Creating a New Market Inspired by Hyper-personalization with Obviyo
Algorithms run our lives. They power our go-to social media apps and emerging DTC brands.
Obviyo harnesses the power of those algorithms—the same AI used on Amazon—to connect visitors’ buying signals to hyper-relevant product recommendations. They’re an ecommerce tech vendor for Shopify Plus merchants, helping brands maximize their revenue potential and reach new customers.
The world no longer revolves around personalization. It’s all about hyper-personalization. And, Obviyo is leading that charge. So, we chatted with VP of Marketing Ben Virdee-Chapman about where hyper-personalization is heading and how Obviyo is creating a new market inspired by the technology.
Unlocking The 90% of Non-buyers
Amazon invented hyper-personalization. Now, consumers expect curated product recommendations.
Ben thinks of hyper-personalization as personalization to the extreme, combined with cutting edge machine learning and shopper intelligence. Typically, hyper-personalization happens in real time. And, the secret ingredient is live buying signals.
Most brands look at their existing customers, their habits, the products they buy, and when they buy them to create a predictive model for everyone else.
But, “Part of online shopping is serendipity,” says Ben. Consumers go back and forth between different sets of products. One minute they’re looking for a sofa, and five minutes later they’re looking at drapes.
Amazon recognized that consumer behavior years ago, and they’ve invested tons of cash into creating a system that’s learning and listening to how people shop online.
The key insight: Only 10% of visitors to an ecommerce site are actually customers. 90% of visitors are non-buyers.
The majority of DTC brands treat the 90% of non-buyers like the 10% who survived the checkout funnel. But, that’s a mistake.
“The traditional personalization process passes over those shoppers who don’t usually buy.”
Creating a New Market
Looking at today’s saturated market, the Obviyo team decided to try and create a new market, rather than find a gap. Could Obviyo have a new POV on this hyper-personalization game?
First, they looked at the methodology behind the technology. Then, they studied how the technology is applied, starting with Amazon.
The Obviyo team quickly realized:
- Amazon’s technology is incredibly advanced.
- They’ve built an entire system around applying this technology to their business.
In 2018, 35% of consumer purchases on Amazon were driven by product recommendations based on algorithms. First, they figured out the technology, and then they took it one step further and created their own system.
When Amazon made their personalization algorithms publicly available, Obviyo wrapped those same algorithms in a Shopify app. Their app—Obviyo Recommend—uses live visitor buying signals to generate hyper-relevant recommendations on the fly, reaching that 90% of non-buying visitors.
“Having the best tech is one thing. How you apply it is the holy grail.”
Prioritizing Revenue per Visitor
More than anything, Obviyo cares about revenue per visitor (RPV). That’s because it’s an objective measurement of the dollar value of traffic coming through a store. Ben sees it as an index of conversion rate and average order value.
If brands improve and grow RPV, their conversions and average order value will go up.
DTC brands are trained to look at conversion rate, average order value, and existing customers. But, Ben argues that conversion rate is volatile and can easily become a vanity metric.
He’s not discounting retention or loyalty. Rather, he suggests that brands take a step back and challenge their assumptions about optimizing for conversions.
With Obviyo, most brands see an increase in RPV within the first seven days. But to make that happen, it’s not a set it and forget it deal. Brands commit to the game of running a diversified portfolio of personalized product recommendations.
“Every site has a huge, untapped audience. Brands aren’t serving them because personalization isn’t designed for that audience. Hyper-personalization is designed for that audience.”
AI and machine learning are almost table stakes for any ecommerce technology vendor.
There will always be groups of vendors selling buzzwords and the bells and whistles. But then, Ben thinks there will be a new, breakout group of ecommerce tech vendors who see personalization from a different POV. That includes Obviyo.
These vendors will figure out how to apply the underlying technology of hyper-personalization through a system, and they’ll start asking the hard questions, including if it’s even ethical to influence and manipulate consumers with algorithms.
That’s where hyper-personalization is heading.
“The next best vendors will ask a different set of questions. They’ll have a different POV on how customers can use technology in a new way.”
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