Getting Personal: Retailers Use New Tech to Court Individual Shoppers

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future growth. The Arkansas-based retailer has spent billions to boost its e-commerce business—buying, Bonobos, ModCloth, and Parcel—while also building up research-and-development efforts through its Store No 8 skunkworks.

“We’re very focused on future of retail, five to 10 years in the future,” says Anna Harman, a director of Store No 8 in New York. “We’re focused on what’s the future version of [Walmart.] What will consumers expect from us?”

Bazaarvoice’s Giovannoli says most retailers have been diligent in setting up the needed tech infrastructure to support online interactions that result in more sales. But a gap still remains in understanding how best to harness those tools to take advantage of all the data that’s out there about shoppers, he says.

The goal is to be able to better mine the data to tell a retailer what shoppers are most likely to buy next, he says, not just what they have bought in the past. “[Retailers] had a view of what was going on in their store but they were blind to what shoppers were doing across the retail landscape,” Giovannoli says.

That’s the sort of insight that Bazaarvoice wants to provide its customers, which include more than 5,700 online storefronts that together sell more than 125 million products, he adds. The company, which was founded in 2005, launched new software last week that it says will enable retailers and brands to target shoppers on what they want to buy—not who they are.

“Someone should be able to come to your online experience and not have to search through your catalog,” he says. “You should know what they’re in the market for and you help them make their purchase and they get on their way.”

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