Pushing The Boundaries of Commerce Personalization at Scale
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I am with Thomas Hopkinson, Director of Customer Success at RichRelevance(now Algonomy) and Alan Bo Christiansen e commerce manager ATEA, this session is pushing the boundaries of commerce personalization at scale. Gentlemen, I’ll turn it over to you now.
Thank you so much for the introduction. My name is Thomas Hakansson. I am the Director of Customer Success at RichRelevance(now Algonomy). And today will be zooming in on how to really maximize personalization and doing that at scale. And we’ll talk about why ATEA is doing this. And also all the complexities and the challenges and how we get around this together. And the results that we have seen. I’m honoured to be here today with Allan from a ATEA.
Thank you, Thomas. Yeah, my name is Allan Bo Christiansen, I’m daily working as ecommerce manager here in ATEA. And I have been looking forward to share some of our story and our knowledge and give you a bit of insight on what we’re doing and how we’re trying to push the boundaries.
First of all, for those who doesn’t know Atea, we are the Nordic market leader in IT infrastructure and system integrations. We work all across the Nordics and Baltics. We have a catalogue size across all seven countries, around 1.75 million SKU numbers, that’s quite a bit a yearly revenue of more than 7 billion noks. More than 20 Plus platform to five plus platforms, a million orders, he orders going through digitally without any human interfering.
And we cover roughly around 80% Of all the sales orders that that’s going through the system, more than 20,000 individual users. And our biggest goal here is of course, to support the customer processes. I’ll get back to that later. We have several ways to handle these orders and our sales going through each up, punch out catalogue and different API’s. But what’s most important for us along with the customer processes is of course to keep the customers happy. And that’s why we have a strong focus on NPS. And we want to make sure that we are as personalized as possible towards our customers. So they have the best experience.
Looking at our span, here, we are working with schools, hotels, small businesses, government, I mean all kinds of businesses doesn’t matter the size. We’re working with everything. And we need to be able to support everybody with the same engine and with the same setup. So that’s what makes it quite unique and challenging for us.
That’s also why one size doesn’t fit all we done that before. And that was not the right solution. So we teamed up with RichRelevance(now Algonomy)and to see how we could solve that on a one to one personal level. Which is really, really interesting to figure out and work with the different customers that we have in customer types that we have. We’re trying to make the b2b Buying Experience as personal as and relevant as possible. I mean, the customers that we’re dealing with are in 95% of their everyday life. They’re b2c have the b2c mindset. So when they come into b2b, we of course need to make sure that we are we bridging that gap. So it’s a welcoming experience. And it’s personal for them with of course, all the all the compliance rules and organizational structures that we need to take into account.
We try to drive as a customer centric approach to this and bridge the gap. And as mentioned before, Close to close to 80% of all business is the digital business that we’re running here. And what we can see is that our digital traffic grew up to 20% to 21% in 2019, which means that more and more of our customers are searching and looking for the digital solutions that we have. And we will of course want to onboard them because we have a better option to notch them we have a better option to serve them the right way and be personal and actually work with their behaviours and their needs.
The complex complexity in this, it’s really not that easy. It is pretty complex. Companies have certain compliance norms that we need to comply with. We have a contractual commitment to them, and we’re only allowed to sell certain things to them. We can sell them HP Lenovo, we cannot sell them apple. How do we handle that? Have prices that’s been negotiated. We need to be able to make sure that we take the user’s needs into account. So compatibility is pretty big. If you buy a Lenovo laptop we need and we want to take ownership that you actually get the right accessories to that. And then of course, we have specific assortments some people in some countries, or companies can buy the 100 different products, the manager can buy 1000 different products and the senior manager 10,000 products. How do we actually personalize within that within those specific assortments is quite the challenge because it really, really makes or force us to think in new and different ways compared to b2c where you have a full catalogue and you just want to get the most out of that to everybody. So we need to be focused here.
Thank you. And this is really insightful. Software that really was an eye opener for me, was that manual, this special agreement state that your customer is not even allowed to be able to see anything else than the products that they have in their special agreement. And I mean, for us, I prefer elements. Of course, during the presentation, that means that it’s not just about supporting one company ATEA. It’s really about importing skeletons of different companies with 1000s of different product catalogues, which of course really needs they’re the best penalization solution out there. And honestly, with all of these complexities, would you prefer working in business to consumer sometimes?
Actually not. I like the complexity here. I like that, that we need, which we’ve been challenged, and we are challenging back both you as a partner, but also our customers to see how we can we can solve this mean, in b2c? It’s, it’s every webshops task to say, okay, to inspire, you’re looking at this, Hey, you might also want to see this. But we really need to, to, to deep dive here and find the best tools and the best solution for our customers because this is their professional life. I mean, our goal is to make sure that they succeed in their job, and they can create growth in their company. So this buying process needs to be as simple and smooth as possible. So I know I like I like b2b. And I like the fact that we also have this specific framework and or assortment that we can work within and trying to maximize. Definitely.
