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POWER’s online sales grow with personalization and recommendations

Jarkko Lehtismäki (Chief Technology Officer) from POWER International AS and Timo Vuori (Chief Sales Officer) from Frosmo had a great discussion about growing online sales with personalization and recommendations at Frosmo’s LinkedIn event on May 28. The collaboration between POWER and Frosmo started already a few years ago, so it was high time to take a look back at how it all started and to talk about personalization, recommendations, and how these affect online sales.

To kick things off, Timo was curious to know what Jarkko’s initial thoughts were when he heard about Frosmo’s capabilities in personalization and product recommendations for the first time.

“Timing was perfect. I loved Timo’s approach of very aggressively saying that we can do better and we are willing to prove that. That’s why our conversation continued from the first initial contact.”

Jarkko Lehtismäki, CTO, Power International AS

While Timo’s straight-forward attitude led to further discussions, Jarkko naturally had his share of expectations for a SaaS vendor. For example, does the prize determine the choice?

Expectations for a SaaS vendor such as Frosmo

According to Jarkko, the prize is only one of many expectations for a vendor. For one, it’s important that the vendor helps the customer see things in a new light and brings new ideas to the table. A vendor needs to have the capability and readiness to challenge the current setup. Shaking the status quo today gains you market leadership tomorrow.

“I think that challenging the status quo goes all the way to the DNA of POWER.

Timo Vuori, Chief Sales Officer, Frosmo

The vendor must be able to bring their fresh thinking to bear not just on the technical implementation details, but also on the business perspective. Naturally, the customer remains the main driver of any business improvements.

The most important function of product recommendations

For POWER, the most important function of the product recommendation engine is added sales. Added sales is a natural part of selling in brick-and-mortar stores and should also apply in online stores. In practice, the way you do this is by adding the right product recommendation elements to the right places on the site. A good recommendation brings added value to the visitor and added sales to the store.

“It is the ‘others also bought’ recommendation which adds the social aspect by explaining that this is usually bought together with the product. Classic examples are batteries to a toy or washing powder to a washing machine. It adds value from the customer perspective.”

Jarkko Lehtismäki, CTO, POWER International AS

Personalizing the visitor journey is all about taking care of the visitor’s individual needs from start to finish. In the early stages of the journey, the visitor needs to find the right kind of product group or content so that they become engaged and stay on the site. Once you have the visitor’s attention, you can guide them into and through the discovery phase by feeding them the right kind of personalized and relevant content.

“Being always able to serve customers in a relevant way is really important and then of course in the end of the funnel maximize the sale.”

Timo Vuori, Chief Sales Officer, Frosmo

Providing the visitor with relevant product recommendations across their entire journey ensures a top-notch customer experience and will likely lead to maximized sales. But the recommendations must truly be relevant, or you risk the opposite effect. If the visitor feels the recommendations are completely unrelated to their interests, they will quickly lose interest and bounce from the site.

Personalized recommendations and other personalized content rely on tracking visitor behavior. Although personalization can add significant value to a visitor’s journey, not every visitor is willing to share the information required to personalize the content they see. But even if a visitor opts out of the tracking required for personalization, they still benefit from generic recommendations.

Relevant KPIs for website performance

When it comes to tracking website performance, it’s clear which KPIs to use.

“Conversion and click-through rate is the basic stuff that we want to see, and when it comes to our industry – accessories. There we want to see as high an attachment rate to an actual product as possible.”

Jarkko Lehtismäki, CTO, Power International AS

Compared to their previous setup, POWER’s shift to using Frosmo’s personalization software improved results across the board. However, Jarkko sees the importance of constantly improving the results and not accepting a certain level that has been reached once. Hence, building a great customer experience and growing online sales through personalization and recommendation is a continuous process.

Personalization software implementation

Timo’s original sales pitch was bold and aggressive. But how did the actual implementation go? Was it as fast and easy as promised, or did it take a bit more time and effort?

“I think the implementation took like two days. It was a really fast setup which also made it easier to do the actual test against the old setup we had. It was not just a sales pitch saying that it is fast to implement. To get started – really fast.”

Jarkko Lehtismäki, CTO, POWER International AS

The deployment was really successful and, yes, as fast and easy as promised. Frosmo’s focus is to keep the implementation as smooth as possible to lower the barrier of using personalization as a gateway to better customer experience and increased online sales. In addition, a quick and smooth deployment saves the customer time they can spend engaging in their core business.

Plans and future aspirations

POWER will next focus on content recommendations. According to Jarkko, they have a great, innovative team producing informative content for their website visitors, so it’s important to make sure that the content finds the right audience. Providing great content related to a product helps the visitor in the important discovery phase to, for example, choose the right washing machine or TV.

Regarding the question whether customers’ habits will return to their pre-COVID-19 state, Jarkko and Timo both see the value of combining online and physical-store sales. The end customer can either first browse products online and validate their choice at a store, or check the product first at a store and buy it later online. A smooth-flowing omnichannel experience supports the customer from the discovery phase all the way to the actual purchase.

Personalization and relevant recommendations are a great way to create a seamless and effortless customer experience that leads to increased sales.

POWER International AS is a leading home electronics retailer in the Nordic region, with a nation-wide store network and online shops in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. For more information, visit POWER’s website (Finnish).

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