BloomReach has made a good business out of tracking customers’ intent without using cookies, surveys, or broad demographic brushstrokes. Its technology helps to give customers a web experience that feels ‘just for them’ by determining their interests, understanding their behavior, and interpreting the products they’re interested in buying.
Now the company is opening a new office in the United Kingdom and debuting a fresh product, Compass, it announced today.
I sat down with BloomReach CEO, Raj De Datta, in a London hotel to get the full story. We started our chat with the reasons for opening an office in the UK.
“Apart from the obvious market opportunity here and throughout Europe, which was enough reason to come to London, our decision has been recently underlined by a study that we commissioned from Redshift Research,” De Datta said. “It showed a clear and distinct technology gap between Amazon and almost everyone else in the e-commerce landscape, which we believe we can help close.”
The BloomReach Consumer and Marketer Personalisation Study, which took in responses from 1,000 UK consumers and 122 UK online retailers, found that 82 percent of UK consumers said Amazon offers better web-personalization than any other company.
“Look at it from a retailer perspective first. Interestingly for us, only two percent of UK retailers told Redshift that personalized shopping experiences were important to them when building their online retail spaces,” De Datta said. “There is a big disconnect here, because 31 percent of UK consumers said they would be more likely to buy if the experience were more personal.”
The report shows that brand reputation is not as important as the brands might think. Simply put, big brands can’t afford to rest on their laurels.
“That was a real eye-opener for us,” De Datta said. “85 percent of UK consumers said that they didn’t care about brand reputation when buying online.”
The study also shows that online e-commerce and retail platforms are of real importance.
97 percent of consumers research products online before purchasing, with desktop representing the primary method of access (79 percent). Frequency is also high as an average, with 79 percent of consumers making an online purchase at least once a month.
BloomReach are working with UK e-commerce sites such as Wayfair, StubHub, Boden, Forever 21, and Lakeland.
However, the new London office wasn’t the only thing De Datta had to share with me over a cup of green tea in Soho.
“We’re also launching Compass to help e-commerce platforms understand how to manage their content better,” De Datta said. He showed me how it works in a real-life situation, via his laptop.
“Let’s say you’re a category manager at a retail store and you want to understand what products are being shown for the searches that are trending on your site,” De Datta said.
I looked on as he checked the trending searches using the new BloomReach Compass tool. From that results view, he was able to look at the page being served to the consumer for that search, and I could immediately see the problem.
The term that consumers were searching for — in this case ‘swim shoes’ — was not delivering the right type of apparel at the top of the page. As a result, a term that should be performing well and generating a lot of sales thanks to the sheer volume of consumers searching for them was doing terribly because the wrong products were being highlighted.
“If I were a category manager, I could spend just a few minutes per day with Compass analyzing the trending and top performing searches on my product range, looking at the results and then optimizing the experience,” De Datta said. “It could be the difference between instant sales or consumers leaving the site in droves to shop elsewhere.”
Compass doesn’t just help you analyze search trends, site activity, and get views of the consumer experience. It has a Playbooks feature that presents brands with the highest potential opportunities across their site in a single click.
The Explore tab lets you type in your searches and ask questions using free text, and access dashboards for products, brands, promotions, categories, and queries.
Finally, the Activity area lets you track the results of changing your site in order to determine the results of the change so that you can measure and demonstrate impact.
“Content is the root of all marketing,” De Datta said. “For me, I believe there is still too little science in the production and management of that content. Some of the smartest people work in e-commerce, and they just need good applications that understand how to put big data to work so they can make better, more scientific decisions.”
Compass, which has been in closed beta with 4 of BloomReach’s customers, is now available publicly, and today marks the official launch of its UK presence.