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09/28/2021

Exclusive: Online auto parts retailer shifts to personalized marketing

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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AI concept
CarParts.com uses AI to enhance the effectiveness of promotions.

CarParts.com is replacing “batch-and-blast” marketing campaigns with tailored, individualized promotions.

Finding itself limited to sending generalized promotional messages via email blast by its legacy marketing platform, digitally native auto parts retailer CarParts.com set out to deliver a one-to-one, tailored marketing experience.

CarParts.com had been running on a legacy marketing stack that could no longer scale with the needs of the marketing organization,” Houman Akhavan, chief marketing officer, CarParts.com, said in an exclusive interview with Chain Store Age. We had been sending generic ‘batch and blast’ emails that were no longer relevant to the needs of our customer base. Our mission is to get drivers back on the road, and to accomplish that we needed a platform that could provide real-time personalization based on the individual vehicle of the customer.”

The retailer decided it wanted to personalize campaigns by leveraging all of its first-party data, as well as the company's large product and content catalogs of 1 million-plus SKUs and extensive vehicle content. CarParts.com also needed to stay compliant with privacy regulations, while improving customer engagement and retention by precisely targeting consumers with meaningful content at each stage of the customer lifecycle.

After reviewing various solutions, CarParts.com selected and implemented the artificial intelligence (AI)-based SmartHub Customer Data Platform (CDP) from Blueshift. The solution enables the retailer to scale with automated, behavior-triggered campaigns to deliver timely, relevant marketing messages.

“There were several factors we considered before selecting Blueshift, such as scalability of the platform, usability of the interface, real-time personalization, and predictive modeling to determine the most appropriate time trigger messaging,” said Akhavan.

CarParts.com is now able to launch promotional, transactional, and lifecycle vehicle maintenance campaigns that are fully automated and event-triggered. The company also has access to a unified view of every user, and can execute an orchestrated strategy of personalized email and text messages that adapt to every customer. 

The results have been incredible,” said Akhavan. “We have increased our engagement rate by over 400% and have triggered over 500 million messages since going live. We continue to evolve how we are leveraging the Blueshift platform to better understand our consumer behavior so we can deliver the right message, to the right user, at the right time.” 

Cloud-based AI and machine learning solutions enable retailers to obtain a single, unified view of customers for enhanced personalization. Kashif Rahamatullah, national Google Cloud practice and alliance leader, Deloitte, recently discussed with Chain Store Age how retailers of all sizes can leverage the capabilities of the cloud to develop highly individualized customer profiles that are consistent across all channels.

Rahamatullah advised retailers to synthesize customer data into a unified profile, this empowers retailers to further segment and retarget their resources, ultimately improving the consumer experience by using a hyper-tailored approach. This enables retailers to get a detailed look into customer behavior to create individual personalized customer experiences, as well as adopt personalized, effective customer service tools across their operations in a cost-effective and timely manner.