E-Commerce industry grew substantially over the last decade. Ever since marketers and merchandisers started tracking user behavior through tracking pixels and cookies, they have been struggling with making sense of the data which was collected. Then came Analytics, Big Data, Machine Learning, and finally AI in an effort to provide ever more increasing intelligent insights into customers’ shopping behavior, browsing patterns, brand affinity, and other metrics used to make decisions and drive marketing campaigns. Marketing Intelligence became an industry of its own. Understanding your brand’s AOV fluctuations, customer churn or conversion funnels, while having a difficult time interpreting the trove of transactional and analytical data being produced by your business, can be a daunting task. These intelligent solutions can offer a significant improvement over standard analytics tools.
As part of my recent engagement, to introduce innovative ideas for a major consumer goods company, I had an opportunity to review and demo up close a number of platforms that fit this category. In this article, I will review a few of the ones I consider notable and will try to provide a neutral opinion on the value each one could provide to an e-commerce retailer.
DynamicAction is an established player in the market. This platform should be considered more as Merchandising Intelligence, with the primary focus on providing insights relevant to merchandising teams on how to better position products on the site in order to maximize profit. Their primary features include the following:
- Deep Analytics & Metrics Reporting
- Intelligent Marketing & Merchandising Opportunities
- Dynamic Suggestions for SEO Improvement
- SEM Spend Recommendations
- Checkout Funnel Analysis
- Overall Profit Analysis
By linking various data sources into DynamicAction, you will be able to see a centralized view of all your data. The platform consists of a large set of reporting tools and dashboards meant to provide a holistic view of the current e-commerce site performance. While it provides a significantly better intelligence over standard Google Analytics, it can still be a very complex and difficult system to master.
Custora is another marketing intelligence platform that allows its users to see a broad overview of the current state of affairs for an e-commerce retailer from a customer centric perspective. It includes extensive reporting capabilities allowing marketing and CRM teams to dive into customer and transactional data in order to better predict future customer behavior. The platform includes the following:
- Focus on Customer Acquisition & Retention
- Multiple Marketing Dashboards
- Analytics Insights & Customer Tracking
- Recommendations for Improvements in Merchandising
- Track Marketing Campaign Spending & Discover New Opportunities
- Easily Integrates with All Major E-Commerce Platforms
It also includes a number of intelligent reports to help make educated decisions that affect customer acquisition, retention, and churn.
Minubo is another solution that differentiates itself by being a full omnichannel Commerce Intelligence Platform. In addition to in-depth e-commerce analytics and reporting capabilities, they extend their intelligence reporting to include brick and mortar retail data to provide a more holistic view of retailer operations. Their 360 degree view of the customers and sales channels provide the following set of features:
- Omni-Channel Intelligence with Perspective on Customers
- Proactive Analytics Reports
- Customer Segmentation
- Guided Analytics & Data Insights
This solution is on par with other platforms and provides a significant level of e-commerce insight. It is also a Demandware Certified Partner, allowing for quick integration into this major e-commerce platform.
Adgorithms is a rather unique Marketing Automation Platform, claiming to be the first such system based on its reliance on Artificial Intelligence. Its core feature is automatic campaign management for all marketing channels such as email, SEM, and social. The AI component, called Albert, once connected to all data sources, will automatically decide on how to distribute budget across multiple marketing channels, which variants from A/B testing will prevail and automatically target specific customer segments.
- Automated Multi-Channel Campaign Management
- Auto Budget Spending Control
- Continuous A/B Testing & Campaign Optimization
- Machine Learning Algorithms
What’s unique about this platform is that its AI component functions almost completely autonomously to gather historical data and adjust the campaign in real-time based on multiple factors, including customer’s online behavior, order history, and product affinity. You only need to create an overall marketing strategy and supply the system with creatives, the rest is handled automatically.
ActionIQ is a relatively new player in the market with significant VC backing. They differentiate themselves by connecting their platform to various omnichannel data sources in order to aggregate data and create a single view of the business and its customers. This enables the marketing team to easily launch a marketing campaign, while constantly monitoring its performance through test and control groups.
- Centralized Data Aggregation
- Easy Customer Segmentation
- Success Measurement & Integrated Reporting
- Predictive Analytics
Other notable features of this platform include real-time personalization based on data models and customer segments.
In summary, I would like to mention that there is a lot of crossover between these platforms and the features they offer. They also have different pricing models and target slightly different segments. I would encourage those interested in these technologies to first pilot each platform for a period of time to see if it’s a good fit and evaluate success based on well defined KPIs.
Michael Eydman is a process improvement and innovation consultant working with large to medium sized organizations by helping them increase efficiency within existing processes, adapt formal methodologies, and introduce innovative ideas to help them grow.