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The future is personalised

We’re constantly hearing about the need to make the online shopping experience more personal.  But how can retailers achieve this? We caught up with Alexandra Wood, Channel Manager at Rakuten Fits Me, to find out how the global retail firm is using technology to drive personalisation. 

As an online shopper I’m truly excited for what 2018 has in store for online retail. 

Advancements in technology and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is bridging the gap between online and offline like never before. Many of the world’s population now have a global marketplace in the palm of their hands with the use of smartphones. With 24/7 opening, there is no closing time for the online retailer. 

The barriers to shopping online are being broken down as customers become more trusting and engaged with technology and the internet as a whole. For retailers, it’s no longer “if”, it’s “how do we make the most out of this global customer base?" 

For us consumers, it means that we have become more knowledgeable, more demanding and more connected than ever before.

Technology is at the forefront of making our online shopping experience more personalised so we become more engaged, buy more and stay loyal. The use of AI is enabling retailers to collect more detailed information about their consumers and provide more targeted services in return.  Alibaba, who took $25.3 billion in 24 hours during China Singles Day, also used Smart Logistics to deliver a package within 15 minutes. Companies like Mud Jeans are using Fit Recommendation tools to help understand their customers’ body shapes, provide the best fit jeans and reduced their returns by a staggering 38%.

Personalised content is moving at a rapid pace too, with the rise of influencer marketing. Instagram is becoming a platform for brands to launch from, before they open an online store. For many established brands, it’s creating social sellers and turning their own account pages into webstores – driving consumption and impulse purchasing

As consumers want their online experiences to be more personalised, they also want their connections to be more “real”.  Consumers now understand #sponsoredcontent and the campaign from ASOS with no airbrushing was a real success last year.

The bi-product of all this interactive and increased spending is that online purchases are more likely to be returned.  The cost here is dramatic, not only the financial impact to the retailer - £20bn last year, but to consumer loyalty too – 80% of shoppers won’t return to an online store if their first items don’t fit.

Through using technology and data from Rakuten Fits Me, retailers can understand their consumers body shapes and sizes, giving them the perfect fit recommendation.  Not only can this reduce returns but it can also provide more tailored marketing data for future purchase recommendations.

Find out more about personalisation.

How can it improve your business, reduce returns and increase overall sales?