by Eric Pereira

Relationshop, a Houston, Texas-based provider of highly personalized, customer engagement and commerce solutions for supermarkets and convenience retailers, has announced a new partnership with the University of Houston College of Technology to establish a new Retail AI Innovation Lab. 

“We will be working alongside their consumer and data sciences faculty to create real-world, scalable applications of artificial intelligence that advance a retailer’s ability to personalize and curate digital interactions based on what matters most to each shopper,” said Randy Crimmins, president and chief customer officer at Relationshop.

“It’s a great opportunity to blend academic excellence with industry experience to accelerate the understanding and application of these advanced big data and algorithmic solutions within retail. And that’s very exciting to be involved with.”

According to Crimmins, the partnership underscores Relationshop’s continued emphasis on personalization.

“And not just personalization of offers, but deeper, more connected personalization,” he said.

As an example, Crimmins said Relationshop is working on helping retailers leverage the growing “food as medicine trend.”

“Consumers have prescribed conditions and non-prescribed but desired dietary and nutritional goals. According to a recent study, 38 percent of Millennials and nearly 50 percent of Gen Z households follow a specific dietary approach,” he said. 

If a retailer knows this about their customer, and they know the nutritional attributes of a product, then Relationshop should be able to bring the two together to make food purchase choices more relevant and personalized than ever, he added.

“For these shoppers, that’s a lot more meaningful than getting 50 cents off green beans,” Crimmins said.

One of its key goals in 2022 is to continue to extend the application of personalization throughout the digital experience.

“Whether it’s recommended products, personalized offers, curated content, context-based commerce or suggesting products that fit my dietary profile, you’ll see Relationshop continue to advance the definition and application of ‘personalization’ within retail,” Crimmins said. 

Connected commerce

Another recent development in the Digital Experience Platform is the launch of the “Connected Commerce” offering last summer. In addition, Relationshop has seen much interest in its Order Ahead Apps. 

“I think what has really resonated is the ability to meet the shopper where they are and how they want to shop at any time,” Crimmins said. “It’s the new world of hybrid shopping – today in-store, tomorrow online. I may start an order on my desktop, but then finish on my app while running errands. And, while I’m at it, order a pizza for dinner and a custom cake and flowers for a weekend party.” 

The platform is designed to connect shoppers to all the ways they can shop the retailer’s complete offering. 

“Buying your groceries today is an omni-commerce, omni-channel and multi-device experience,” Crimmins said. “We want to make sure our platform is helping make that experience easier and more convenient for the customer, and more valuable to the retailer.”

Relationshop’s DXP, its white-label Digital Experience Platform, serves not only as the retailer’s branded, customer-facing mobile app and website but also as its back end omnichannel engagement and commerce hub. 

“It provides retailers with the ability to engage their customers with targeted offers and promotions, relevant ads and personalized product recommendations, and a contextualized digital experience based on how each customer chooses to shop – online or in-store, from any device,” Crimmins said.

What differentiates Relationshop

To Crimmins, the personalized and connected digital experience Relationshop offers retailers is what differentiates it from other platforms.

“The front-end user experience is what everyone focuses on, and rightly so, as that’s what the customer sees and interacts with,” he said. “But it’s largely what they don’t see that sets Relationshop, and our Digital Experience Platform, apart. 

“DXP is built on a robust cloud data environment, a performance-tuned API stack for seamless integration and an operational infrastructure that manages, tracks and maintains customer data.

“Data is key to the experience we deliver through our platform, so we track and maintain up to two years of transactional, promotional and digital activity data on each identified shopper. This gives the retailer a complete view of the customer and activates the targeting and personalization capabilities within DXP. Understanding your customer behavior holistically, both online and in-store, is crucial to success in our increasingly digital, omni-commerce world,” Crimmins said.

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