In this interview, Computer Weekly’s Cliff Saran speaks to Thomas Elm, a management student at London School of Economics, about a retail project for Shop Direct.
Thomas Elm is part of a team developing an application for retail groups Shop Direct, to enable the retailer to improve customer engagement.
Along with undergraduates Anna Thomas from Imperial College, Michael Fedosiuk from Oxford University and Stewart Douglas from Kings College, he has been working at IBM for the last 12 weeks, as one of the teams competing in the company’s Extreme Blue 2013 intern programme.
The team worked with the Shop Direct Group to investigate ways to improve personalisation and engagement with customers. The project uses an online fantasy football-like game, hosted on the main website, where users are challenged to pick items of clothing they think will be trendy.
Participants gain rewards when their picks are popular, based on popularity measured through sentiment analysis using social media posts on Twitter and Facebook, as well as incorporating the website's own sales and traffic data.
By tweeting and posting about the items they like, people playing the game are able to score points. The game offers the retailer the possibility of creating a number of concurrently running competitions, covering a range of products, each offering different prizes.