Why It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Your ESP

Posted by Ivan Mazour 25 Jan 18

the future of retail.pngIn order to really thrive in 2018 and beyond, brands need to be providing a customer experience that is personal, relevant and timely.

Most retail marketers already know this, so why are so few actually delivering on it?

Because the technology that controls their working life is the email service provider (ESP).

Let us explain.

Email has been, and continues to be, the main channel that drives engagement with existing customers, so it’s no surprise that the platform of choice for the retail CRM marketer is an ESP.

However, the problem is that the majority of ESPs out there were built decades ago, for the purpose of sending the same email to a million people—over and over again.

The technology of an ESP started with a simple foundation: a list of email addresses you'd upload in a box, and a message you'd then send to those addresses. And back in the 90s, there was nothing wrong with this practice. You really could just send a bunch of emails to a list and it would work.

…But then the ecommerce industry exploded, and customers wised up.

The impact of the ecommerce revolution  

Following the exponential rise in customers’ expectations, retail marketers cottoned onto the fact that an email list alone wasn’t enough; to show customers they recognised them on an individual level, a database would need to be factored into the equation.

By having access to information such as demographic details (name, age, gender) and number of orders, retailers could segment emails based on factors such as lifecycle stage (for example, sending VIP emails to those who have spent a lot). But, of course, this level of personalisation quickly lost its novelty.

As a result of the complex and multifaceted nature of retail, today's smart retail marketers want to make their personalisation far more sophisticated. They want to power personalisation that takes into consideration a plethora of relevant factors, such as—let’s say— the product of purchase.

But it’s tricky to achieve this using an ESP alone.

If you just stick a table of fields onto an email list, how do you even start to think about handling whether a customer has purchased a product? Do you create ten thousand fields for all your SKUs and put a yes/no? And each product has a bunch of attributes, so what if you just want to send an email to people who buy navy items, or jumpers, or navy jumpers?

It just doesn't work. You're back to having to work everything out in a giant spreadsheet, exporting everything, importing everything.

Of course, you can always use additional tools with an ESP— maybe an additional provider to try and make the content more personal, a module that your ESP needs you to buy for browse abandonment, or something to help power your social media marketing. The problem is, all this leads to a messy technology stack that’s overflowing with add-ons and disconnected systems.

This kind of convoluted setup can result in:

  • skewed insight into your customer base
  • a lack of actual support for the advanced things you’re trying to do
  • a disconnected and bad customer experience
  • repetitive tasks, as you attempt to keep everything together and provide a good enough customer experience

It’s all about laying the right foundations

As mentioned in our introduction, the problem lies in the fact that the retail marketing use cases we come across today weren’t considered when ESPs were first being built.

Think of it like a house.

Building an enterprise software platform is not that different to building a house: you start off with an idea of what your dream home looks like, but you quickly decide you want to make it bigger, and more impressive.

Now sure, it always seems like you can just add an extension here and there with the help of an architect, but in reality the end result doesn't look like the picture perfect one you imagined. Why not? Because the foundations of the property weren’t right.

Which is where Ometria comes in.

We believe the foundation of retail marketing today starts with the customer.

So we built a marketing platform that could offer our clients a holistic, unified, predictive, understanding of each and every customer.

This consumer-centric approach has been our vision right from the start, and over the years we’ve continued to make progress with it.

Today, our platform doesn’t just just pull together relevant pieces of data, to unify into a single customer view, but also provides retailers with customer profiles that are AI-driven and three-dimensional.

To help you visualise what this looks like, below is a screen grab showing you what our single customer view today looks like (using the fake customer profile, Imogene).

Ometria platform single customer view

ometria single customer view

Imagine being able to determine, as you can above, how engaged a customer is with your brand, or what category he or she is most likely to buy next.

This notion, of a sophisticated, all-encompassing customer profile, is the building block of our platform.

It is our foundation, and we’ll continue improve it.

We’ve built Ometria in such as a way that, whenever new data sources become relevant, adding them to the customer profile becomes simple. Whenever new marketing channels become available, communication through them is immediately personalised.

By building our customer marketing platform with this foundation, we're continually able to do things that simply weren't possible before.

Visionaries

We’ve built a platform that doesn’t need any add-ons: our clients’ marketing becomes fully personalised across all their channels, in real-time.

Ometria aims to eradicate all the pointless manual work marketers have become accustomed to, leaving them to instead stay focused on creative and strategic decisions.

We've only been around for five years. This is just the beginning of our journey, but the reason hundreds of retailers (from large multichannel ones like Moss Bros to fast-growth ecommerce businesses like Papier and Wonderbly) choose to use us is because they understand our vision.

They understand that we are the only platform that has the ultimate foundation which is necessary for ongoing success in today's data-driven retail marketing world.

By starting with the customer, our technology will always be able to provide a better experience both for the end consumer, and just as importantly, for the retail marketer too.

To find out more about what Ometria has to offer, click here 

Topics: ecommerce marketing blog, ESP, ecommerce marketing advice, Ometria platform, single customer view, artificial intelligence and marketing

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