.

Participants are selected based on two criteria – whether they fit into the segmentation the retailer is trying to fulfill, and whether they respond to the (open) questions on application in a manner that suggests they will bring something valuable, interesting or even frequent to the equation. One word responses to the questionnaire won’t quite cut the mustard here then.

“So are they the right type of customer and how likely are they to contribute is what we consider,” Lucas explained. Roughly one in every four gets in.

We’re not trying to be exclusive, just very specific in our purpose,” he added – (you get a polite email of decline if you don’t match up).

He went on to express that despite these entry requirements, the intention of the ‘club’ is to make people feel comfortable. “Fashion can feel quite exclusive and therefore intimidating,” he said. “New Look is not about that and therefore our community is not either.”

Unfortunately, they don’t allow in journalists…