PROFILE

Rodger Buyvoets

CEO/Founder, Crobox

A digital leader with 15+ years of experience in eCommerce. Founder and CEO of Crobox – an Amsterdam-based technology firm that combines consumer psychology with machine learning to help retailers learn what their customers love about their products.

Learn more: crobox.com

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  • Posted on: 01/22/2021

    NRF 2021: Saks doubles down on its ‘luxury disrupted’ strategy

    Brands have no choice but to ramp up their omnichannel initiatives, that much is clear. But bringing that in-store personalized experience online is especially important for luxury retailers, whose shoppers buy from brands to engage in the luxury experience. Armani's on-site tailoring, for example, is a good way to simulate in-store customization. Or Chanel's "catwalk" category in their product taxonomy. Your typical connections of in-store and online will be different for luxury brands, whose audiences are varied and subject to change (especially post-pandemic).
  • Posted on: 01/05/2021

    Are local retailers ready to flex their omnichannel muscles?

    The advantage for local retailers is just that: they can personalize on a local basis (a huge advantage being proximity to their target base), while their small scale usually means being flexible and open to change. Adopting an omnichannel strategy would be beneficial - there's no doubt about that. But whether they can collect and leverage online data in the same way omnichannel champions are doing it (e.g., Amazon), I'm not so sure. To really prove they can battle it out, it's imperative they find omnichannel solutions that take advantage of their proximity, flexibility, and hyper-personalization.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2020

    Are retailers set up to scale the value of AI investments?

    Execs may note the importance of AI but not understand how best to use it. And yet it's true that leveraging AI should be a mandate from the C-level down. Without a culture of experimentation at the core of a brand's strategy, it'll be more difficult to reap the benefits of AI. In order for this to stick (and work), retailers need to be data-driven, flexible, and IT-first - often a hard sell in an industry dominated by legacy issues and interdepartmental silos.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2020

    Is the pandemic pushing livestream shopping into the mainstream?

    Livestreaming could be interesting, especially for luxury retailers. It could be a good opportunity for showcasing exclusive events, including a runway show where people can buy pieces as they are being shown - a new way of experiential retailing. The preliminary strategies to tap into this would start by retracing each step made to release new lines (for luxury brands) and then analyzing how these can be digitized. Using the right platform here is critical, plus ensuring there's enough opportunity to get close-ups of the fabric so shoppers can get the look and get the feel of the quality of the material.
  • Posted on: 12/15/2020

    What if Barnes & Noble had produced ‘The Queen’s Gambit’?

    Amazon is essentially doing this but the other way around: Amazon Prime allows loyal customers special access to Hollywood content. Amazon initially started off as an online retailer. But that's of course their advantage: they completely dominate the digital buying space. For non-digital natives to penetrate mass-marketing like Hollywood -- I'm not too sure this is within the scope of their marketing budgets. It's more likely that brands would sponsor shows or create transmedia opportunities. But then you get the messy business of product placement. Dave is definitely right when he says that content is changing and brands need to start finding new and innovative ways to appeal to their shoppers. So with an increasing commitment to omnichannel, why not find new channels where you know customers will be entertained?
  • Posted on: 12/10/2020

    What will it take to get shoppers back into stores in 2021?

    Besides the mentions around vaccine distribution, I believe this is the time where the integration between online and offline worlds can be made for retailers. We’re already seeing some great examples of click and collect where online shoppers are being driven back into stores again. This type of integration between online/offline then being potentially enriched with special price offers could help revive the offline retail relationship - this time with more data and customer-centricity! Aside from this, I also believe this would be the moment to think around creative loyalty programs, where shoppers receive additional benefits from going into stores. But as everyone else has already mentioned, safety will be the biggest driver of foot traffic.
  • Posted on: 12/10/2020

    Are humans biased against AI-driven recommendations?

