Analytics is more than just collecting data. It frames industries, guides decision-making, future-planning and customer-profiling. Giovanni Luperti, UX Lead at Qubit, talks to me about web personalisation.
Customer experience is such a buzzword nowadays but very few companies know how to do it well. It’s disappointing to see words like ‘care’, ‘authenticity,’ and ‘honest’ get thrown around so much that they become meaningless. One of the issues is that companies aren’t addressing the “audience’s specific needs” and so “can’t communicate with them effectively.”
Customer experience is complex because people are. Companies overlook the fact that people are defined by more than their purchases, which means they present content that is crafted from only a small outlook of the world. When asked about what good customer experience means, Giovanni tells me it's about "the personal journey." He goes on to explain that, “We have the ability today to design personal experiences for visitors, present them with relevant content and products, and keep learning from every interaction with them.”
Marketing, broadly defined, is every expression of a company. It’s about having the “ability to clearly articulate why a product makes sense, and craft a compelling story to help customers, and us, see beyond pure technology.” Qubit exists because its founders, 4 ex-Googlers, wanted to “go beyond traditional analytics, and help customers digest big amounts of data, make smarter decisions and take smarter actions to produce tangible results.” So far, it has made an impressive name for itself with large clients such as Topshop, John Lewis and Staples.
Data works only when we understand it. Qubit is a platform that analyses and filters data to make it matter. “The ability to deliver the right message, to the right visitor, at the right time, on the right channel is critical for many businesses.” It’s about paying attention to what customers want - think Amazon, Netflix and Google’s suggestion feature. This intimate layer is called omni-channel personalisation - Qubit’s main focus - which is a strategy of delivering a seamless experience across all channels and devices for every single customer. Difficult, but a feat worth pursuing for a company that is borderline obsessed with customer experience.
“The ability to deliver the right message, to the right visitor, at the right time, on the right channel is critical for many businesses.”
For Qubit, collaboration is at the core of its culture. “Everyone at Qubit, from interns to directors, are encouraged to voice, own and do things across the entire business. You would probably be surprised by how flat our organisation is, and how keen everyone is to contribute to it.” There are currently “270 Qubytes working globally across business operations, market development and sales, professional services and customer success, product marketing and engineering.” London ended up being the base for Qubit because of its status as e-commerce capital of the world. The city draws a “huge amount of talent to drive rapid growth for business,” so it's no surprise that tech startups are thriving in it.
After raising a $40 million round led by Goldman Sachs, Qubit is focused on maintaining extraordinary growth and expansion into new markets. Despite the “pressure” and “higher expectations” Giovanni is “confident they can rise to the occasion." The round means that they can “focus on bringing new and improved technology to market and enable innovation, and keep hiring the best talents the market has to speed this up.”
As a product-focused, customer-driven business, Qubit invests heavily in its technology, with plans to double their “engineering capability this year, which means more developers, product managers and products designers to build bigger and better products.” I ask Giovanni about some of Qubit’s most loved products: “Experiences still represents one of our most powerful products. It’s able to ingest the customer site into our platform and allow the marketer to make any changes they want, without using expensive engineering resources, to deliver their big ideas.” Other popular products include “Adaptive Targeting, an easy way to define a segment of visitors that could present opportunities for the marketer; and Suggested Insights where, based on visitors behaviours, we identify interesting portions of visitors that can be converted into actionable segments.“
Giovanni has a problem-led design approach that’s “influenced by the technical limitations [he] faces or time constraints on getting the design out of the door.” He believes that there's not a "design approach to rule them all," but that "it's all about involving the right people at the right time, and aligning business, customers and end user goals together."
"If you have a clear idea of what you have to build and why the rest becomes a little easier.”
The better the technology and data, the easier it is for UX designers to optimise a great customer journey. Giovanni explains that as a user he often finds himself feeling "frustrated by poor UIs that aren’t straightforward enough" and as a result "cares about educating users and finding details that will make a difference to them.” He expresses how Marvel has impacted his work, noting “how quickly you can bring an idea to life” and how it’s “not limited to specific products” but helps the team to “collaborate better with multiple departments and dramatically speed up Qubit's processes.“
This big vision involves big-data. To quote Seth Godin: "Is something important because you measure it, or is it measured because it's important?" The numbers don't decide what's important, we do. It's an outdated belief that we can sell to customers without knowing who they are. Big-data that works is value-based, contextual, real-time and smart - all benchmarks that Qubit is successfully hitting to reach its goal of omni-channel personalisation.