Startup Spotlight: Personalized video and promotions, getting online browsers offline, and more

Technologies on the Rise: Personalized video and promotions, getting online browsers offline, and more

Personalization continues to be the trend that just won’t go away, probably because it’s the new normal in how consumers want to interact with brands and retailers. Personalized videos hold the promise to surprise and delight (and covert), especially as we collectively spend more and more of our time viewing videos online. And personalized promotions help retailers maximize scarce marketing dollars, ensuring the right customer gets the right call to action at the right time.

Read on to discover promising new brands innovating in the retail world by streamlining store communications, creating smart style for women, and bridging the gap between online and offline. 


Wouldn’t you like to receive an abandoned cart email that actually was interesting, inspiring and relevant? Late last year, AdGreetz — the video personalization platform with clients including Amazon, McDonald’s, Forever 21 and Disney — launched the first personalized video abandoned cart with first-mover Zalando, the European fashion and footwear e-commerce company. According to AdGreetz, the solution is revolutionizing retargeting and driving industry-leading results, as much as 67% higher conversion, enabling retailers to eventually close transactions with three out of four shoppers who initially didn’t choose to check out.  

AdGreetz certainly is catering to the mantra of the moment: personalization. Nearly 80 percent of CMOs believe that personalized, relevant video is the future of the advertising world. AdGreetz creates hyper-relevant one-to-one video messages drawing from a wealth of data from sources including social media, email and apps to POS, beacons, text messages and print. The company’s “smart” personalized video messages generate 50% to 500% higher activation and engagement than traditional ads, thanks to their relevance to the recipient and the compelling, rich presentation. 


This brand from Bonobos offers seasonless dressing for women “All Year Round.” Currently selling online only but with plans to open a New York City showroom, AYR is about well crafted, high-quality wardrobe staples and classics and less about flash-in-the-pan trends. With tops often priced between $110 and $195, denim going for $165 to $225, and dresses selling for $225 to $425, AYR targets women who want to invest in great clothing they’ll cherish for years to come. It’s a refreshing response to the current fast-fashion environment. Indeed, AYR bills itself as “slow fashion, fast.” The brand seems to be tapping into both a movement against disposable clothing as well as women who value timeless style over fleeting Instagrammable fashion moments. (Which isn't to say that AYR styles aren't worthy of a snap on social media.)


Looking to simplify store communications? The Store Ops-Center (SOC) from Opterus is an easy-to-use cloud-based solution that aims to do just that. Designed specifically with the retail vertical in mind, SOC enables retailers to manage and execute store tasks and communication, with modules including task management, a documents library, tickets, calendar, forms, store and personal audits, certification and testing, and more. With SOC, retailers can be sure that stores are in compliance or take action to bring them into compliance as soon as possible. Retail customers ranging from Under Armour to Bob’s Stores claim that Opterus is essential to ensuring seamless daily communication with their stores. 


Want to make more money? Who doesn't? Persio’s smarter promotions platforms helps retailers make sound decisions on where to allocate their precious marketing dollars by allowing them to use one centralized interface to create, send, and optimize their multichannel campaigns. 

Using Persio, retailers can send out items including coupons, discounts, rich content and product promotions, and customize each message with a drag-and-drop editing tool, unique barcodes to better track customer interaction, and real-time preview. 

The marketing team then can deploy the promotion in the channel of its choosing, whether that's a mobile message, email, app, or e-commerce site. Every time a customer interacts with a promotional message, the Persio platform “learns” about the customer’s likes, dislikes, etc., and gets better at determining the types of offers and communications that will appeal to that particular shopper. The platform also integrates with other retail platforms, offering a unified view of the customer with data including cookie-based browsing behavior, POS-based purchase history, and CRM and loyalty data.

Armed with all of this information, Persio users can perform AB testing, determine promotion effectiveness, and discover the triggers that activate a shopper (ie, does she need a percentage off or is a free shipping offer sufficient?).

Clients ranging from Ashley Stewart and IKEA to AC Moore and Academy Sports use Persio to generate higher revenue from their marketing campaigns. One client sent out 80,000 personalized birthday promotion messages over six months, yielding a 31% redemption rate, and garnering $1.5 million in revenue, or $60 per subscriber. 


Just about every retailer is trying to figure out how to get the online and offline worlds to work together, and this new company is doing its part to help merchants understand how customers’ behavior online influences and affects the store visit. Brickwork, a 2015 Finalist for Startup of the Year, aims to engage customers who are researching online and incentivize them to make a store visit. The company’s store locator feature enables shoppers to take actions such as booking an in-store appointment or RSVPing for a store event. It also claims to drive as much as 70% more search traffic to physical store websites and as much as a fivefold increase in in-store revenue. Brickwork gathers data on what customers are doing online before they make a store visit, helping retailers better target their top omnichannel shoppers and provide a top-notch experience at every touchpoint in the path to purchase.

Anne Marie Stephen is the CEO and founder of Kwolia, a retail technology advisory. She can be reached at Follow her at @AnneMarie_ams and @KWOLIA.