Tapping the power of customer reviews and recommendations, online car accessories retailer AutoTruckToys sought to deliver an enhanced customer experience by giving Web site visitors targeted, relevant offers.
Serving the automotive, truck and SUV aftermarket since the late 1990s, AutoTruckToys started out as a small company based in Paris, TN. The company has grown into an industry-leading distributor of accessories through a dedication to customer service, on-hand inventory and same-day shipping. Keeping these same business principles over the years, AutoTruckToys now has over 30 employees and stocks over 40,000 products from more than 250 of the industry’s top manufacturers.
Like other mid-level e-tailers, Josh Hart, CEO of AutoTruckToys, gets ideas for innovative site features from e-tailing leaders like Amazon.com. He viewed Web site recommendations on those leading sites, saw the increase in Web 2.0 interactivity, and wanted to add those capabilities to his site. But he was also realistic about what his company’s relatively small Web site team could accomplish in a short time. So Hart tapped personalized recommendations provider MyBuys to customize site offerings.
“We wanted to customize some aspects of the recommendations for the way we do business, like ensuring that someone shopping in our Jeep Wrangler online superstore sees only Jeep Wrangler products,” Hart said.
The multi-faceted implementation has given AutoTruckToys new ways to influence purchasing decisions. Reviews and recommendations are visible on the homepage, category landing pages, product pages and basket pages.
MyBuys’ proprietary formula for profiling customers harnesses customer activity to provide optimal recommendations.
“It’s more than product recommendations,” Hart said. “It’s deep profiling that is as insightful selling as you could get without having a one-on-one conversation.”
Hart said a valuable component of the pilot is the product alert offering, where customers get updates about products they’re viewing or have viewed. The MyBuys team mines the data list weekly to look for price changes, new products or any other information or activity that would trigger a qualified customer, so they can send them relevant notifications.
Hart said that there’s a 24-48-hour window of shopping cart abandonment, so the product alerts enable AutoTruckToys to “fetch back” customers and optimize revenue. As part of the pilot, customers who have opted into product alerts receive a 4×6 mailer with compelling offers generated by the MyBuys formula.
Call Center Personalization
Twelve to 15% of AutoTruckToys’ sales are made by the company’s call center representatives responding to incoming calls. “[MyBuys] uses the Web site as a tool when they’re talking with a customer,” Hart said. “They see the MyBuys recommendations on the screen that are relevant to the product they’re looking up for the customer, and use those recommendations to suggest complementary products, replacement products or products that are an upsell.”
MyBuys personalized email alerts also go out to a pre-qualified audience and, according to Hart, convert at a much higher rate than AutoTruckToys’ non-personalized product emails.
“One of the beauties of this program is that it’s so highly targeted,” he said. “For instance, we’re sending an email telling a customer that an item they’ve previously looked at on the site is now on sale, or that a new item similar to one they were interested in is now back in stock. [The program drives] a good dimensional shopping experience of a brick-and-mortar store. “When you click down into a category or a specific product, you can lose sight of other products, which you’d be able to see if you were in a store,” he said. “By showing customers related, relevant products, MyBuys helps customers get a perspective that’s missing on the Web, which can lead to additional purchases.”
Since adding MyBuys, Web site recommendations to AutoTruckToys.com, the site’s average order value (AOV) is up 40% and site revenue is up 10%. The number of items per transaction is also up. The recommendation click rate is 46%.