During this Winter Olympics, The New York Times’ app users can engage directly with sports editor Sam Manchester and get personalized updates on their favorite events. This week, we’ll also look at how Yoox’s newly-personalized app brings in 50% of its sales and more retailers exploring bringing personalization into physical stores.

NY Times App Users Are Following The Olympics in a New Way: Their Way

During the Summer 2016 Olympics, sports editor Sam Manchester interacted directly with readers via inside-scoop text messages. While readers “loved” this interactive engagement, the text-based system was technically limited. The paper opted to do something different for this winter’s Olympics. Instead, The New York Times created an entirely new system and workflow for delivering interactive, personalized coverage and messages to readers.

Both the push notifications and personalized news come through an interactive webpage that displays on the mobile app. The system’s back-end enables personalization by tracking users’ device data and reading histories. Those are dynamically queried so that individual pages reflect reader interests. In addition, readers take surveys, with their answers splitting them into groups. For example, Manchester sends targeted messages about curling events to readers who like that sport.

ny times olympics app

Integrating this personalized, conversational interface with its app, instead of relying on texting, enables the paper to “control this whole space,” graphics editor Troy Griggs pointed out. Technically, it supports the ability to message more people and eliminates the high SMS costs generated by the previous system.

Yoox Says Half of Sales Now Come From Its Mobile App

Mobile sales were a huge contributor of Yoox Net-a-Porter’s growing revenues in 2017. An early release of the company’s earnings report shows that more than 50% of the online luxury clothing retailer’s sales came through the mobile apps of all four of its brands: Yoox, Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter and The Outnet. Total sales for 2017 reached $2.6 billion, a 17% increase over the previous year.

The company credited its mobile success to increased personalization that it embedded into the app last summer. “Personalization is a pillar of the mobile app,” said Yoox head of ecommerce Daniele Crane Milani told Glossy. The updated app includes a personal shopper.

Created for already-engaged users, the app drives loyalty. “We understand that customer,” said Crane Milani. “We know why they’re there and what they want, and we can serve it to them.”

Retailers Prioritize Integration of In-Store and Online Personalization

The integration of personalization throughout online and in-store shopping is especially hot for retailers. “More than 70% of retailers are trying to personalize the store experience,” said Brendan Witcher, principal analyst for ebusiness and channel strategy at Forrester Research. “The reason is because so many customers respond to it. We see nearly three out of four consumers responding to personalized offers, recommendations or experiences.”


Beauty brands have been leading this trend, according to Chris Paradysz, co-CEO of digital marketing firm PMX Agency. Online cosmetics retailer Glossier, for example, is merging personalized product recommendations with personalized content. For example, Glossier plans to roll out a point-of-sale system at its SoHo store that will fuel one-to-one experiences by merging online data with high-touch in-store shopping.

“The sales associate will be able to see your history, how often you shop, products you tried before, the last one you bought, the last article you read on Into the Gloss,” explains CTO Bryan Mahoney. Glossier then recommends content based on readers’ interests, helping them get where they want to go more faster.