LUISAVIAROMA does AI with Italian style

David Reed, director of research and editor-in-chief, DataIQ

Global luxury fashion retailer, LUISAVIAROMA, sells luxury fashion apparel and accessories from  over 600 brands via two Italian stores, but principally through its website which attracts more than 5 million visitors per month and contributes 95% of the company’s total revenues.

With its emphasis on luxury, the customer experience via the site and all of its customer communications needs to retain a personal touch in line with the brand. To support this, the retailer has adopted an artificial intelligence-optimised marketing platform from Emarsys to automate and personalise its omni-channel customer engagement.

Using web and email tools, including smart segmentation and send time optimisation, conversion rates online have been increased by 400%, with revenue from email campaigns rising by 900%. Email has seen its revenue contribution increase by 21%, while post-purchase conversion has also grown by 37.5%.

Nicola Antonelli, head of marketing at LUISAVIAROMA.COM, explained to DataIQ what lay behind its decision to adopt an AI-driven marketing platform.

DataIQ: Ecommerce is a challenging sector with a lot of competition. What were the particular issues that your were looking to address?

Nicola AntonelliNicola Antonelli: “The main issue that we are encountering and working on is to decrease our cost per acquisition (CPA). Competition in the marketplace is increasing and, in turn, this increases costs and reduces margins. Our first goal is to increase our conversion rates by trying to monetizs our users more effectively.”

DIQ: What was the existing marketing technology set-up?

NA: “We were using a standard ISP just to send newsletters.”

DIQ: What level of personal information do you hold on customers and is this expanding to include, for example, social ID?

NA: “For every client we have the following:

  • general personal preferences: information on their favorite designers, favorite products, and other preferred traits;
  • browsing history of their activity on our website: records of the pages visited, preferred categories, abandoned shopping carts, and so on;
  • purchase history: details of everything the client has previously bought, including when they purchase and how much they spend.”

DIQ: In looking to drive personalisation on the web site, what part does the artificial intelligence (AI) component of Emarsys Web Channel play?

NA: “Web Channel allows us to communicate at a personal level to a targeted segment of clients. Prior to its launch, we were only able to share personalised communications with our customers  outside of our website, such as through email newsletters. The solutionl fills this gap and gives us the ability to replicate this exclusively personal experience on our website as well.”

DIQ: How important was it to work with a vendor who could provide AI “out of the box”?

NA: “It’s really important for us to deploy ‘out of the box' solutions. Doing so helps us save time, learn quickly and reduce our time to market.”

DIQ: Will LUISAVIAROMA be building a data science capability in-house to develop use of AI and machine learning even further?

NA: “At the moment, we aren’t considering investing in it right now. We are still a small company with limited in-house human resources, and we still have a lot work to do to optimise our website.”

DIQ:The impact of Web Channel looks significant - was it what you were expecting?

NA: “Honestly, no. We were quite optimistic because all our previous work with Emarsys has generated positive results, but with this platform, the impact has been even greater than expected.”

DIQ: So, what’s next?

NA: “‘Next’ for us means developing something new that doesn’t quite exist yet. We love to be the first to make a move and innovate, and we are used to testing new features and new tools that we find in the market. Our plan is to increase our usage of AI in our website and in our marketing channels, starting with our newsletters.”