Guy Harel Co-Founder and CEO of Remarkety talks about the importance of data in every aspect of marketing and how big data can be used efficiently.
The original interview can be found at Martechcube.com
1) Can you tell us about your role at Remarkety?
I am Guy Harel Remarkety’s co-founder and co-CEO. I am in charge of product and R&D.
2) Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I come from a tech background, developing and managing sophisticated data-driven products for military and banking applications. I met my co-founder while working together in a Fin-tech startup. After the financial crisis of 2008, we decided to start an independent consulting firm for building web applications, including eCommerce.
When eCommerce sites started to take off, we realized that there was a need for data-driven systems in that industry. There was a big gap between the ability to create an online store and the ability to tap into intelligent marketing.
The businesses only had two types of choices to manage their direct communication with customers: very simple newsletter solutions that simply managed lists or very expensive enterprise solutions that only large businesses could afford.
The SMB market really needed an alternative that would allow eCommerce sites to market intelligently to customers without a big learning curve and at a price that fit their budgets. Those are the guiding principles of our solution: to develop something very easy to use that enables smaller businesses to make smart use of data.
3) How do you think technology is upgrading the marketing sector?
Technology built on data is becoming increasingly important and raises the bar for all businesses.
Initially, it was OK to send everyone the same communication without segmenting at all or using rough segmentation, because it was difficult and time-intensive to do.
Personalization used to mean simply including the customer’s name in an email. Now the goal posts have moved to include personalized recommendations and content, behavior-driven message timing, and multi-channel communication, whether it is email, SMS, or social media.
The expectation now is that communication should be much more adaptive to the customer – and it wouldn’t be feasible for small businesses without smart automation.
Smart automation is what enables businesses to understand their customers better and talk with them in a more personalized and effective way. Without the tech, that level of personalization at scale would take too much time and energy.
4) How can eCommerce data impact the shopping behavior of customers?
Currently, you have a huge variety of products and a lot of data about customers. When put those two together with automation between them, you are able to provide a much more personalized customer experience.
Intelligent use of eCommerce data allows for more meaningful conversations to happen between the brand and its customers, thus increasing loyalty and LTV.
When you just blast out one-size-fits-all emails on sales, you just have one side shouting without listening to the other. That is not a conversation.
Remarkety’s tech enables stores to respond to customer signals, so that they are having a two-way conversation.
For example, active customers can get one kind of message, while the customer who hasn’t shopped on the site for the past several months gets a different one. They also get different messages based on their behavior if they‘ve indicated an interest in certain products or categories.
These more responsive interactions contribute to an ongoing conversation that’s long term and meaningful, as well as more productive.
5) How can Big Data analysis help in maximizing customer value?
Every business now has data. But only really large sellers like Amazon and Target who handle millions of customers, products, and orders really use Big Data.
Larger companies have analysts that can slice, dice, and microsegment using Big Data. The processes involved are expensive, though; they take a lot of time, expertise, talent, and, of course, data.
SMBs have what we would call SMD, which is: Small and Medium Data, rather than Big Data. Marketers and eCommerce managers need tools that can help them tame the data to their marketing needs, which means that they can quickly build segments and set targeting rules, without needing analyst or developer assistance.
That’s where the magic happens with products like Remarkety’s. It relieves the smaller companies of the need to set up their own data teams.
The reason it works is because we are not a generic big data platform but one that was built around the specific needs of retail and eCommerce. Remarkety comes out of the box with pre-built data models that capture all the meaningful information – products, categories, orders, customers, and leads. We use these models to provide product recommendations and can take care of many details behind the scenes (for example: recommending only in-stock items, and taking into account the customer’s product category preferences).
When using Remarkety, they don’t need to put data through a data warehouse and pull out lists of customers that ordered a particular product last holiday season. It is already available to them in Remarkety because that’s the type of problem we built it to solve.
6) What role does automation play in abandoned cart recovery?
We know that there’s a very high abandoned cart rate across all forms of eCommerce, near 80%. Businesses that follow up can recoup around 20% of those abandoned carts, which makes a huge difference to the bottom line.
Abandoned cart recovery is a great way to see high value from automation. Automation determines three key things:1. the timing 2. the channel 3. the message.
It is also very important to be able to continue a cart checkout process across devices. For example, an order that was started on a laptop but completed on a mobile device. The challenge there is that session cookies are not synched. Remarkety solves this problem.
7) What is the significance of AI and ML in effective product recommendations?
You have to do some sort of machine learning to sift through the large number and variety of products, especially if they change seasonally. You can’t go around defining manual recommendations for every product, and ML is great at figuring out which products to show to which customer. ML can tune itself and can change the product recommendation in response to any signal, whether it’s in the inventory, prices, what people are currently buying, seasonality, etc. It has the ability to consider a lot more factors than a human being can and can do it many times over in rapid succession. Rechecking the order history of all products over the past year is a pain in the neck for a person but very easy for an ML algorithm.
