DMNews talks with Justin Olsen, head of e-commerce, Burton Snowboards

Justin Olson, head of e-com­merce at Burton Snowboards, discusses how personalized product recommendations boosted holiday sales

Q How did using personalized product recommendations differ from what the Web site previously used?

A What we would do each season is load the product information on the Web site, and it was static. It was a “set and forget” mentality. We have a small e-commerce team, and it was time con­suming to constantly change the site. We realized that our customers needed more from us.

Q What did you do then?

A We started working with [e-com­merce service provider] richrelevance because it was in line with our cutting-edge philosophy. Its platform gives out automated recommendations based on what people have searched for and what is most popular. We can examine analytics from the site and determine which data points will be used.

Q What were your objectives?

A The initial objective was to provide our customers with more relevant infor­mation. We were faced with a pretty tight deployment deadline, but surprisingly it went really smoothly, and we were able to roll it out in time for the holi­day season. richrelevance’s platform integrated into our existing technology platform very easily, and we were able to get detailed analytics reports almost immediately.

Q Did you examine the data from your Web site closer than before?

A We used to look at site data on a limited basis. Each week [staff mem­bers] would tell me what users were looking at and purchasing, and we would make adjustments based on that. This platform is far superior to that — it’s giving us data in real time. For the holiday season, it appeared to us that our customers were more price-sensitive, so we asked richrelevance to automatically recommend the popular lower-priced products. This turned out to work really well for us.

Q What were some results?

A The personalized product recom­mendations are driving almost 25% of overall site sales, and our average order value has gone up.

Q Do you continue to look at the data closely after the holiday season?

A We are looking at it on a weekly basis, but I’d like to have the team to be more intimate with the program, and then it will be a daily activity.

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