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Enabling Personalized eCommerce Experiences with Storage as a Service
Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:56:20 AM

Like many people, the prospect of turning off Netflix and going to the store is unappealing… especially when I can buy the same product from the comfort of my couch with Amazon Prime. While online shopping still only accounts for about 10% of all shopping dollars, the industry is continuously growing. Besides the obvious ease that online shopping provides, it also enables customers to find exactly what they’re looking for thanks to data-driven personalization features. While personalization has become almost a requirement in the ecommerce industry, managing all of the customer data that is generated can present a problem to retailers. In this post, we will explore how leveraging a Storage as a Service platform can help online retailers improve customer personalization.

“You Might Also Like…”: The Personalized Shopping Experience

Amazon set the bar some time ago with personalized homepages for each customer. But features such as “frequently bought together” and one-click check-out are now table stakes. Other retailers are now taking even more exciting personalized approaches to attract and retain customers:

  • Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service. Hand-selected pieces are shipped to the customer’s door that they can try out and decide to either keep – and pay for – or return. Simple online feedback allows Stitch Fix to better align with customers’ personal style over time. The customer experience is simple and efficient, while the hyper-personalization has built significant brand loyalty (in fact, a number of Kaminario employees are devoted Stitch Fix clients!).
  • Forever 21’s mobile “Discover Your Style” search and navigation tool uses artificial intelligence (AI) to present relevant clothing items based on attributes that the customer selects (ie a skirt’s length and fit or a shirt’s neckline and color). Within a month of the launch of the tool, sales conversions at Forever 21 had increased while the average purchase value had risen 20%.
  • Joann’s MyFabric lets shoppers customize fabric choices by color, scale, and pattern from among thousands of designer fabrics. Joann plans to expand the MyFabric capabilities to allow shoppers to upload their own pattern designs on selected fabrics.

The Challenges and Rewards of Collecting All That Data

In a recent survey of 190 marketing influencers, 63% of respondents said that data-driven personalization is the most difficult tactic to execute. In order to deploy a successful personalized shopping strategy, organizations need massive amounts of customer-generated data that can be analyzed through machine learning and AI. Efficient collection and management of data is critical for techniques such as personalized bestseller lists, intelligent cross-selling on product detail pages, and continuous shopping for repeat customers.

On top of that, these data-driven initiatives must provide consistent, integrated customer experiences, in real-time, across online platforms, mobile devices, and social media. Data-driven personalization means that ecommerce organizations need to have a data storage strategy that is elastic enough to process the growing body of unstructured customer data.

As services scale, containing operational costs becomes critical. Adding cloud storagehas become a typical response, but this often results in unexpected expenses when trying to scale the cloud-based ecommerce application.

Introducing Storage as a Service

Storage as a Service is composable, consumption-based storage ideally suited to drive effective, cost-efficent personalization. It allows growing ecommerce organizations to configure dedicated storage yet retain the flexibility and easy scalability of storage in the public cloud. Companies providing more personalized experiences are better able to closely match storage capacity with changing business demands, while controling costs.

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