Okay, so let’s dive into how we do this. So basically, we’re looking at the whole integrated approach to personalization with started off with just basic product recommendations, as many b2c companies also do, and have like a one, you’re looking at this and other customer has bought this or have looked at that. I mean, that’s, that’s the basic of it. And then we of course, start to develop on that part and start to use some of your AI tools that we can actually start to work with these product recommendations, the purchasing behaviour, the history and all that.
Then we started to say, okay, how can we take it to next level, and we had a banners and we have different pieces of content, it could be blog posts, and so forth, it’s really trying to incorporate that with the product recommendations are looking at Apple Computer, then you might find it interesting with these Apple offers or these different blog posts. And really, to tie the knot for us is to take it to personalized search, which basically combines everything and is the heart of, of our E shop 90 95% of all users use search. So that is that is the heart of the whole the whole machinery here. And that is important because we can use the behaviour for when they’re finding stuff. And when they’re not finding the products that they’re looking for. We can use that in in different ways. That is that’s quite interesting.
Basically, for us, we were not satisfied with just using out of the box products. I mean, we keep challenging and pushing you guys to see, okay, where are the boundaries, and when we found them that see if we can push them a bit more, which makes it fun for me as well and for the team. So one of the things that we did is that we looked at our product detail page and our customers found the products Okay, that’s fine. Then they had to go back and search for the right accessories because sometimes we might recommend them a laptop that was a little bit more powerful or less powerful to try to see if we can shift them and figure out what they were looking for. But some of our customers struggled to find the accessories. So we did is that as you can see in the screen here we had like find the best accessories we had for the most popular product categories to out that’s been bought and that’s been clicked on and viewed compared to the product that they’re seeing. Pushing that up. So it’s easier for the, for the user to find the category.
And basically, what we then did is that we created an accessory page where we made sure that okay, you have your seat products, which products are compatible based on that seat for, we have information from CNET that can tell you, Okay, this product fits with that one. But we also have a lot of products where we don’t have a direct data match.
So what we did here is that we challenge you guys and say, Okay, how can we actually use the behavioural data, the purchase history and all that? How can we combine that to actually create our own compatibility dataset, and straight into your engine basically, tacked into to our E shop. And that’s, that’s turned out to to this assessor page, which is a very successful one. Because we can see that customers feel safe. They have a comfort in that, okay, we have taken ownership of the accessories that they were looking for. And we actually provided just in one single page, and they can just click, click, click Add to basket, and then they know that when they received all the products here, we have made sure that that they are ready to work. They don’t have to go in and reorder and wait two days for that HDMI cable that will make their monitor show, we have that all combined here. That’s quite unique.
Of course, we also need to take in consideration when when people doing searches. So if you have apple in your assortment, we will show that we only show the different models and the different setups that you’re actually allowed to buy. Meaning that not all people are allowed to buy the Big Mac Pro, or iMac, or some people, you know, maybe only by two or three different laptops, and two, three different versions of the phone.
We tried to take that into account you and make sure that it’s all the way through the customer journey that we actually we respect that that compliance set that the company is given, which is alignment with their internal IT processes.
So we really tried to emphasize it all the way through whether it is banner consecration, it is the symbol or symbol drop down the recommended products here, categories, different variation. That is that is crucial for us, because, as you mentioned, some companies just won’t allow their employees to even see the latest iPhone 11 They might only go to eight. So that is really interesting to actually be able to work with that and make sure that we within those framework be able to tailor the entire customer journey and then buying experience and make it personal.
So the biggest thing for us, as I mentioned is the heart of our entire e shop is search 95% of using it I mean, it is by far the most used functionality. Even for those that doesn’t check out they still use search. And that is unique for our set of guests. That is for many as well. People tend to use Google for everything to do just Google it and they expect to find results that are meaningful to them. And it’s the right result. And we can see that the b2c trend there is, is coming to us as well, that they’re expecting us to read their minds and predict where they want to be heading. If they last time they bought a year ago, they bought a MacBook Pro. Well, guess what, they’re probably going to buy that as well. And then when they’re searching for laptop, they expect us a fast laptop, they expect us to know that it’s an apple, it’s a MacBook, and it needs to be one of the fast one and what’s fast and mean? Well, we need to be able to interpret that that and we need to be able to actually make sure that the that is that’s taking into tune with all the quantitative data and translate it into something tangible for the user.
And that’s where we have teamed up with you guys to actually look into to developing in a co Development Partnership to check develop the first as far as I know, you to be personalized search engine. And what it actually means is that we are doing a personalized search on a one to one level. Basically, with all the respect for assortments and so forth. No users, no two users will have the same search results when they do a search. They have different history, different setups, different backgrounds, different intents and behaviour which makes it 100% tailored to their needs. And that is I’m looking forward to launching that product that’s for sure going to be that’ll be pioneering for us. That’s no doubt without that.
Yeah. Alan would you say that certain as has been a bit maybe underestimated and almost overlooked in b2b and I mean why do you think that is?
