Personalization platform provider Evergage works across industries, providing a software solution that allows websites and other digital channels to create a personalized navigation experience for users.
“Essentially, we’re the software that works alongside websites and CMS software that allows marketers to adjust experiences for each visitor,” said Evergage CMO Andy Zimmerman.
For retailers, personalization technology is an increasingly valuable investment when looking to grow consumer engagement and transactions, increase conversions and ultimately augment the average customer’s lifetime value, Zimmerman said.
Naturally, Evergage serves a number of retail and eCommerce customers, allowing them to tailor the individual experience for each site visitor based on who they are, where they’re coming from and what their behavior on the website signifies. Current users of Evergage’s personalization platform include Rue La La, Zumiez and Ashley Stewart, among others.
The way to understand how the personalization platform works for retailers, said VP of Strategy Meera Murthy, is first to look at its data layer, followed by positioning and then delivery of personalized content.
Evergage works by leveraging the first-party data retailers collect about visitors on their websites, mobile apps and email. First-party data includes anything from a user’s IP address, page views, clicks, time spent on pages, hovering, inactivity, scrolling, etc.
The data layer also takes into account which paid marketing campaign users may have engaged with to land on the retail site, which allows for proper marketing channel attribution, along with an additional data point on the individual consumer end.
Evergage also keeps track of each product sold on a site, Murthy said, to understand what consumers are viewing and what it signifies. Evergage tracks brands, product categories and item attributes such as color, sizes and more to measure intent and interest on the individual product level for each customer.
For each visitor, Evergage constructs a complete profile of cross-channel insights into their digital history, affinities, attributes and engagement with products on the retail site.
“We’re collecting all of this data in real time,” Murthy said. “We’re then able to … make decisions about visitors and deliver in real time as well.”
Evergage’s platform employs a decision engine, built of two systems, that enables this real-time data analysis and delivery of personalized content.
The first system, a rule-based segmentation engine, allows marketers to target particular groups of site visitors. This can be anything from geographical location to item category. For example, the rule-based engine would come into play if retailers wanted to target users in the Greater Boston area who were looking at shoes.
The second system, powered by machine learning algorithms, is what allows retailers to create 1-to-1 site experiences.
“You can target all of your shoe visitors so that they see ‘Experience A,’” Murthy said. “But what brand they see, what subcategories they see and what promotions they see is all driven by machine learning.”
The experiences delivered by the personalization platform, Zimmerman said, can be something as simple as a personalized message that appears on the site, “but more often it’s more subtle. It’s changing images, or changing product recommendation and promotions based on the first-party data to make it more engaging and relevant to each visitor.”
As for the future of the space, Murthy noted that Evergage is investigating ways to leverage first-party retail site data and personalization in physical stores. Currently, she said, there are two modes of thinking around in-store integration. The first relies heavily on informing sales associates of individual consumer preferences via in-store technology.
The second relies on engaging with consumers who buy online and pick up their purchases in-store. For example, Murthy said that 40 percent of a large brick-and-mortar retailer’s online orders are fulfilled in-store, and that order pickup usually happens within a 24- to 48-hour window.
“That customer will likely enter the store with an email or in-app confirmation,” Murthy said. “So how can you personalize that app and work to add additional items or services to that purchase? Both models of in-store personalization are great opportunities, and we’re beginning to have conversations on both of those sides.”