Last week, Google hosted their 2016 Google Partners Brand Summit, sharing industry leading insights and discussing emerging advertising solutions. Throughout the day, many key trends appeared around how to better increase the user experience, and in turn, bottom line revenue online. With recent estimates that Amazon will account for 19% of the US apparel industry by 2020, there’s, even more, urgency for retailers to adapt to capture the consumer dollar.

David Page, SVP, Brand Strategy & Research of Rent the Runway, provided a compelling case study around the ongoing need for personalization on-site. Rent the Runway asks women to self-identify their need when coming to the site and customizes the site to that experience. Whether you are shopping for a wedding, a black tie event or a bachelorette party, the site tailors the experience to the need. Also, the key to the conversions are reviews. In a world where there’s no substitution for trying something on, Rent the Runway offers women the chance to “pay it forward” by providing their body measurements & fit information on dresses they have worn as part of reviews on each dress. This has created a 3x lift in conversion on products that have reviews. In addition, Rent the Runway has successfully harnessed previous purchase data to create personalized recommendations within email, driving an increase in conversion rate by 11x.

The second trend that continues to drive retail strategy is understanding the smartphone purchaser. Statistics show that people check their phones 150x/day for a total of 163 minutes per day, meaning each time they spend about 1 minute per check, giving minimal time to connect as a retailer. This means that advertising must be even more relevant and personal to connect in such a brief window of time. And, as website builders, we must reduce anything that provides friction to purchase. As Google’s CEO, Larry Page has said, “Imagine a world without keyboards.” That’s how easy it should be for someone to move through your site, as if a keyboard wasn’t even needed. We can’t underestimate how important even something like load time is for those mobile users. 40% of users will abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load, so utilizing a tool like Google’s mobile-friendly tool is key.

Over time, the consumer is becoming savvier about how to tailor their retail experience online. They appreciate personalization, as long as the retailer can provide value in return for the information used for the personalized experience. People are not cohorts; they’re individuals. And the more we can create a seamless, helpful, personalized experience on every device, the more we’ll win their interest & conversion.