Along with tight integration to the current product catalog, and with good knowledge of every customer’s unique shopping habits and preferences, Remarkety makes all of this process drag-and-drop easy. Just drop a “Product Recommendations” block into your email, and you’re off to the races.
8) Can you explain to us in detail about Remarkety’s Email Performance Tracking?
Remarkety doesn’t just track emails but customers. All tracking complies with GDPR and other privacy laws because customers are not tracked across properties.
For the email tracking, we go beyond email open rates and clicks to show what each customer did in response to the email. We show you who got the email, what they clicked, what they ended up buying, and how much they spent.
We carry through to track responses and behavior on the site, as well as the individual customer’s shopping history. Remarkety creates a more comprehensive customer profile by tracking responses to automation, newsletters, texts, and behavior on the site – even across devices.
Without that ability, what a customer did on mobile wouldn’t be connected to what they did on their desktop. If they looked at a product on one device, it wouldn’t be carried over to another unless they made sure to register each time.
Remarkety gives businesses full visibility across channels and devices. The tracking is about creating a better user experience that allows the conversation to move seamlessly across channels. Over time, that adds up not just to increase sales but customers’ lifetime value.
9) How can eCommerce data be used for social media campaigns?
Drawing on your eCommerce data is a good way to achieve better segmentation.
One of the ways you can use that is by using it for the acquisition of lookalikes based on an updated list of your best customers. Another way is to increase LTV by targeting customers who haven’t engaged with your direct messaging or have not purchased in a few months.
Remarkety makes segmentation on social media easier by synchronizing segments defined in Remarkety. So you could create a custom audience, and lookalike audiences, based on dynamic rules that you create within Remarkety, and we take care of keeping that audience up-to-date automatically.
It’s all about using the good data that you have to increase the effectiveness of social media campaigns and their ROI.
10) How does customer segmentation affect the email campaign performance?
An example that I like to share about the bad effects of poor or no segmentation is the emails I got from Lenovo. A month after I bought a particular laptop at full price, I received an email about a sale on that same model. That’s not just a promotion that is irrelevant but one that makes your customer feel like they lost out.
Aside from turning off your customers, you have to keep on target to incentivize your customers to open your emails and avoid having them filtered out as spam or promotions. Algorithms on the client side are very aggressive about classifying irrelevant messaging that way.
For those reasons, segmentation is important as a long term strategy to maintain a good reputation. Email is so effective, and the ROI is so huge that you really want to keep it as an effective channel.
11) What advice would you like to give to the technology Start-Ups?
Listen to your customers. You have to innovate. You have to understand not just what they say they want but why they want it. The challenge is to find if there is a way to solve their pain points better than the specific thing they are asking you to do.
Even though we have amazing success, support, and sales staff at Remarkety, we make an ongoing effort and set aside time to work with customers directly. We believe it is invaluable for founders and decision-makers to have a really hands-on connection with users.
12) What is the digital innovation in sales technology according to you that will mark 2020?
Cross-device functionality not a digital innovation but key to making eCommerce work well. There is going to be a lot more integration of predictive analytics and integration of all the various communication channels, including email SMS, and social. Multi-channel technology makes it possible to connect everything into a single, unified conversation.
Permission marketing will take off. Because of GDPR and privacy laws, we now need to be much more careful to obtain permission to market to customers and keep them interested. This is a good thing for marketers, though, because when customers give their permission, that means they are more receptive to the SMS or email than when they just get one in a blast.
One can’t talk about 2020 without referencing COVID19. The shifts in customer behavior caused by the pandemic and lockdowns have shown that now eCommerce is not just an add-on but retail but a must-have that needs to be at the heart of a marketing strategy. That means businesses and brands have to be a lot more sophisticated about the customer experience on their website because it will be a much larger driver for revenue going forward.
13) What are the major developments you are planning, in recent times?
We just released a new SMS feature a few weeks ago and are planning to expand on creating sophisticated customer journeys that are even more adaptive to the end customer. We’re also enhancing the use of predictive analytics within the product.
14) Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
Our team is everything. The strength of Remarkety is in our team. We’re proud to say we have a very good and open company culture.
Everybody has a voice. We have all hands meetings every week in which everyone offers feedback on what customers have been saying, what can be improved, what we are doing well, and what we aren’t.
Every member of the team is conscious of representing the brand to our customers. They realize that they have the role of ambassadors and really work hard for our customers. That true not just support but for everybody.
That’s why we see customers staying with us for such a long time. Many of our customers have stuck with us since our first day.
It’s about being connected to our customers. We help them a lot even beyond the Remarkety product.
15) What movie inspires you the most?
I like documentaries and war movies. Seeing how much strength we have as people to be able to survive and prosper even in very difficult circumstances is what inspires him.