A unique assortment for every customer

30-11-2015 Eric Klaasse

Every ecommerce manager wants to have a complete grip on the shopping behavior of his customers. There is also the need to customize product assortments for each customer. We can meet this need by offering visitors who have logged in to the webshop an assortment that is unique to them. The navigational (tree) structure is adapted dynamically to the customer’s assortment.

Dynamic assortment structure

A dynamic assortment structure makes it possible for customers to see just his or her products from the total assortment. On log-in, the visitor will be shown only products that relate to his or her account. To give an example: we have assigned logged-in user X a limited product offering, whereas logged-in user Y has been offered the complete range. This means the navigational structure of user X is simpler than that of user Y.

Photograph: ‘User Y’ (left) is assigned the complete product range, whereas ‘User X’ (right) is shown a limited selection, and therefore a limited navigational structure

CloudSuite takes it a step further

As soon as we were able apply a dynamic assortment structure, we could take the next step and offer our customers a lot of functional advantages.

Advantage 1: Navigation (tree) structure adapts to a customer’s assortment

Our e-commerce system is developed in such a way that the standard navigation (tree) structure is adapted automatically to the customer’s assortment. In other words, the children with products which are not part of the customer’s assortment are not shown. To achieve this, we have developed an algorithm that can make such adjustments in the blink of an eye.

Advantage 2: Link assortments to specific customers

Our system allows an easy linking of assortments with specific customers or customer groups.

Advantage 3: Exclusive assortments

We can link certain products exclusively to certain customers. Think of the phrase: ‘This product was made specifically for …’

Advantage 4: Make products unavailable for certain customer groups

Groups of customers can be denied access to specific products. This comes in useful when you want certain customers not to order a (small) part of your stock.

Advantage 5: Products with authorization

Authorization assortments contain products for which the user needs the permission of his supervisor before placing an order.

Advantage 6: Tagging customer groups

Tags are collections of products to which you want to draw special attention – environmentally friendly products and offers, for instance. Only offerings from this tag will be shown.

Advantage 7. Override exclusion and authorization assortments

For each webshop, the administrator has the option to override exclusion and authorization assortments.

Take a user who has been assigned 100 products he can order out of a total assortment of 20,000 products in the webshop. The moment that user wants to gain access to the other 19,990 products, he will need to get authorization from his supervisor.  Under such circumstances, we offer the possibility to override the user’s assortment (100 products) with the complete assortment of 20,000. The complete assortment – also including the 100 products – can then be incorporated as an authorization assortment.

It took Tijmen Mulder, senior web developer at CloudSuite, and myself a lot of time to think through and work out the technical complexity of our software. But this investment is now bearing fruit.