E-commerce is getting more personalized each day. And listening to Miki Berardelli, founder and CEO of Kidbox, makes you quite convinced that this is the way to go.

Kidbox’s concept is to offer parents of children between 2–14 years of age a box containing clothing and shoes that the kids probably would like to wear – before they know so themselves. The customer relation starts with parents and kids sitting down in front of the computer and together answering a “style quiz”. What interests the children have, if they like any specific fashion brands, what activities they enjoy in their spare time, and so on.

This style quiz is designed to take not longer than 3 minutes to complete. When that is done, customers place their order and wait. At that point, intelligent technology in the form of machine-learning algorithms take over. Kidbox then puts together a mix of apparel pieces from different brands for the individual customer based on personal preferences and interests from the quiz.

After about 7 business days, the first box arrives, addressed to the child. The cost of shipping and returns are included in the price of the box.
After unpacking and trying on everything at home, parents and children decide together if they want to keep all the items in the box or if some of them should be returned.

Kidbox was founded as recently as early 2016 but has already attracted a high number of repeat customers. Their success has probably also been helped by the corporate social responsibility shown by the company – for every Kidbox purchase, a new outfit is delivered to a child in need via a charity organization chosen by the customer.

This surely is an interesting concept that combines the best of personalization, artifical intelligence, and CSR, and could be of important inspiration for other e-tailers.

Olof Källgren, Market Information Manager, Direct Link

A few weeks ago in June, Direct Link attended the CO-REACH fair in Nuremberg, Germany. CO-REACH started as a classic (print) dialogue marketing fair but is now trying to shift to become a meeting point for all relevant print, online and cross-media professionals.

CO-REACH fair 2017

Photo: NürnbergMesse

In an e-commerce-driven world where postal organisations are complaining about a constant decrease in classic mailings and letter volumes, there was a somewhat old-school atmosphere in the exhibition halls. However, measuring the importance of mailings only by their amount is short-sighted.

Sure, the time when companies spent millions of their budget on unprecise target groups are over. Marketing specialists are combining all the data they have in order to address the special needs of every customer. The information that retailers are gaining from their own databases and additional big data offered on the market can sometimes be scary, but this provides marketing specialists with unlimited possibilities in approaching and addressing customers in a way they never thought possible ten years ago.

At CO-REACH, we met many of our existing customers but also interested prospects who asked about the possibilities of direct marketing in the Nordics. Talking with these companies, it’s clear to us that classic dialogue marketing is still relevant and can make a difference – both when you’re selling clothing to an urban hipster or a golden ager.

Thus, at the end of the day, lower-volume marketing mailings can result in a much higher ROI when the message is clear and target groups are carefully chosen.

Ulrich Hinz, Sales, Direct Link Germany

The 13th edition of IRCE (Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition) just recently took place in Chicago. This is claimed to be the largest e-tailer conference in the world with well over 100 speakers, close to 500 companies exhibiting, and more than 10 000 conference delegates.

entrance of IRCEAn event like this obviously covers a range of different themes and perspectives of e-commerce. Looking at the agenda and listening to key note speakers from brands like Sephora, Under Armour and Kidbox, several key trends crystallize for the US. Personalization, personalization, and some more personalization.
Plus, the personalized customer experience is coming to your mobile!

Having access to extensive customer data and combining that with faster-than-ever digitalization makes it possible for brands to interact with customers in remarkable ways. How about letting your jogging shoes tell you if you’re running in the most optimal way, or letting an algorithm decide what kind of clothes your children should wear?

But then again, are we sure that we really want this?

Keep an eye on our blog during the coming weeks as we will be covering how US industry leaders plan to build customer loyalty and increase online sales.

Olof Källgren, Market Information Manager, Direct Link

Are you working very hard to always give your customers the best experience? According to the Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Daniel Kahneman, it’s enough to give them a peak and a good last experience.

How come that a low-cost airline and British Airways customers are equally satisfied? The answer is obvious when you hear it. It’s all about the expectations we have for a company and a brand. And these expectations are a tool we can work with.

“We humans are negatively conditioned. To find fault is in our DNA since the Stone Age. Being skeptical of, for example, different berries could save us from dying of poisoning,” says Jordan Berkowitz, Creative Business Partner EMEA at Google.

Daniel Kahneman, researcher "Peak-end rule"

Daniel Kahneman

Research says that if you give the customer a bad experience, you must give five good experiences to weigh up, which really is an impossible level to hold. But luckily, we humans have a bad memory. That is why you don’t have to give excellent experiences all the time. It’s enough with a peak and a good ending. This is called the peak-end rule and was created by the Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Daniel Kahneman.

As an entrepreneur, you cannot always influence every part of your customer experience, but if you can create the last impression, take the opportunity.
For example, an airline has no influence on how customers are treated in passport control. Say that the airline would have a person meeting you just after the less fun experiences to empty the pockets and be scanned by a machine. One person who offered a bottle of water and welcomed you to the flight. “Regardless of queues and controls, the experience of the airport visit would be positive at the end,” said Jordan Berkowitz.

The peak-end rule is why packaging and delivery are so crucial for getting satisfied customers who spread the word about your brand. A bad delivery experience can break the legs of everything you’ve done before. A good delivery can boost your brand significantly.

So what is a good delivery? What do the customers expect? It is vital for e-tailers to know and several studies have been published on this topic. Every year, PostNord produces comprehensive studies on the Nordic e-commerce and European e-commerce market. These reports can be ordered from our reports page.

Having a consumer-centric, digitalized and data-driven mindset are the keys to success for e-commerce companies. And when it comes to data, the important thing is not big data but smart data. The data you need to fully understand your customers and to be able to fulfil their expectations.
At the E-commerce Expo in Stockholm, Sweden, the online entrepreneur Sïmon Saneback gave his view of the fast developing e-commerce market. A market which is global, mobile, disruptive as well as consolidated. A market where consumers expect good experiences and control.

Globalization, consolidation and disruption

Sïmon SanebackWhat is actually happening is an ongoing globalization of e-commerce. Purchases directly from China have increased tremendously with the growth of online marketplaces like Wish, with its user-friendly mobile platform and its direct connection to production in China. Payment methods have evolved and are no longer a show-stopper for cross-border e-commerce. Companies consolidate and merge by buying new companies to become even more powerful. Global marketplaces, like Amazon, Asos, Farfetch, etc., are growing bigger and in a couple of years are estimated to account for 50 % of global e-commerce. Yet marketplaces also want to be brands. Non-brands struggle to become brands. And brands, like Nike, want to be marketplaces or at least they want to control more of the supply chain.

The mobile (r)evolution

Consumer behavior has changed over the years. From “being informed” to “being connected”, consumers now expect to be “in control”. What is notable is the mobile r(e)volution with about 70 % of all internet traffic coming from mobile. Smartphones will soon replace other devices and will be used for everything, not only among the young and in growing markets.

Offering a “wow” experience

Most important for success in the ever-changing world of e-commerce is to know and understand the customer, stresses Sïmon Saneback. Three of four consumers will leave if they are not happy with the product and service. It is important to retain your customers. Although the cost for retaining a customer is big, it will cost you even more to win a new customer. So know and understand your customers and always try to create a “wow” experience.

Kajsa Ehmer and Malin Herzig, Marketing, Direct Link Sweden