I will say so because in b2b in the past whatever offense 15 years ago or for last 15 years, it’d be it’s been more of a catalogue where it just looked up and order and that’s it.
But our customers are demanding more from us. They’re demanding a smoother transition, a smoother shopping experience and more personal experience, and search being such a crucial function where you need to take all this into account. I mean, that is, that is quite tricky. So people have just come in, it’s just like, Okay, it’s good enough that you can just look it up. We’ve done our own search. And that’s it’s so definitely something that that has been neglected and what really needs to be high on the agenda.
I agree with you. I think we’re speaking a lot about personalized search today. But I think really, in the future, we will just be speaking of search, but we will all be expecting that search to be personalized. So I think this is just a transition going on. And I mean, really, how do you personally search become such a dear and strategic initiative to ATEA? Was this something you could see like your customers asking for?
I think it’s for us, it’s been very much about mindset. Starting off with a product recommendation moving into a engage, we could see with the engagement and and actually the trust from our customers that they’re trusting. We’re becoming the trusted adviser with the product recommendation.
And with the right mindset and the right digital transformation that we’re going through, and there is no doubt that that okay, if we are to succeed in this challenging b2b market, we need to be as close to our customers as possible and be as personal as possible. And with this many users using the search, it’s just been put high on highest on the agenda that we need to we need to try to interact with the users then we cannot live with a home built system. We need to go full scale here and create the total experience.
And I mean, all this stuff that we have put on with you guys, the different setups that we’ve done, we can just see that we’re getting better and better results from our customers, and they’re trusting us more. So it’s all about trust for us.
Thank you, Allan.
If we’re looking at okay, what does this actually mean? What is it meant for us? I mean, our conversion rates are at 25%. And if it could be the b2c, I think most b2c companies will be happy if you get a conversion rate of 1%. But of course, this is b2b, and we have contractual agreements with companies and so forth. But we still need to make sure that they convert. So we keep it at roughly around 25%. And of course want to be able to push that even more.
The real interesting part here are two important part here. First of all, it is that with personalization, and being able to create that trust and comfort with the customers, we’re actually seeing a 16% increase in revenue and in basket size, you to personalization for those people actually engaging with our personalized content. And that is for me a clear statement that customers are wanting this. And now they’re not only wanting this, but they’re expecting it. Same with you said with personal search, Bing search, I mean, they’re just expecting us to be personal.
Because they’re seeing that with Google and with everything else. So they’re expecting us to do so. So for us, this is really like a stamp of saying that you’re doing the right thing. And we need to keep pushing that pushing the boundaries here. And one thing that we can feel that we’re doing good things and we can see for revenue, but we can also see from the customer satisfaction, the NPS net promoter score that were at 49 and just checked this morning, we’re almost at 50 now which is really high. And we’ve been trying to do as much as possible to increase the customer satisfaction because we can see happy customers pay up to or spend up to three times as much as the negative customers. So again, he a personalization for us and being able to actually meet the customer’s expectation really comes into play and is a crucial factor for us.
Thank you, I mean from being part of this entire journey that you have been from launching the people sites at scale and based on all of the things that you have learned from doing this. Allan what would be your advice to someone looking to take the first step.
Um, I think for I mean for companies to take the first step one thing you need to make sure that you have within your company you have you have the mindset to actually dare to do that. It is a little bit nerve wracking because it is a black box for some.
But you really need to have the mindset you need to dare to do that and actually just go forward. Everything was were personalized, it’s better than not doing it. So that is that is quite important just to go ahead and jump straight into it. And luckily, we have good, good companies and experts around us that can help facilitate that process. So yeah, just go dive into it.
Sounds good. So what is next, what’s next for ATEA?
What is next for us is that we actually want to take these data and these insights offline, to want to bring insights to our sales, sales reps, our customer operations, be able to be proactive in dialogue with customers go out and say, Okay, you might have a contract that says that you can only buy the iPhone eight, up until iPhone eight, but we can see that your employees are searching for iPhone 10, iPhone 11, and maybe 12, when that comes out, be able to take that in those insights and bring that to the table to the customer in a proactive way, is going to be one of our next steps. Because we want to make sure that the IT manager succeeded in his job, I want to be able to take all the behavioural trends and bring that to our customer operations. So when they’re talking to, to the customers engaging with them, they can actually recommend the right products based on their behaviour. So we’re looking for a laptop, well, I know which laptop you’re looking for. And I know what you forgot last time to buy. Let’s make sure that you remember that. So thing is definitely taken offline.
Thank you Allan. It’s been really interesting to listen to your story and expertise from launching this presentation at scale on everything that you’ve learned all the things why you did this to challenge us.
And that relate is something that everyone needs to do sooner rather than later if I understood you correctly. To everyone listening. Thank you so much for your time with us today.
And if you want to ask any questions about pronunciation or dig more into what the TS Dunaway do, feel free to connect with any of us.
Thank you both. As Thomas mentioned, feel free to reach out via the chat box. If you have any questions for our presenters.
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