What is NOSTO?
NOSTO is an eCommerce personalisation provider who offer a relatively straightforward solution for personalising different aspects of an eCommerce website, for a broad range of retailer types and sizes. NOSTO are now platform-agnostic (having initially been very focused on Magento) and work with a wide range of large retail brands, such as Dunhill, Gymshark, Dune, Le Creuset and Richer Sounds.
Historically, the most common use-case for NOSTO was personalised product recommendations, but nowadays their average customer would also use their broader product recommendations (e.g. for emails), content personalisation, customer insights and popups.
Examples of solutions that NOSTO deliver include:
- Personalised product recommendations (with lots of control around business logic and filtering)
- Content personalisation – e.g. personalising banners based on brand affinity or gender etc
- Personalised bundling (new) – providing personalised bundle up-sell blocks to increase AOV
- Split testing (across NOSTO content and recommendations) – new feature that supports automated optimisation of NOSTO blocks and content
- Email product recommendations – extending the value of the data NOSTO possesses from on-site content
- Pop ups – personalised and rule-based popups
- Social advertising and remarketing integration – again, leveraging data already in the platform via different ad formats and placements
Our experience with NOSTO
We’ve been working with NOSTO for around 5 years now – initially using it for product recommendation blocks on Magento sites and gradually broadening our usage from there. Today, NOSTO is seen as a personalisation solution that’s used by mid-market and enterprise retailers across all platforms – actively competing with the likes of Rich Relevance, Monetate etc.
Some of our (Vervaunt) clients that use NOSTO include The Conran Shop, T3 Micro, Bulletproof, O’Neills, OPUMO, David Austin Roses and many more.
We’ve used NOSTO across all its features and have even been responsible for end-to-end setup with clients like Bulletproof and previously O’Neills. Some of the more complex things we’ve done with NOSTO includes:
- Personalising content based on traffic source (e.g. messaging for Google Shopping)
- Personalising content based on email campaign (e.g. banner for specific campaign)
- Personalising product recommendations with lots of business logic
- Advanced product recommendations logic (e.g. based on brand segments)
- Complex bundling logic
- Advanced filtering for very specific product recommendations
NOSTO for Product Recommendations
NOSTO’s initial focus was almost solely on product recommendations – which is still arguably their strongest area today. The reason why we generally recommend NOSTO over other solutions is because of how simple and intuitive the back-end is for managing business logic and filtering. The example below shows how a personalised recommendation block is combined with filtering to ensure that the recommendations still match the colour of the current product.
This is a good example of how filters are used and this example basically says ‘if colour is X, filter in items that are the same colour’. This can be applied across any product attribute or tag very easily and it’s a good way of refining how the personalisation works. In addition to filters, NOSTO also allows for lots of other forms of business logic and configuration, including:
- Fall-back logic – allowing for a different logic for product recommendations should the initial requirement not be met (e.g. best sellers if not enough data for personalised results or recently viewed).
- Relationship basis – there are various settings around how the relationships are defined (e.g. based on items being viewed together or purchased).
- Type of recommendation logic – users can choose which form of personalisation is used (e.g. 1:1, 1:many etc), browsing based, purchase history based, geographic etc. This is very simple again and can be combined with other variables and different business logic.
The screenshot below shows how the relationship logic can be changed very quickly and easily.
NOSTO’s initial setup for product recommendations is very clean and simple also – with a series of very simple options and pre-built recommendation types to start with. This is the main reason we recommend NOSTO again, as it’s so simple that users actually do optimise the recommendations and it doesn’t take months and months to initially setup. The screenshot below shows some of the pre-built recommendation types.
NOSTO for machine learned and personalised bundling
For me, the biggest development in recent years for NOSTO has been the new bundling capability, which can be a really nice addition for retailers and a very easy way to increase AOV and drive higher RPVs (revenue per visit). The screenshot below shows, again, how simple the bundle logic is to manage.
The below then shows the level of control that can be applied to ensure that the recommendations are relevant (which can then be combined with machine learning to ensure that the recommendations are effective).
The bundling has the same level of filtering as the standard recommendations and can work in the same way (e.g. if product is Nike, recommended items should be Nike), as well as any other tags or product attributes etc. These can also be used in parallel, so for example only recommending items that are red, Nike and above 20% margin.
The example below (on the Body Building Warehouse website) is powered by NOSTO and appears to be based on items most likely to be purchased together.
I see this as a really cool feature for retailers and NOSTO have done a really good job of making the back-end very manageable.
