Last week, the Kibo team announced that we have entered into an agreement to acquire Monetate, a leading customer-focused personalization platform. This news comes only eight months since we joined forces with personalization leader Certona to build our unified commerce platform.
The decision to acquire Monetate is evidence of our commitment to the concept of personalizing each and every step of the customer journey. Monetate brings some extremely intuitive testing and optimization capabilities that will increase the breadth of touch points that future Kibo users will be able to personalize for their customers. To get a little more insight on why we feel so strongly that personalization needs to be an integral part of every online offering, we talked with Eric Rosado, Kibo’s VP of Product Management. This Q and A has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Kibo Blog: Personalization has been a buzzword for years. What’s making it critical for brands to adopt now?
Eric Rosado: Consumer expectations are all about having a really good, seamless experience with their choice of retailers or brands.
But that’s hard to do, because there are different systems, different databases, different views of the customer. It’s a complex thing to do to truly make a really excellent consumer experience, where the customers of a given retailer can engage in the channel of their choice, can purchase and receive products across multiple channels.
The bar is high for convenience, for having a great experience regardless of the channel that they’re transacting in, and bringing multiple channels all into a single interaction. That complexity, and the high expectations from consumers, are really what are driving our retailer clients to invest in bringing these systems together.
What are the benefits of a combined commerce and personalization platform, versus separate solutions or even a “headless” configuration?
In the current world, eCommerce retailers have to work quite hard to stitch together and maintain disparate technology solutions behind the scenes, all in an effort to make it more seamless for their customers. When you’ve got all these capabilities and different offerings on a unified platform, that goes away. All of the systems are inherently integrated together.
Plus, you’ve got a common view of the customer. Instead of having to move data from A to B to C to D to try to figure out what the customer is doing in different technology stacks, you’ve got a 360-degree view, a consistent and holistic view of the customer as they traverse across different parts of the buyer journey.
How can this personalization be applied to specific B2B use cases?
Critical for B2B is the ability to recognize the customer profile, and what their role is – whether it’s someone who’s actually selecting the products to meet their needs, or whether it’s someone who comes in after the fact and who’s the purchaser for all those things. Understanding those roles helps to speed up the process.
With B2B, oftentimes, the product catalogs are quite extensive – they’re large, complex products, technical products. With personalization, if you can help a visitor or customer get to the right set of products or the right products faster, then that’s of high value. We’re able to speed them from looking for something to actually finding the right thing to either getting it into a list that needs to be purchased later by someone else, or an immediate checkout.
We’re often focused on how personalization improves the eCommerce and experience for shoppers – but what are the offline impacts?
First, let’s say someone orders something online or on their mobile device, and they’re going to head down to their local store to pick that up a couple of hours later. We know about that customer from the profile, we know what product they purchased, and because of that, we can personalize the order pickup communications with additional things to consider while they’re in the store. Why don’t you complete the look or complete the project with these other items that maybe you haven’t thought you needed, but guess what? You really do, because we’ve seen these things often purchased together. Our ability is to tie together the customer profile, the product that’s been purchased, plus inventory that’s in a local store.
The next level is that the underlying machine learning which powers personalization can help us understand what optimal inventory levels are at a given store location, we can do stock leveling and anticipate demand, we can optimize shipment flows, optimize the path of a product, from the distribution center to a store to a consumer, or any variation therein. Those benefits aren’t considered personalization, but we’re optimizing operations with the same underlying machine learning, and driving efficiencies and savings when it comes to the bottom line.