AP’s Vikki Danielson interviews Lindsay Hatton, Head of Business Development at Particular Audience in this month’s Partner Spotlight.
Welcome to our Publisher Spotlight! Can you tell us a bit about Particular Audience?
Certainly, Particular Audience is a Microsoft backed software company doing for online retail, what Spotify did for music.
We are a diverse team made up of former executives of Google Ventures and Sequoia China-backed personalisation and data analytics companies, marketing, and eCommerce professionals from the likes of IKEA and Google.
We are at the forefront of personalisation technology, helping the “rest of the internet” match and surpass the customer experience expectations created by the likes of Spotify, Netflix and Amazon.
The Particular Audience personalisation cloud is made up of 3 core pillars of AI. Natural language processing, computer vision and behaviour-driven collaborative filtering.
We leverage these technologies to help online retailers achieve key business objectives such as visual search, personalised product discovery, similar item discovery, liquidation of unwanted stock, dynamic pricing, buying intelligence, supplier sponsored product placement and inventory allocation optimisation.
We even have a bidding platform that allows retailers to monetize their onsite real estate by allowing their suppliers to promote items and brands on either cost per click and cost-per-impression basis.
Absolutely everything is managed by the team at Particular Audience, allowing retailers to focus on other areas of the business.
What type of advertisers are a good fit for a partnership with Particular Audience?
We work with market leading retailers in a range of verticals all over the globe, from luxury to fast fashion, electronics and white goods giants, to leaders in the homewares and pharmaceutical verticals.
We’ve also just started working with marketplaces, including service marketplaces, which is proving to be a huge opportunity for us, forcing the evolution of our platform to account for real time availability of online consultants.
The perfect advertiser partnership for us is essentially any retailer that has a sizable product range and is looking to grow that range ensuring availability of all items, ace pricing and help customers find exactly what they are looking for! The retailer needs to be ambitious in the AI and machine learning realm.
How have you been helping retailers combat the recent challenges of both COVID and the associated economic downturn?
We definitely feel as though the future is bright for eCommerce, but we also know that discretionary spending is down which puts pressure on the retail sector. The GFC, SARS and now COVID-19 have all equipped us with the knowledge and the tools for retailers to crisis-proof their businesses. We’ve got our eyes on when government stimulus comes to an end towards the end of this year and are equipping our clients with the tools they will need to thrive.
We came up with three rules to help retailers work towards doing just that.
- Make things available when there is demand for it.
- Leverage dynamic pricing models to maximise sales volume and balance margin.
- Help customers find the products they are looking for, and know when to substitute unavailable items with similar items.
Allowing retailers to monetize their own sites from their suppliers is an example of the sort of innovative things we are doing to ensure our clients succeed.
We are here to help retailers with their evolving digital-first strategies, allowing them easy and affordable access to automation and machine learning technologies. Pro-actively managed by experts.
Can you run us through a business case where this technology has helped advertisers achieve their goals?
Absolutely, there are so many applications to these technologies, but I’ll stick to one example for now.
Are you familiar with Pareto’s law? The theory is that 80% of your total revenue comes from 20% of your company’s items.
We work with New Zealand’s largest online pharmacy, Life Pharmacy. 80% of their revenue came from just 16.8% of their items. We managed to double this to over 33% by using various algorithms to surface relevant long-tail items to the right customers. Think of it this way, if you have 1 million customers, you need 1 million versions of your own website – not 1! In a nutshell, this is what we do.
For Life Pharmacy, this resulted in a total 23.41% increase in sales! There is so much value in the long-tail of products just waiting to be unlocked.
I’ve seen your visual search tool in action which I thought was super cool! Can you tell us a bit more about it?
We like to think of our visual search tool as being like Shazam for retail. This tool enables consumers to search for products they like with pictures.
All they need to do is upload a picture of a product they like (either from their camera on their phone or uploading from an online source such as Instagram), and our computer vision software will search the retailer’s catalogue to find the most similar looking products for them.
It’s so intelligent that it can pick up all attributes from the cut of a dress, or even the fabric on a couch, and its use case is not limited to uploads – you can let shoppers use VS in-journey while browsing your website on PLPs and PDPs in order to filter for visually similar items they like.
A lot of our clients have been using this as a way to gain market share from their competitors offering a new and exciting way to search on site.
I know you’re one of the only vendors that can bill on a SKU level, can you tell us a bit more about how that works?
Yes of course, it’s quite simple really, we can track sales down to the SKU level and even automate billing on this basis through most of the major affiliate networks.
By tracking through the networks, this allows us only to take a CPA on the item we have driven to sale. We don’t believe it’s fair to charge on the entire cart when we can only confidently say we drive the sale of specific items, items that were seen, clicked and purchased through our widgets.
We also have fixed fee options also available for advertisers looking to cap the spend and offer service levels for all retailers.
I understand there is a tag integration, does it take much development resource from the advertiser’s side to implement Particular Audience technology on-site?
Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline for Particular Audience that you’d like to share?
We have a game changing browser extension launching this year that is going to revolutionise how people shop online.
But we’ll leave that for the next spotlight!
To learn more about the many other affiliate partners we work with to add value to our client’s programmes, reach out to our global publisher development team.