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Q&A: Beni Basel, co-founder and CEO, ciValue

What key trends can we expect to see in omnichannel retail marketing and personalisation in the next 12 months?

Since online retail and eCommerce have set the standard for personalisation and one-to-one conversations with customers, omnichannel retailers are quickly catching up in order to retain their competitive position. Many retailers are realising they cannot rely on location and assortment strategy only; they must develop a customer-centric marketing strategy as well.

I think more and more omnichannel retailers realise that leveraging big data and analytics to develop a customer-centric strategy is becoming a lot easier today. The glut of data that retail marketers have in conjunction with predictive analytics and big-data algorithms open a marketing opportunity bounty like the ones online marketers have. I’m talking about all those personalised product recommendations you see online. You’ll be able to use similar algorithms to create personalised offers in your brick-and-mortar store.

What are the key technological developments that allow retailers to better manage their personalisation programmes and increase revenue?

In the past, only top-tier retailers with almost bottomless pockets were able to develop and execute customer-centric marketing programs, which required very pricey consulting services.

Today, customer-centric marketing tools are moving from the service-based to the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. This allows retailers who lack the budget for steep consulting fees to offer best-in-class personalisation programmes. Moreover, even retailers who used consulting services in the past can save on costs and get more control on the execution of their customer-centric marketing. Cloud and big data allow all to build solutions that can provide customer insights and personalisation in a box, putting small and large retailers on a more level playing field.

Another important development is the enhanced ability to collaborate with suppliers. Insight sharing and collaboration platforms now let retailers share insights with suppliers and collaborate on marketing initiatives. That means increased effectiveness of product promotions and more profitable collaborations.

What would be your advice for retailers thinking of implementing personalisation technology in 2016-2017?

If you are considering introducing personalised offers, my best advice for those omnichannel retailers would be to focus on a product-based solution rather than relying on consulting services or in-house projects. A product-based solution supports development of a consistent omnichannel marketing program. By that I mean a single product that lets you manage your customer-centric marketing programme and supplier collaboration effectively at a fraction of the cost that would otherwise be invested.

One more important thing to consider is whether the product enables collaboration with suppliers. For personalisation to work in the long term, you have to improve marketing relationships with the brands through shared insights and performance to develop enough compelling offers to attract customers.

You exhibited at RBTE this year, what did you showcase?

RBTE was a great opportunity for us. We showcased our cloud-based precision marketing solution. We were able to demonstrate to retailers who visited us how our product can help them analyse, design and execute retail personalisation and supplier collaboration all by themselves.

Having the opportunity to talk to some leading retailers at the show, we realised the importance of a product-based solution over professional services, as it allows them to spend their marketing budgets on marketing initiatives rather than on consulting fees.

What can we expect to see from ciValue over the next 12 months? What are your key focus areas?

In the next 12 months, our main focus will be to accelerate adoption among other leading omnichannel retailers in North America and Europe. We’ve got great and valuable feedback so far. As we scale, we will gather more customer feedback, incorporate it into our platform to make it even better, helping our existing and future customers better execute their personalisation programs, supplier collaboration and digital marketing.

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