Startup of the Year delivers on the promise of personalization
With dozens of entries, the latest Shop.org Digital Commerce Startup of the Year competition was, well, competitive. Judges narrowed the list to just three — Jet.com, ShipHero and Reflektion — to present their pitches on the Summit stage.
Once the panel of digital retail executives and venture capitalists cast their votes, technology company Reflektion was named the winner. Here’s a look at how the startup made an impression on this year’s judges.
Listening to shoppers and predicting preferences
The digital shopping experience is often cumbersome and confusing for consumers, Reflektion CEO Sean Moran told judges during his pitch. “We’re still making it really hard for the shopper to get what she wants,” he said.
But what if there was a way to reach consumers at an individual level — to figure out what exactly the customer is looking for? Moran says Reflektion’s technology is able to track shoppers in real time as they browse products online. Click-by-click, Reflektion’s technology develops a sense of shoppers as individuals — their preferences, interests and what they’re most likely to buy.
“As individuals visit these sites, even before we know who they are, just when they’re cookies, we start to build profiles of every one of the shoppers of the site,” Moran told the panel. “And what we’re doing is listening to these signals of every click, every mouse [movement], everything that is happening throughout the entire shopper experience, and responding in real time.”
Personalizing the experience
For years, the industry has focused on segmenting customers, but this strategy has its limitations. “We’re moving from the notion of consumers as soccer moms, as hipsters, as collectors, and we’re starting to look at them as individuals,” Moran said. “A segmentation of hundreds of thousands — and sometimes millions of shoppers — just doesn’t get it done for the digital consumer.”
Reflektion’s goal is simple: By finding ways to help retailers better serve customers, the hope is that shoppers will say, “This brand gets me.” And once you have customers’ attention, you can bet they’ll come back for more.
Early tests have proven promising for the technology. To date, Reflektion’s customers have earned an average 70 percent increase in engagement and a 26 percent increase in conversion rates.
For Moran, these early wins are rooted in taking a very old retail strategy and applying it to the digital space. “We’re returning to what has always been a successful strategy for retailers and that’s to listen and respond to customers at an individual level.”
Do you have what it takes to become the Shop.org Digital Commerce Startup of the Year? Learn more about this year's competition, including criteria and prizes.