Qubit Aura

The new breed of shoppers focused on themselves has led the charge for personalization that technology firm Qubit thinks it has a good grasp on.

The maker of marketing-personalization software recently launched a new tool called Qubit Aura, which lives as a small icon on companies’ mobile stores. Customers browsing through mobile click the icon, which culls up relevant products based on that individual’s actions using artificial intelligence. Thus, the more this tool gets to know the user, the better the discovery results. Diane von Furstenberg and Asics are among the companies now using the solution, which was in beta in July with brands such as ColourPop and Wolf & Badger. The company declined to say how many companies total are using Qubit Aura.

For DVF, which brought in chief creative officer Jonathan Saunders last year, implementing Aura was part of a larger re-brand that spanned not only visuals and product, but a new focus on leading with direct-to-consumer, said director of e-commerce Felipe Araújo.

“Our whole goal with our new site was really to be a faster site, a modern site, that was much simpler with tools that all made sense together for our customer,” Araújo said. “So we really were trying to be mobile-first, innovative and really think customer-centric and not look at what others were doing. So our site went through this massive redesign.”

That overhaul included the streamlining of filter categories, paring it back from nine to three, and simplifying the check-out and search process.

Third-quarter conversions on the U.S. site has nearly doubled, Araújo said, with the focus on mobile first, but there’s still work to do. The executive pointed out that while 50 percent of the site’s traffic is coming from mobile, mobile does not account for 50 percent of overall revenue.

“Session duration on mobile is shorter than on desktop,” Araújo said. “We’re picking up the phone. We’re putting it down. You’re having this fragmented experience on mobile.”

The other challenge is that when it comes to the acts of discovery and inspiration, those behaviors and where they’re done are not necessarily always the same place as where the actual transacting occurs. Brands such as DVF have invested in Instagram shopping and the discovery phase, but the transition into actually moving consumers onto the web store has not been as seamless.

“The idea with Qubit was how can we bring what we’re lacking on mobile, which is this discovery phase, into our own walls and create a discovery phase that is seamless that can transition back-and-forth between discovery and seeing a product and actually purchasing,” Araújo said.

The technology is the culmination of studying consumer behavior and what’s worked at other successful businesses, such as an Airbnb or Spotify, when it comes to discovery and inspiration, Qubit director of product management Simon Jaffery said.

“Over the course of the last year we’ve been in personalization, we’ve really focused on what is persuasive personalization,” he said. “What types of messaging helps the customer give reassurance to purchase.”

Personalization in real time — and how to effectively do that — is the tipping point, said Qubit chief marketing officer Leah Anathan when it comes to mobile versus desktop.

“The challenge is depth of catalogue, of sku’s and the small screen,” she said. “The conversion rate is often half that on desktops. Therefore, the amount [consumers] spend is significantly less. This is something that retailers know, but is becoming a critical business challenge.”

AI’s role in this conversation and taking cues from each shopper’s individual behaviors will be key moving forward, the Qubit executives say.

“We’re just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg,” Jaffery said. “One of the big shifts that we’ve seen obviously has been the move to mobile of which [Qubit Aura] enables….Look at Facebook. They’ve built their entire business on mobile, but there’s a reason why Google was set up to be AI first, because that’s the next battleground. That’s why we’re set up in the middle of those two.”

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