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RedBalloon invests in new tech platform to aid global growth

RedBalloon has completed the transition of its website from a 17-year-old, predominantly custom-built platform to Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud, as its parent company, Big Red Group (BRG), eyes future acquisitions to become the world’s biggest online marketplace for experiences within the next two years.

The migration represents a significant investment in technology for the online retailer, but BRG’s chief information officer Brett Raven said it is just the first milestone on the roadmap.

The next phase will see BRG’s newly acquired brand, Adrenaline, integrated onto the platform, enabling the company to leverage a centralised warehouse model and build and develop improved audience engagement.

RedBalloon is reportedly already seeing a 20 per cent increase in conversion rates on mobile devices alone since transitioning to the new platform. The company said in a statement that the shift to mobile and social shopping is one of the factors driving its appetite for ongoing technology investment.

“We’ve been able to double our revenue in the last 12 months and will continue to grow on the back of the experiences economy, gaining organic market share – thanks to our multi-million dollar investment in technology and AI – as well as further acquisition activities,” Raven said.

“In the next 24 months we’re eyeing the title of world’s largest online marketplace for experiences.”

BRG is working towards delivering an experience every minute across Australia and New Zealand in 2019, and an experience every second somewhere on earth by 2025. Raven said the investment in technology and particularly artificial intelligence, which is embedded in the Salesforce solution, are key to reaching those goals.

“We will realise this vision through organic growth and the acquisition of complementary brands which serve different audiences in different ways. But to scale effectively, we need the right technology,” he said.

“There are a number of local and international brands we’re eyeing to join our stable of online experience retailers, and thanks to a significant marketing and technology transformation, we’re well on the way to delivering half-a-million experiences this year alone.”

BRG handled the platform migration internally with a core tech team of 13 individuals, who completed the project in just four months to ensure the site would be up and running for the six weeks before peak Christmas trading.

The platform will see the Salesforce AI offering, Einstein, working hand-in-hand with BRG’s AI marketing technology, Albert.

Einstein has the ability to learn customer behaviour and preferences to deliver a more personalised user experience, while facilitating conversion improvements from traffic delivered to the RedBalloon site by Albert.

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