This week Tesco boss Philip Clarke has spoken out about the importance of forming emotional attachments amongst customers. In what he calls “an era of mass personalisation”, Clarke highlights the importance of evolving merchandising techniques to ensure customers form “a lifetime bond” with your brand.

House of Fraser‘s Director of Ecommerce Andy Harding has also identified personalisation in ecommerce as a critical strategy. However, our recent blog debunks the myth of personalisation in its current form. Contrary to the promises you might hear, traditional ecommerce engines in fact deliver results more akin to impersonalisation.

 The personalisation risk factor: wrong far outweighs right

 A stark case in point is the recent New York Times case study showing that an attempt to personalise by Urban Outfitters actually managed to turn customers off, not on. Beware the retailer who makes clumsy assumptions about their markets. As Dimitri Siegel – the brand’s Marketing Executive at the time – concluded from the experience, “If you get it wrong once it outweighs getting it right 10 times”.

 Getting back to Tesco, the brand’s aim to achieve lifetime engagement involves, according to Clarke, the importance of seamless thinking and multi-channel integration the meet the expectations of today’s tech-savvy audience.

 But you don’t have to be a multi national giant to invest in techniques that will bring you closer to your consumers. Here are our top 5 affordable quick wins that have the potential to transform your site from shopping platform to engaging purchasing experience.

Understand every user with behavioural algorithms


Of course algorithms are nothing new – but Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® deploys them in an entirely new way. We’ve taken the humble algorithm and developed it to respond intuitively to every shopper’s search behaviour, selections and user preferences.

Many platforms promise user response. What’s different about Locayta? Our technology responds individually and instantly. That means that your site adapts to every visitor even as they click – and that’s a powerful tool to optimise conversion rates.

Take product recommendations one step further


We all know that product recommendations can influence up to 80% of purchasing decisions. Locayta Accessory Recommendations is a new development that goes one step further, selecting and presenting specific accessories to match the user’s chosen items.

An obvious application is fashion ecommerce (our client Tesco Clothing certainly thinks so). But accessory recommendations can translate to any merchandising strategy. You can offer matching branded items, useful additions to practical purchases – all carefully selected behind the scenes to entice the customer and meet their unique needs. Our clients experience consistently increased average order values thanks to this neat piece of kit.

Give customers a helping hand with Gift Finder


Gift shopping isn’t always easy – so especially during seasonal peaks your customers will appreciate a helping hand. Locayta Gift Finder plugs into your platform and implements the ability to ask questions about the recipient’s identity, tastes and preferences. It then makes relevant recommendations accordingly. This level of service and personal touch will be something customers will remember you for, promoting loyalty and retention.

Make online search a pleasure, not a chore

 It constantly amazes us how many websites can still be slow, inaccurate and frustrating for users. Especially when there’s a powerful solution available right now. Our intelligent navigation module enables retailers to define dynamic search facets that will help customers drill right down to what they’re looking for.

 What’s more, our spell correction function that intelligently analyses mis-spellings and mis-typings throws dictionary software out of the window with its powerful ability to pick up virtually any mistake. The result? The fast, seamless experience digital shoppers expect.

Bring it together with Balance Factor®

Your site is ultimately there to achieve the maximum margins for you. Check out Locayta Balance Factor and discover a truly innovative and value adding tool.

 As a retailer you have priorities – and those priorities change. Sale stock, clearance stock, new lines, price brackets and a myriad of other factors all affect your merchandising strategy and your margins.

No problem. Just set any preferences you choose behind the scenes and Balance Factor will weight your product displays and sequencing, striking the perfect balance between delivering the results your customers want and the products you need to show them. The technology is unique to Locayta and a primary tool for many of our clients – from Tesco Clothing to Superdry, Prezzybox and many more.

Plug into Freestyle Merchandising and watch your business grow:

Freestyle Merchandising is an incredibly sophisticated toolkit that drives conversions, order values and customer loyalty for many top brands. Take a closer look at our website, or get in touch for a consultation and we’ll show you how to beat the hype and implement genuine personalisation for happy customers and a superior business outcome.

Read more:

The IRX2012 debate: is ecommerce personalisation fact or fantasy? Locayta, March 2012

Emotional attachment’ key to successful retailing in a digital age, says Tesco’s Philip Clarke Internet Retailing, June 2012

House of Fraser: digital is key to personalising in-store experience Econsultancy, June 2012

E-Tailer Customization: Convenient or Creepy? New York Times, June 2012