A cycling e-retailer accelerates website personalization

May 16, 2016 04:51 PM

Chain Reaction Cycles caters to cyclists and runners dedicated to their sport, and it wants to ensure it shows the most relevant products to those passionate consumers, says Mark Lilley, head of e-commerce at the online bike retailer.

Chain Reaction’s product catalog has more than 20,000 products and 70,000 SKUs because, for example, many of those products come in multiple colors and sizes and each requires a separate SKU, across six sports. “Core BMXers don’t want to see running shoes,” Lilley says, referring to bicycle motocross enthusiasts. For the past 18 months, the United Kingdom-based retailer has used behavioral analytics company Qubit to improve personalization. Qubit in late April rolled out an upgrade to its platform, aiming to give retailers faster and more targeted insights based on a retailer’s own customer data, such as transaction history online and offline, plus browsing activity and loyalty status.

More personalized product recommendations are key to Chain Reaction, Lilley says. It’s not only crucial to put the right style of bike tires—mountain bike versus road bike, for example—on a product page but also to offer tire brands likely to appeal to the shopper based on past purchases, search and browsing behavior, or other data, such as the brand of bike the customer owns. When the website shows products relevant to consumers they stay on the site longer and that, in turn, should lead to gains in conversion and revenue, he says. In coming weeks, Chain Reaction will start showing shoppers more personalized products on its home page. “We recognize users returning to the homepage through cookies and our data layer (universal variable). First-time users will be served best-selling products, then the product recommendation engine learns and adapts based on user behavior so products presented will become more personalized as they browse and shop,” Lilley says.

“We’re seeing an initial uplift in conversion, though it’s still early,” Lilley says, declining to give a percentage. “We’re getting about 10% more page views per session. We’re trying to get shoppers to go from product to product.”  

Chain Reaction Cycles, No. 111 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Europe 500 Guide, had 2014 web sales of 200.0 million euro (US$224.0 million). Lilley declined to disclose the annual fee it pays for Qubit’s services.

The launch of Qubit’s upgraded digital experience management platform comes two months after Qubit raised $40 million in a Series C funding round led by Goldman Sachs. The behavioral analytics company said then that it planned to develop its technology designed to help retailers segment, test and measure consumers’ shopping activity. The upgrade, which includes a new “adaptive targeting” feature to better segment customers as they shop, is included in clients’ packages, says Jay McCarthy, Qubit’s vice president of product marketing.

“Individual customers are transient. Their needs, desires and tastes can change fast. Marketers can often find that what they know of their customers at any one time can be meaningless 10 minutes later when a customer has changed direction,” the company says of its adaptive targeting tool.

Qubit provides a web-based dashboard for retailers to measure customers’ on-site behavior, such as what pages and products they view, how long they spend on site and what they put in their cart. Pricing is based on a retailer’s volume of web traffic. Qubit says most of its retailer customers generate at least $10 million in annual online sales. The vendor has 270 retail customers, including U.S. clients Staples (No. 5 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide), Saks Fifth Avenue (No. 75), Nine West Holdings Inc. (No. 205) and LivingSocial Inc. (No. 219).




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