Interview of the month: Romain Charles – CEO of Lucky Cart by FEVAD
We had the pleasure of interviewing Romain Charles, successful entrepreneur and CEO of Lucky Cart, a cutting-edge technology company offering advanced promotion personalization and performance measurement services. For him, the future will be ultra-personalization. Understanding each shopper’s behavior is the only way to reach them in a relevant, non-intrusive and effective way.
1/ Can you introduce yourself? And tell us more about Lucky Cart?
I took over the company in 2018 to turn it around. With extensive experience in the world of
with Procter & Gamble and L’Oréal as Sales Director, I felt that Lucky cart’s potential in the consumer
Lucky cart’s potential in the consumer goods sector was very significant.
The takeover had two objectives :
- Combine Lucky Cart’s in-depth understanding of the consumer market, on the advertiser and retailer side, with our expertise in data science and ultra-personalization. All this to meet the new challenges of digital commerce.
- More rapidly develop and refine our expertise in high-frequency categories.
Lucky cart is a French Data Tech based in the heart of Paris. Using our proprietary technologies, we leverage our partners’ receipt / first-party data with the help of Artificial Intelligence. We then activate it simply, playfully, accurately and effectively to personalize e-retail media campaigns, CRM plans and digital promotion. Using e-commerce sales sites, but also partner applications, our mission is to engage shoppers with tailor-made, ultra-personalized animations to convert them to purchase, both online and in physical stores.
2/ The possibilities offered by tech to personalize the offer and customer experience in e-commerce are increasing all the time. What are your observations on this evolution? How do you see this progressing over the next 5 to 10 years? What are the limits of personalization?
The growing amount of data produced by Internet users and shoppers has opened up a gigantic field of possibilities. The first reflex of existing players has been to use this data to improve their targeting and thus the definition of media audiences by “tracking” the web surfer/online consumer via cookies. But there is also a more virtuous balance for the ecosystem, which consists of using only “1st party” data with the customer’s consent, to provide an offer that is better adapted to his or her desires and purchasing habits – in short, real personalization. If we add the possibility of using 1st party data in real time, personalization can become ultra-personalized. For us at Lucky Cart, the future will be ultra-personalization.
Understanding each shopper’s behavior is the only way to reach them in a relevant, non-intrusive and effective way. Shopper behavior has evolved at a very rapid pace over the last fifteen years, and the pace of change is not slowing down. It seems to us that the classic targeting approach (personae) has reached its limits, both in terms of speed of adaptation, but above all in terms of finesse of understanding. Our algorithms have been learning for many years by collecting and analyzing millions of pieces of data every day.
A real technological, philosophical and cultural breakthrough for professionals in the consumer goods sector, this method enables us to recognize our customers and create a tailor-made experience that combines the best of both worlds: the digital and the physical. We’re all in favor of customers receiving the most relevant offers possible. If customer knowledge has become the focus of all our attention, the challenge now is to get to know the customer in all his or her uniqueness. We need to anticipate their behavior in order to guide them, convince them and win their loyalty, without being intrusive and while respecting the rules of privacy – a prerogative of ours!
3/ What are today’s customer expectations in terms of personalization? How far can personalization go without invading privacy?
Shoppers are, for the most part, convinced that personalization helps and even enhances their customer experience. They react better to brands that solicit them via a promotional action, a product launch… To have offers that correspond to them, to see them proposed products that are affinities with their purchases… That’s positive!
On the other hand, there are the skeptics, those who don’t want to receive personalized messages because that would mean sharing their personal data (geolocation, loyalty card, etc.), and they don’t want that. This is a thorny issue, and to reassure shoppers, we need to help them make their choice, by explaining the purpose of this data collection. We need to make this sticking point more transparent, and help brands and advertisers to be even more vigilant in their communications, so that consumers do not perceive messages as intrusive, but as offering real added value.
4/ In practice, how do most e-tailers personalize their offer and customer experience today? What’s their biggest challenge / obstacle to going further?
The personalization of the customer experience is still in its infancy, and so is the personalization of offers. When we at Lucky Cart talk about personalization, we mean that we are now in a position to address each shopper with a tailor-made offer adapted to his or her needs. It’s a 1 to 1 relationship on a mass-market scale. Take, for example, a household with 2 adults and 2 children. Two customer accounts with the same brand, one for each parent. So I’m not going to send the same offers, at the same moment in each person’s drive shopping journey, because I know, from their data and behavioral analyses, that they don’t consume in the same way. Their shopping baskets are different, even if they shop for the same household!
By and large, everyone has data, but few know how to exploit it, extract its essence and make it speak for itself! It’s a tremendous resource, the scale and strategic value of which have become massively apparent in recent years. Proper use of data creates value for everyone, because it gives us the opportunity to target individuals, personalize our communications to reach them more effectively, and thus encourage transformation. Shoppers, who are now well-informed consumers, expect this data to be used to maintain and enhance their relationship with brands. By giving their consent, they agree to be solicited, but in a well-judged, non-intrusive way, with the aim of obtaining an immediate benefit: a more targeted offer, a relevant product recommendation…
Personalization is a strategic challenge for the retail industry. Initially seen as a simple tool to improve the relevance of marketing messages pushed to shoppers, personalization has over time become an inseparable element of a successful shopping experience. With shopper data, it is now possible to move from a probabilistic logic based on third-party cookies to a deterministic logic based on actual purchases and the business generated.
The only obstacle? Shoppers’ apprehension about sharing their data. The ecosystem needs to show concrete and simple benefits for them. For example, an offer better adapted to their way of consuming, or a simpler experience on e-commerce sites. The reality is that the rest is already there: we have the technology, the experts, the regulations and the data to go even further.