One challenge this presents is graphics: Visually, such ensembles can only be presented through a collection of product thumbnails—not through a single on-model photo (without using some kind of dynamic image generation tool).
Automated Ensemble Creation
Some advanced e-commerce applications now are being developed that will create merchandising collections according to the data gathered through an affinity report. The affinity report is an advanced reporting tool that uses actual sales data to calculate the statistical likelihood of products being purchased in conjunction with each other. You do not need to know anything about the individual shopper or his or her interests.
For example, affinity reports may disclose that the Diamond Rose necklace is 90 percent likely to be bought along with the Diamond Rose earrings, but the Spider-man collectible watch is only 2 percent likely to be purchased along with the Diamond Rose earrings. The e-commerce technology running the site would read the data in the affinity report and create an appropriate Diamond Rose jewelry collection on the fly. And if the system identifies that the Spider-man, Batman and Superman watches are selling well together, those items would be put together in their own collection.
An automated system even can spot unexpected affinities between very diverse products and build ensembles for them, too. The system can adjust or change ensembles occasionally as new buying patterns make themselves apparent. Your personalization rules can come into play to ensure that appropriate collections are presented to each customer group.
Ensembles will see increasing use in the next few years, and not just because they provide an alternative way to find products. They can play an integral part in online strategy if you:
1. Use them in conjunction with online campaigns. Send each customer group an e-mail that includes targeted messaging and images for targeted ensembles. Include a source code so that when your customer clicks through to your site, it serves up a customized landing page containing those particular ensembles. Or link each product in the e-mail directly to that product’s detail page.