CHICAGO — Beauty brand ColourPop is using Qubit’s artificial intelligence-based personalization platform to help it segment and analyze its customers with goals of better understanding buyer behavior and influences, according to a Qubit announcement issued last week at the Internet Retailers Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.
Qubit’s analysis is driven by heuristics, notions about how buyers learn about new products, which products they really like and what sort of trends most influence them to buy. In the coming weeks, the company, founded in 2010, is planning to release research on how this kind of analysis could affect how retailers and brands market with product recommendation windows.
It’s an approach that could be helpful for ColourPop, a brand that prides itself on moving quickly from new product concept to rollout, and thrives on zeitgeist. “From a first-time visitor, to our ColourPop Fanatics, we're all about listening to our audience,” Brittney Juge, manager of analytics at ColourPop, said in the Qubit announcement. She further added that ColourPop needs to leverage "an incredible amount of data to do that."
This deal also comes at a time when personalization is a concept that just about every retailer is looking to leverage, but which is becoming too easy to characterize in broad strokes. Nick Smyth, vice president of sales in North America at Qubit, told Retail Dive at IRCE last week, “Personalization is a notion everyone is interested in right now, but it’s too simple for a store to say it’s doing some kind of personalization.”
For example, an apparel retailer may display certain shirts in its product recommendations or promotional emails because a customer viewed a similar shirt on its web site. “Just because you looked at that shirt doesn’t mean you’re interested,” Smyth said. “We shouldn't make giant inferences from limited data sets.”
By applying heuristic analysis, brands and retailers can more accurately identify and segment their customers by understanding some of the “mental shortcuts” they take to their purchasing activities — if they buy products according to certain rising trends, for example, or if they are heavily influenced by products that appear to be close to selling out. This can help retailers and brands understand who their VIP shoppers are, so that marketing and promotions can be crafted especially for these segments, or even a segment of one, Smyth said.
If that isn’t personalization, then what is it? “Persuasive customization,” he said.