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Masterclass-f1b5d685 How to achieve true personalized commerce

On 13 June 2017 executives of the Synaptic Commerce partner community and customers of SphereMall enjoyed an educational and vivid afternoon at RAAF, a hotspot in Rotterdam (The Netherlands). The theme of the day was “How to achieve true personalized commerce”.

The power of personalization was made present and tangible for everyone in a real-life case triggering the question about what “true” actually meant to be. And what it definitely wouldn't mean. New professional connections were made, ideas discussed and questions answered. Everyone got plenty of food for thought as well delicious drinks and bites to enjoy together. Personalization is just getting started, but the audience attending this event, knows now about the what, where and how!

The event had a varied, in-depth program with interesting speakers and fascinating subjects. The program went from academic theory via solution to implementation in practice at Jumbo Supermarkten. To give you an idea of the most important insights and for your personal inspiration we´ve asked each speaker one essential question:

Prof. Dr. Bas Donkers, Erasmus School of Economics

What is the online challenge for consumers and buyers? What problems do they encounter, where is it going and is that desirable?

“The customer is king, but where is his personnel? Online customers are in need of help. Because of the growing overload of assortment consumers cannot make their choice as they used to do. They get distracted because of all those options, products and messages they see online.

It ends up in total confusion and most of all: lots of time before they actually buy something. With lower conversion as a result! Solutions using artificial intelligence, smart algorithms, implementing relevance and variation in presented products are options to help out the consumer. But most of all: personalization.”

Christian van Someren, MSc. Quantative Marketing, SphereMall

What should you do if your assortment turns out to be overwhelming? Why are current tools and tactics insufficient? What should it be like? What do you need?

“Consumers can not choose or end up with the wrong products. Due to the growth of assortments, poor findability of products increases and conversion reduces. Current solutions and ways of personalization such as segmentation, name-dropping (name of a consumer) and eye-candy (such as other color use) simply do not help to make products better findable in the long run. Not because they are technically inconvenient, but because they fail in their approach.

They are all only fragments of the solution and are mostly not future proof. That inspired us to think the other way around. Personalization is key to us in this. We from SphereMall realized it was necessary not to focus on the system but to focus on the consumer.

Therefore our technology sorts the products according to individual preferences, not because others with similar interests may have bought it, too. Such a system and way of thinking did not exist before. We introduce technology that achieves a smoother customer trip and a higher conversion.

We first define all product properties and relationships. We add semantics (as in: meaning). Then we implement a simple IT landscape with smart filters remembering who the customer is. This is the foundation that makes it possible to show relevant product suggestions.

It’s now possible for consumers to experience a simpler customer journey because of the subtle support of the underlying technology helping them to get the products they really want in a faster and easier way. This is what makes consumers really happy. This solution can be implemented within a few weeks and easily scales with your offline and online success.

Because Intershop Commerce Suite has an open integration structure, it was easy for SphereMall to implement our technology at Jumbo Supermarkten. So the question is not whether you have to start personalization, but in what way and when!”

Sander Hoefnagels, Head of Format & Local Marketing & Media, Jumbo Supermarkten

What ambition does Jumbo have and what challenges does he face in practice?

“Everything we do at Jumbo Supermarkten is all about the customer. Jumbo is the current challenger in the Dutch market. By exceeding expectations, we grow and excel. We continuously keep track of our customers’ online behavior. At this moment we have created a flourishing online business with local pick up points.

Right now we’re quickly speeding up with delivering groceries at home. Relevant consumer insights are key: for example, we know that people buy the same products over and over again. But they also believe that ordering their groceries online, is time consuming.

One of our new goals is to make online shopping easily accessible for everyone. Modern marketing tools help us to achieve that but it is not enough. This is why we match so well with SphereMall and is why we started working with them for our newest store concept Foodmarkt City by Jumbo.

In the first release of the Foodmarkt City app that we made with SphereMall, you can already see the big difference: this app wants to know you as a consumer, so it starts with some questions about who you are. All registered personal information is visible, accessible and easy to customize. Based on this information, the app, for example, adjusts the order of the kitchens, as well as which combi-deals are being offered.

It's very subtle, but these are the first basic steps to reach true personalization on a large scale. Within the next couple of months, we will release new versions with more features and more products. What makes Jumbo so successful? I would like to give you three of our most relevant tips:

1. Always follow your own direction.

2. Dare to change the rules of the game.

3. Personal relevance plays a key role in creation.

Roelof Swiers, Country Manager Benelux, Intershop Nederland

Why is SphereMall partner of Intershop? How does it all connect with new technology?

“SphereMall's unique personalization software perfectly complements Intershop's e-commerce platform. It enables B2C and B2B businesses to get more return on investment with our technology, so we like to encourage that. SphereMall is Synaptic Partner of Intershop and integrates easily within our open integration structure.”


All visitors really appreciated the event. How did they react afterwards?

  • “Good Academic insights in an easy to understand language.”
  • “This master class has planted the seed for redefining the definition of personalization.”
  • “Warm, personal meet and great with Intershop and SphereMall team members.”
  • “Great high-tech update about the importance of letting go of hierarchy in data.”
  • “We’re now up to speed about what true personalization is and means to our customers.”
  • “Interesting inside Jumbo-information and figures plus their opinion about personalized commerce.”