A respected thought leader on the future of retail and e-commerce, we catch-up with Increasingly's CEO and Co-Founder Sri Sharma. Here, Sri gives his thoughts on the evolution of ecommerce, consumer centricity, and AI.
What are the biggest challenges merchants currently face, and what strategies can help them overcome these challenges?
Obviously physical has had massive challenges over the past year. Talking exclusively about ecommerce, the acceleration of digital has brought about its own unique opportunities and of course challenges.
Consumer power has never been higher than right now. Customers are no longer forced to choose between just a couple of options, and shoppers are spending more time researching and considering choices before committing to purchase. Brands need to become more effective than ever when customers land on their websites.
I often talk about The Kahn Retailing Success Matrix as a framework for success. It is built around two fundamental principles, increasing pleasure and eliminating pain points.
More than ever retailers need to pick their lane, are you all about providing an exceptional brand experience or do you want to major on price and customer convenience? Pick your specialty and use technology to help you succeed.
Using AI to help you achieve better customer experiences should absolutely be in your strategy this year, otherwise there is a huge risk of being left behind with the pace of investment by retailers. Start with meaningful problems, such as reducing returns, improving ROAS from ad spend or improving AOV. How can AI and technology help you solve these problems?
How has Increasingly been able to support advertisers through a time like this?
Coming back to The Kahn Retailing Success Matrix, Increasingly works best for retailers looking to excel in the right-hand columns, experience and frictionlessness. We provide customers with hyper convenient and frictionless experiences by displaying intelligent product bundles across the customer journey based on intent data.
We know that customers aren’t shopping for a single product. They are completing a project, regime or look. According to Forrester, most retailers miss out on 10-30% of revenue by not effectively upselling relevant products to their customers.
Increasingly’s AI platform intelligently sells product bundles and collections on-site, in marketing and in-store. Typically driving +15% in revenue and growing AOV by +33%. We use neural networks to work out a customer's intent from historic purchase data and real-time behaviour to create a completely personalised experience.
Imagine showing your customers the perfect brush to match their foundation, or the complimentary top to complete their look? Or even the right set of tools for their DIY projects. All powered by precise algorithms that have been proven to deliver uplifts in revenue for some of the world's leading brands including, Samsung, AVON, Pets at Home and Boots.
Our tech can be easily implemented through the affiliate channel and paid on a CPA or fixed fee basis.
Why is a brand's purpose such a big deal right now?
This pandemic has definitely taught me that consumers value businesses that have a reason to exist beyond just making money. I’ve spoken a lot about the legacy of 2020 and brands that have strived to connect with their customers on a personal level. Putting people before profits in a time of crisis definitely wins in the eyes of consumers.
People buy because of how they feel. It’s emotion driven over logic driven. Some smart brands have recognised this early and have really played to customers' hearts.
What's next for Increasingly?
I am looking forward to ramping up adoption of our new products, AI Collections specifically designed for Google Shopping, Facebook and Instagram.
Using powerful and proven AI for ecommerce that we have built over the last six years we've now made it possible to promote product bundles straight into your Google Shopping campaigns. We realised that many brands using Google Shopping as a customer acquisition tool were suffering from selling only the one item a customer clicked on in their advert. AI Collections encourages customers to buy more than one product by displaying intelligent product bundles right at the beginning of the journey.
We are also busy advancing our AI capabilities within our platform and creating richer features, including advanced reporting and dashboards.
In your career to-date, what are you most proud of?
That’s a really tricky one. I’m a bit older than some in the industry 😂. Something I care about deeply, and have loved is, seeing people who I’ve hired, worked with and supported rise up in their careers. It’s really a wonderful feeling.