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October 16, 2015

Website personalisation – a Nosto focus

Gabrielle Iskandar

An integration favourite

Just recently we mused on the ever popular concept of Me-Tail and discussed the basics of Website Personalisation. Now we’re back to shine the spotlight on a few of Space 48’s personal personalisation integration favourites.

When eCommerce first reared its head, people were skeptical about actually buying items online, the public discussed the implications: Will it look like it does in the picture? I can’t try it on – How will I know what size I am? What if I don’t like it? Is it safe to pay online? Now that all of these questions have been answered and mitigated with; clear imagery, great merchandising, detailed descriptions, size charts, catwalk/how to videos, a variation of postage and return options, PCI compliance and secure online payments; the migration towards online shopping has been immense, with Econsultancy reporting the UK’s 2015 online retail sales to reach £52.25bn.

The rise in online shopping perhaps began as one of convenience and leisure, but is increasingly offering personal gratification and the added extra that personal shopping delivers – from the comfort of one’s home. One that, put simply, makes you feel good by assisting you on your shopping experience.

In this feature we will be honing in on Nosto. We will cover what it does, how it can be implemented and discuss the technical implications of integrating with this platform.

What is Nosto?

According to their website it is: “The easiest way to deliver your customers personalised shopping experiences – wherever they are”.

They have a great range of high-performing personalisation features available including: Facebook Ads, Product Recommendations, behavioural Pop-ups and Triggered emails. And as one of only fifteen Magento Gold Technology Partners they are geared to drive customers in the direction of your eCommerce store and to ramp up your conversion rate.

But, the feature that really matters to us as eCommerce technology solution partners and Magento specialists, and the one that we are most likely to use (and certainly recommend) is the powerful product recommendations tool.

Personalise product recommendations

The website personalisation tool can be configured to appear in many guises. But, as Nosto quote:
“People tell you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be…” – Don Draper

You should keep things simple, start from the beginning and don’t run too far ahead of yourself. This integration should help make the user journey pleasant and also, not cause you a headache. So let’s think logically:

New customer:

You have a new customer on site, you have no past to guide your recommendations, let’s start with a homepage that suggests the most popular items in your store, or perhaps the current, real-time trends.

Cowshed Example
Most-popular-on-site-this-week

Returning customer:

Welcome them back. Showcase the items that they viewed the last time they visited – perhaps they are back to purchase and you just handed it straight to them like an attentive shop assistant. Perhaps they were coveting an item and you just reminded them of their attraction!

Most-Loved-By-You

Most-Recently-Viewed

Product pages

Here you can recommend / upsell / promote. Show complementary items, the shoes that go perfectly with the outfit, the coffee which brings meaning to the machine, the brush to suit the powder. You can also show items which ‘customers who viewed this item also viewed’ or ultimately ‘went on to buy’. Perhaps you could showcase other offerings from that particular brand. My personal favourite would be ‘wear it with’ and showing complementary items and the items featured in the shoot. Beware not to overcomplicate matters, perhaps pick one to start with and think about CRO testing.

BBW Example

Recomended-products

Before I continue on for too long about, what feels like an unlimited supply of possibilities and configurations, please go to the Nosto site to read more about their ‘product recommendations’ feature. I will draw your attention to the dreaded 404-page and dead-end search pages, ensure that you have at least the top sellers on there if you can’t muster up something more enticing!

Now let’s have a look at the back end of things, it’s great thinking about the merchandising and the conversions that we gain from all of this, but what are the actual technical considerations of Nosto? I discussed this with one of our Magento development experts, Nigel, who shared a few words.

The technical implications

From a technical point of view the Magento Nosto module is well written. The latest version of the Nosto module (2.6.4) is comprehensive and includes an interface allowing slots and templates to be managed from inside the Magento admin.

The integration process, albeit simplified, takes some time to understand. A Nosto container div with a specific ID is inserted into a specific page. The container block is populated with a selection of products which are presented and styled through a template which is administered in the Nosto admin.

The product selections can be made from a set of rules which apply to a specific Nosto slot and the selection is dynamically inserted into the relevant page by a Javascript call after the page load; Which means that page load times are not impacted as they would be if the product selection was collected and inserted in the normal way.

The selection rules (usually administered by the marketing department) are simple to understand and easy to edit in the Nosto Admin.

Product information and customer behaviour is sent to Nosto via javascript. This information is then analysed in order to make the correct product selection from the slot rule.

Although Nosto have simplified their interface, the integration should be undertaken by a specialist. Once in place it is easy to manipulate the slot rules in order to display the right products to the right customer.

Nosto in summary

Personalised product recommendations that are implemented to complement your website and brand, with logical next step configurations, that offer an extra step towards increasing your conversion rate and average order value. One of our clients, Bodybuilding Warehouse has seen an increase in conversion rate of 53% since implementing the Nosto services and they are not alone.

They also have the other features (which we haven’t covered here) which could be of interest. For example the personalised behavioural pop-ups which can welcome new customers, offer discounts to potential custom who show signs of abandoning the site, and overall pop-up at the opportune moment to encourage those conversions.

Behavioural-pop-ups

Their automated, dynamic product Facebook ads, which breathe new life into your omni-channel campaigns and can generate performance improvements of up to 400%. Or even their triggered emails which boast an click-through rate ten times that of the industry average.

Nosto doesn’t have a hefty price tag or a long contract, you can simply pay as you go and only pay a small percentage of those clicks that actually convert. And the final important consideration to mention is that their support is excellent!

With not long to go now before the Christmas period we hope that you have already started to really make the most of your eCommerce site; optimising the customer journey, tweaking the processes and not only keeping up with customer expectations but exceeding them in order to retain loyal custom beyond the browsing and sales!

One of our clients, Bodybuilding Warehouse uses Nosto with great effect. You can also read their join case study here on the Nosto site.