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.

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  • Posted on: 08/07/2020

    Has there ever been a better time to build or kill customer loyalty?

    It's probably a combination of both. Many issues the research brings up fall outside of a retailer's scope of control (e.g., product availability). I think retailers have done what they can to meet many of these challenges in a very short time. The real test is to be seen: How will retailers follow up to transition to a digital-first approach? To win the loyalty of their consumers means optimizing the basics - free-returns, priority pick-ups, seamless customer experiences, etc. In the end, the retailers that foster loyalty will be the ones who offer better personalization, transparent communication, and a digital experience that goes above and beyond.
  • Posted on: 08/07/2020

    Is targeting offers based on online browsing creepy?

    Any shortfalls that might be seen will probably be shorter than those found with other personalization tactics. The benefit of in-session optimization is that it's contained to that session, so no personal data is being used. Once consumers are educated on how that works, I think they will grow comfortable with it relatively fast. They will see it's more about optimizing their customer experience, rather than trying to understand their psychology. It makes sense that some consumers find marketers using browsing history “creepy.” Purchase history is more concrete and the customer has committed to a specific product. Browsing data shows a thought process (if it were to be singled out, which it's not), which could feel intrusive. But the reality of the situation is that these optimizations are happening on such a large scale, there's not much to show about individual tendencies. And, of course, this data is almost always anonymized.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2020

    Are pop-up shops more relevant in a pandemic-altered world?

    Pop-up shops will give flexibility for retailers to find coronavirus-proof ways of showcasing their products and building brand loyalty. At the moment, I think virtual offers the most potential - outdoor is weather and location-dependent (a logistical nightmare!) and strip-centers are also at risk of going bankrupt. In the future, however, there could be the potential to rethink strip-centers into something more in line with consumer expectations and experiential marketing. But it will be some time before this becomes profitable. Virtual, on the other hand, has proven successful for every retailer that’s integrated a solution.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2020

    Moving beyond product features and benefits in brand messaging

    The coronavirus crisis has greatly changed the face of consumer habits and spending. More people are careful where they spend their money and with whom. Especially given the increased social awareness during this time, consumers have been choosing to shop with brands that align with their values, take a stance, and have had clear communication during this time. If the brands they normally shop with fall short, consumers will pledge their loyalty elsewhere. Therefore the secret to conveying a brand’s promise and its attributes in messaging would be two things: be decisive and follow through. Meaning, you need to stay true to your brand identity when you take a stance. When you do this, speak boldly and don't try to please everyone, as that will likely backfire. And more than anything, be transparent about your promise when you do follow through.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2020

    Neiman Marcus launches digital hub to bring the in-store experience online

    Yes, initiatives like Neiman Marcus’ will go a long way for their engagement and sales. These kinds of initiatives are especially important for luxury retailers. Luxury retail VIPs are responsible for a lot of company revenue, and these are the consumers that delight in the in-store experience. The luxury VIP consumer has a completely different purchase-intention and mindset. If brands can serve the same personalized in-store experience on their digital platforms, this will resonate. That being said, personal online assistance offers the best opportunity for these retailers, if properly executed by putting this VIP consumer first.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2020

    Has retail adaptation become more about survival than competitive edge?

    It depends on the retail business, of course, but digital adaptation (going online is the only way to adapt post-COVID) is both a question of survival and competitive advantage. If a retailer is able to undergo digital transformation and take this two steps further with personalisation, for example, then this will mark their competitive advantage. In short, retailers should be investing in a strong online presence in response to the shifting consumer mindset. But they should also take this as an opportunity to go the extra mile. It will take a while before retail goes back to a pre-pandemic "normal," but if retailers can find the opportunities in this new space, they will succeed.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2020

    Amazon’s traffic is way up, but others are doing even better during the pandemic

    It’s not a fair comparison -- Amazon already has a strong position in the market, with more visitors than Best Buy, for example. So if Amazon’s page views are up, percentage wise this doesn’t consider that their total amount of visitors is calculated in an absolute manner. That being said, people who before hadn’t purchased online are now entering the eCommerce space. In order to keep this up, retailers should invest in loyalty. They should aim to build strong relationships with their shoppers, meaning that even after someone has bought a product they should foster engagement. To put it simply -- a) convert customers based on long-lasting relationships, b) maintain a strong brand presence omnichannel, and c) invest in building great customer experiences post-purchase.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Would Amazon and Google benefit from publishing fake consumer reviews?