NOSTO for email recommendations
Another commonly used feature of NOSTO is their email recommendations – which can either carry over personalised data or be based on business logic, depending on the email solution you’re providing and the way you’re implementing the recommendations. NOSTO have existing templates for most mainstream ESPs and the integration is very straightforward.
Once you’ve added the recommendations block, NOSTO fill the product IDs based on either the data they have on the customer or just machine learned data. The recommendations are more advanced when you’re using a platform that NOSTO integrate with (such as Klaviyo or DotDigital), but you can also use with other platforms.
We’ve used NOSTO to populate product recommendations with DotDigital, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and transactional emails via Magento and Shopify. In addition to the recommendations, NOSTO can also send triggered emails for various scenarios, such as follow-ups, cart abandonment emails etc.
NOSTO for content personalisation
NOSTO’s biggest push in recent times is around content personalisation, which essentially allows users to add and change content based on variables, such as:
- Product / category affinity
- Brand affinity
- Products viewed or purchased
- Traffic source
- Marketing campaign
- Specific pages viewed or landed on
I used this feature very early on with Bulletproof and it’s come on a huge amount since then – with lots more options around defining the affinities and triggers. With Bulletproof, we simply changed banners based on affinities with product categories and the banner based on email campaigns, which was really effective but we could’ve done lots more.
Some of the more recent implementations personalise entire homepages based on things like gender affinity or sport affinity, which are really good use cases. The example below for Toolstop shows how the homepage has been personalised based on me building an affinity with the brand Dewalt.
As with the other features, the content personalisation is very simple to setup – it’s just a case of adding the div to the website, choosing the placement (which can be setup in two different ways – either in the template or overlayed) and then setting the rules around affinity etc.
Once you’ve defined the segment (e.g. mens clothing) and set the placement, it’s just a case of choosing the type of content and enabling. Once you’ve setup the content you want to personalise, you can see reports around performance – including impressions, clicks and sales.
One of the biggest parts of setting up the content personalisation is defining the segment – which could either be based on pre-build settings or custom variables. The below screenshot shows some of the areas that can be part of the segment you build – you can also use a combination (e.g. Nike browsers in California).
These segments can be used across NOSTO and can be used for product recommendations as well.
Another feature of NOSTO that, although it could arguably be slightly more flexible, is pretty strong is their reporting. They provide lots of reports on the performance of specific elements and global performance, as well as reports on specific segments etc.
The above screenshot shows the general reporting interface, but NOSTO also report against the different elements in-line, which is a nice feature in comparison to some of their competitors.
The main solutions that you’d generally compare against NOSTO, at different levels of the market, are:
- Dynamic Yield
- Fresh Relevance
- Rich Relevance
Historically, NOSTO wasn’t as feature rich as some of their competitors – but since the release of the new content personalisation features, segmentation and insights features and the A/B testing (which is very recent), they’re competing with anyone and pitching for much larger details.
Another massive pro for NOSTO is the ease of integration, particularly with the mainstream eCommerce platforms. NOSTO have modules / apps / cartridges for Magento, Shopify Plus, BigCommerce and Salesforce Commerce Cloud and they’ve also done lots of integrations with platforms like Blubolt, Shopware, SAP CX and various others. NOSTO have also done a number of headless implementations, which is more important in recent times.
In terms of the integration itself – it’s basically just a case of installing the module / app / cartridge, syncing product data, adding the JS and divs to the front-end, styling the templates and then configuring the recommendations – which can be done really quickly.
In terms of pricing, NOSTO is generally quite competitive but it has got a lot more expensive over the last few years. There isn’t a good personalisation solution that’s low cost – even if it’s just for product recommendations. These do exist in the Shopify and BigCommerce spaces, but they’re very basic and don’t allow for advanced business logic etc.
In my experience, NOSTO starts from ~£800 per month for a relatively mid-market retailer looking to just use some of the basic features. For the full suite, it would generally start from around ~£2500.
Conclusion on NOSTO
I’ve worked with lots of other personalisation solutions and I’ve always found NOSTO to be the best and most effective, simply because it’s so easy to use for admin users. There are other solutions that have better reporting and better A/B testing for example – but they take much longer to integrate, don’t have integrations with other technology partners (e.g. Klaviyo and Yotpo), have complex back-end interfaces and don’t have the same level of support / customer success, which is another massive pro for NOSTO.
If you have any questions on NOSTO, feel free to drop me an email.