    It's interesting that people can apparently distinguish between "one size fits all" and "unique" recommendations, of which the latter tends often to be absent. This is very common for recommendations; they tend to "grow" towards a self-fulfilling prophecy, i.e. only recommending items that are often bought. This can be solved by either adding perturbation in the data sets and/or adding context (psychographic/ social behavior), thereby making the recommendations more "unique." Working with AI for a while now, I've noticed how retailers want to have some control on recommendations for filtering/adjustment. This bias is called "boost & bury"; some items -- though strongly favorish and popular -- are hidden (buried), and others -- more rarely items -- are boosted to enforce uniqueness.
  • Posted on: 12/08/2020

    Is IKEA making a dumb mistake ending its catalog?

    IKEA has shown remarkable steps when it comes to sustainability and digital innovation. I think removing their catalog is just part in parcel of these steps (printing less paper and catering to online shoppers - after all, you can still find all their catalogs throughout history on their website). Some may think their catalogs define the brand's legacy, but removing them shows that IKEA can still be a brand with a legacy while being both flexible and disruptive. This is the kind of strategy that will mark leading brands in the future.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2020

    Have women permanently broken through retail’s glass ceiling?

    I think this is a great start but, like in all industries, there's still a long way to go. Yet whatever the service vertical, empowering women to C-level positions will only benefit the company in the long run. We've already how seen the risks of data bias or non-authentic diversity clauses fall short for brands. Across all industries, therefore, it's important that women be given equal opportunities to enter C-level positions, as this not only mitigates risk but strengthens their imagination and appeal.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2020

    Are endless aisles more trouble than they’re worth for retailers?

    Paradox of choice creates a psychological mindset that often results in not buying at all. This is the case in physical stores but also online. The big difference here is that in e-commerce, there are many ways you can reduce this choice overload by providing the customer with the right tools. E.g., guided selling tools such as product finders, strong and intelligent search, intuitive product messaging, or nudging. The pain point that arises is how to manage this if you have both an online and offline presence. But given the large amount of data available to retail brands they should still be able to find a balance between a.) number of products b.) helping find the consumer the product they're looking for.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2020

    Were record Cyber Monday/Week sales enough to help retailers salvage 2020?

    Unfortunately, it's not as clear cut as that. To know if it's enough depends on the retailer, vertical, target audience, and emphasis on in-store sales. Many online retailers have still experienced growth during this year - these generally being the more digital-savvy brands. For brands like Macy's and Sephora that rely heavily on in-store sales, it's hard to know if this will be enough. But it certainly won't hurt.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2020

    Amazon aims to keep holiday deliveries ‘spoiler free’

    Considering Amazon's omnichannel offering it's clear that keeping gifts a surprise is harder for this e-commerce giant (imagine having Alexa reveal your spouse's surprise gift before her birthday). This should be something Amazon implements for all gift-giving occasions, having options in place to cater to this segment. Like ShipStation data reveals, shoppers want efficiency, whether shopping from Amazon or otherwise. This means slower deliveries should be communicated, delayed deliveries should be accounted for (offering perks or apologies), and centralized pick-ups should be made available.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2020

    Will sports marketing become a victim of the pandemic?

    NBA is usually a winter-watching sport, the NFL is autumn, and baseball dominates summer, but this year they were all being played at the same time. It's no wonder sports viewership declined, purely on a logistical basis. Many NBA games were also played during the day when people were working. But marketers shouldn't read too much into it. There are standard cyclical trends that affect sports - people often watch less TV in the summer, for example. In the U.S., more people were watching the elections this past month.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2020

    Will home furnishings soon be a ‘digital-first business’?

    Given the technologies available (especially AR), I think this premise will be successful for digital-first businesses. It will give shoppers the opportunity to test the products they want in the spaces they have. However there's still room for improvement. AR isn't exact enough to show the fabric details, or how comfortable something is. Home decor retailers will have to find a solution for this.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2020

    Dick’s and Etsy’s Christmas spots deal with COVID-19 realities in different ways

    I think Dick's commercial feels abrupt. The message isn't entirely clear straight away. So even though the thought behind "we'll deliver it on time" is great, I don't really see it coming through the commercial strongly. Etsy is more in touch with reality. It seems to respond to our times by touching on the right heartstrings. It's more relevant for more people who will be forced to spend Christmas alone, and therefore does a better job of connecting with their core customers.

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