    Ninety-three percent of consumers say reviews affect their purchase decisions. Reviews are super important but, of course, dependent on the product. A t-shirt may not have many reviews, while running shoes or electronics are important to see other people's experiences. Fake reviews, on the other hand, don’t provide any customer value, but Amazon and Google shouldn’t censor them. Instead they should call out the fake ones so consumers have the autonomy to ignore them or not. Twitter does this well - flagging posts for sensitive content while making it up to the user to decide if they want to see it or not.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    The pandemic has changed retailing, maybe forever

    The most significant hurdle will be for supply chains. Since this is generally the most difficult and rigid part of a business, it will be harder to forecast demand post-pandemic. Also, the focus on omnichannel will be something retailers will invest in with renewed vigor. The pandemic is completely changing the face of consumer behavior, which means their attention will be different across channels. One other solution Oliver doesn’t mention is the future of payments. As commerce is removed from the physical environment, payment in an omnichannel perspective should also take focus. Solutions like Shopify Pay, or buying through social. Many retailers don’t have a mature enough payment strategy but this will definitely be important in the coming years.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2020

    Can experiential retail go live and online?

    I believe experiential retail will take off -- but it’s a matter of execution. Live shopping is an interesting acquisition channel especially for the younger generation, but more in the way NTWRK executes it than Amazon Live. DTC brands can definitely leverage conversational retail (like the Hero app, or Gucci’s live shopping assistant) to set themselves apart online. Gaming is another opportunity (see Fornite’s sneaker launch). In the future, I believe we’ll also see more of a blend of peer-to-peer commerce like IG’s stoppable ads. For example, Whatsapp is looking to start payments, so we’ll see the merging of social apps with commerce similar to WeChat. If retailers can capitalise on these things ahead of time, it will place them at a unique competitive advantage.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2020

    Will IKEA import its c-store concept into the U.S.?

    It’s likely IKEA’s c-store move is a test phase. IKEA is known for acclimatising their strategies to local cultures and communities. Considering 7-Eleven is huge in Asia, it wouldn’t surprise me that IKEA is testing this in Japan in order to learn from customer behaviour and therein expand on a global scale -- if it works. As for the competition, IKEA’s value proposition appeals to everyone, even the person with the "thinnest wallet." They control the entire supply chain. Provide high quality products at a lower price. 7-Eleven should indeed be concerned if IKEA plans to move into the c-store industry. But will this concept move stateside? Consumer culture is so different in the U.S versus Asia. IKEA’s brand perception is also completely different in these two markets. I'm hesitant that this test will give the go-ahead for a stateside expansion, or into different international markets if proved fruitful.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2020

    Do mobile shoppers disclose more valuable data about themselves?

    Yes, it makes sense. Activities carried out on mobile often feel more personal; the phone is an extension of the body, it's smaller in size, and phone apps often ask for personal details. Such as track and trace (which you don’t get on a desktop), or healthcare data. This study is of psychological importance to marketers, of course. But they shouldn’t take advantage of this. Instead, being transparent about their use of data when asking for valuable customer information will go a long way. These are unique data points that will become more regulated in the future.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2020

    Will retailers pass along or eat COVID-19 shipping surcharges?

    Completely agree on lower delivery price points as a competitive advantage. However, driving cheaper store collection won't be an alternative for most retailers. It all depends on category, and the sentiment of the retailers' target consumer -- some are conscious and willing to pay those extra delivery costs, while many are becoming more frugal in their spending. But if the latter does rings true for the retailer, then driving collection is indeed a smart way to protect margins.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2020

    Will retailers pass along or eat COVID-19 shipping surcharges?

    Thin margins can’t take on additional retail costs. Yet these issues are so dependent on retail categories and the willingness of the consumer to pay for them. I’d like to believe that the consumer is more willing to pay for shipping in these times. Delivery to the home is a luxury, and awareness of COVID-19’s impact on the industry, coupled with the rise of the eco-conscious consumer, could indeed pave the way for willingness to pay higher delivery fees as long as the retailer is transparent about where these costs are going.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2020

    Can outdoor dining save restaurants?

    We’re already seeing a surge in takeout trends at fine-dining restaurants. I see a new dining culture emerging where restaurants will move outside of the city and provide takeout-only options. Think of shared spaces like Cloud Kitchen, the new solution by Uber’s former CEO. COVID-19 will catalyse this shift from location and receiving customers to delivery of restaurant food outside of dense locations. If we can find a solution for packaging meals at perfect temperatures, I believe that this is the trend that will save restaurants.

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