RBTE 2017: Cosabella sales jump after diverting spend into AI

Guido Campello, chief executive at Cosabella, revealed the company took a drastic course of action as the retailer’s sales started to plateau in the first quarter of 2016.

“Every time you start feeling a plateau you have got to react,” said Campello. “What we realised is we had a lot of information but did not know how to use it.”

As a result, Cosabella dropped its ad agency and marketing spend in the second quarter of 2016 and implemented artificial intelligence technology in the third quarter, and by the all important fourth quarter it was recording record sales.

The strategy even helped it buck its usual sales dip in January and this year momentum is continuing to gather.

Cosabella has also been able to reduce its investment in traditional IT systems.

All this has been achieved through a combination of using the Ascend AI system provided by Sentient Technologies to optimise its website, alongside the Albert AI technology to determine ad spend.

Andy Narayanan, VP of intelligent commerce at Sentient Technologies, said his company’s technology has been used to transform the Cosabella landing page and lift conversion by 38% when compared to the “control” version of the site.

Ascend acts as an “always on” testing system that is constantly testing different variations of the site by varying factors including font size and colour, and then adapting it to the style that customers prefer.

The methodology is called “evolutionary computing” and mimics the manner in which human genes have evolved.

“You start looking at two genes’ design elements and see which of them is the dominant gene and then the other gene dies and you start crossing dominant genes and over a period of generations the best species evolves,” explained Campello. “That is essentially the underlying technology and we can do in weeks what would have taken months or years.”

Campello said the next step will be to start serving up different aesthetics of the website depending on the profile of the customer.

“If I’m speaking to a mother or an 18-year girl or a 60-year old customer then it should be a different experience,” said Campello.

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