In our class this week, I had the opportunity to analyze an article from A List Apart on Content Strategy for Personalized Websites. It immediately made me think of how online beauty subscription e-commerce site Birchbox is not only using website analytics to personalize their online offerings, but their physical store promotions are well. 59% of online shoppers say it is easier to find interesting products on personalized e-commerce stores, and 45% are more likely to shop on a store that offers personalized recommendations. Let’s see how Birchbox is handling this opportunity.
Data collection and offerings
In-store analytics for consumer insight
Here is where Birchbox is the most innovative, in my opinion. Aside from web and mobile traffic, Google Analytics uses tracking codes to acquire behavioral data from physical points of sale as well. The Measurement Protocol add information coming from other digital devices, like information kiosks or tablets located in-store. Birchbox opened its first store in New York City last year, and according to its co-founders, it won’t be so much a venue for additional retail sales as a treasure trove of consumer insight. Both the iPads throughout the store, which recommend products, and the Product Matchmaker, which offers customized suggestions based on a person’s features such as hair texture and skin type, will track what in-store shoppers, in aggregate, click on, and try to determine how that influences purchase behavior.
Birchbox is using cameras and heat sensors to track customers as they make their way around the store, seeing which products they’re attracted to and how they use the iPads. The idea is also to add WiFi analytics and integrate the Birchbox app to the store. When connected to WiFi, the app would be enabled to send push advertisements and collect customer data, like how many times the user has visited Birchbox and what products they have purchased.
Do you think this shopping experience is innovating and useful, or rather creepy? Would you rather have customized suggestions of what to buy or be left alone at the store? Tell me what you think about Birchbox’s personalization strategy in the comments!