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How online retailers such as BrandAlley are using personalisation to beat the high streets

Speaking at Emarsys Revolution event the BrandAlley CEO explains what high street brands can learn from the e-retailers that are revolutionising the way we shop online.

“If you’re not relevant you’re going to die in this environment,” claims Rob Feldmann, CEO of BrandAlley – an online retail site that specialises in discount designer brands.

It has been a difficult year for high street retailers with many of the household names such as John Lewis, which recently warned of zero first half profit, and House of Fraser, which went into administration, proving that even the biggest brands aren’t safe.

It would appear that 2018 is not the best year to get into the retail business.

However Mr Feldmann believes that not enough focus was put into online retail by the biggest high street names.

“The online parts of their businesses have not done as well as they should have done,” he says.

“If you talk to the House of Fraser executives they will probably admit that if they got their online right and their optimisation and artificial intelligence all correct they wouldn’t have gone into administration.”

BrandAlley is one such company that is showing how to get online retail right.

The success of BrandAlley

BrandAlley offers customers up to 80% off designer brands such as Ted Baker, Michael Kors and Diesel.

They are able to offer products at such a heavily discounted rate because they take on stock that is out of season, that the brands are trying to get rid of.

By targeting each customer with sale items they will be interested in BrandAlley are able to offer a much better rate of sale for the brands with a recent Superdry sale getting rid of 20,000 units of stock for the clothing company within four days.

The despite not having a physical store the e-commerce site can claim to have five million active members and four million unique visitors a month.

Mr Feldmann says the typical value of a customer’s basket is £100, which demonstrates the affluent audience that BrandAlley are able to attract.

Rob Feldmann CEO of BrandAlley speaking at Earsys Revolution 2018
Rob Feldmann CEO of BrandAlley speaking at Earsys Revolution 2018

How personalisation is bringing BrandAlley success

Core to BrandAlley’s philosophy is making the customer experience a pleasurable one.

In order to buy from their website you must be a registered member, creating a level of exclusivity, but this also allows the company to tailor the customer experience and make it personal.

Mr Feldmann admits that they do send out a lot of emails, however the content of the email is personalised to what they think you will want to buy.

“The way to actually sell product is to include dynamic content, items that people have looked at but haven’t bought, and make sure it is targeted to them,” he says.

“The way the algorithm works is it picks products up that are similar or identical to something you’ve looked at but not bought and what we find is the conversion rate goes up 16% compared to an editorial email that isn’t personalised.”

The power of word of mouth

The company boasted 24,000 new customers in September 2018, with 4,000 of those being referred by a friend.

“It’s phenomenal the amount of people we get coming to our site through word of mouth,” said Mr Feldmann.

“The key message to anyone who runs a brand of any description is, you’ll only grow if you get new customers coming through as well as getting existing customers to make repeat purchases.”

He added: “We are expecting to grow by 150% this year and that is really down to the quality of the brands and the conversion of customers.”