From fashion and homeware to groceries and travel, online shopping lets you buy just about anything at the touch of a button. So it’s no surprise that 95% of purchases are expected to be online by 2040.
This surge in online shopping has ripple effects on sales and marketing channels both on and offline. So simply listing your products online isn’t enough to seize this opportunity. You need to prep every one of your channels.
The fastest-growing, most innovative brands are optimising for Product Discovery.
Customers expect a personalised, relevant experience that is consistent across every touchpoint they engage with. And considering 90% of us switch between screens to complete tasks, a huge portion of your customers demand seamless journeys regardless of whether they’re shopping through an app, Instagram store, website or even offline.
To be specific, 90% of customers expect their interactions to be consistent across all channels.
But many retailers are scrambling to effectively serve shoppers throughout these different platforms. And due to siloed data, a lack of tech, and a shortage of expertise, many are struggling to make their brand experiences truly omnichannel.
In this blog, we give you some pointers on how you can polish your search, refine your merchandising and brush up on your recommendations across every channel. All to empower your customers to enjoy seamless product discovery journeys that are relevant and personalised to maximise retention and conversions.
Focus on search relevancy
Users that search are 5 times more likely to convert and spend 3 times more than those who don’t. They’re not only the most engaged customers, but also the most valuable. Enhancing the capabilities of your on-site search is a sure-fire way to boost the product discovery experience.
One easily implemented solution is Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered search. Using natural language processing (NLP) and deep learning, AI-powered search delivers accurate results for even the most complex and unstructured search requests.
It works by matching real-time onsite behaviour with shopper traits and the product catalogues to predict the intent of the shopper.
You need cross-channel visibility of all data and content to fuel an omnichannel approach. This will enable you to enhance the search experience across every shopping platform, as if they were being guided by a personal shopper.
For the most effective search, pre-trained algorithms that constantly optimise themselves based on accurate customer information are essential. A study by Google found that 39% of purchases were influenced by a relevant search. So optimising your search is a win-win – you get to secure more sales and your shoppers are never left without answers.
Just make sure to apply this approach across the board and not just silo it to one tool or channel. For example, your shoppers’ search queries should align with the push notifications you send from your mobile app and the email messaging you send to re-engage the shopper. Syncing this experience up creates a consolidated customer journey end-to-end.
If your shoppers’ journey stops dead when they jump across devices or channels, they’ll soon lose interest which is a missed opportunity for you.
Make your merchandising consistent to inspire more purchases
Brick and mortar stores are carefully dressed, merchandised and layed out to encourage shoppers to purchase. Through striking visual displays, an engaging atmosphere and helpful staff on the ground, brands know what works when it comes to converting browsing shoppers.
Scaling these highly sophisticated merchandising experiences across every channel presents a challenge for any growing brand.
Finding a way to increase the control merchandisers have over their digital shopping experiences without sinking all of their time into arduous, manual categorisation and ranking can be tricky.
This is where AI can assist.
Using natural language processing and other AI techniques, it puts more power at the fingertips of merchandisers, allowing them to leverage the benefits of automation and AI but with the ability to exert creative control at every single touchpoint.
Having control means you can apply business logic and rules on top of the recommendations and actions applied by AI. For example the ‘age old’ rule of never having Chanel next to Dior. These basic rules can only be applied if you have the functionality in your AI tool set.
With an increase in team efficiency, you’ll be able to enhance the shopper’s product discovery journey. This will not only mean your customers benefit from a more relevant and personalised experience but your merchandising team gets more time to focus on value-added tasks. All while your conversions and AOV are improving.
Nature & Découvertes replicated their in-store experience on their ecommerce site to provide a better onsite experience and boost conversions. By using AI to ascertain where buyers are in their product discovery journey, you can present meaningful, relevant experiences to help nurture them through to the next stage of the buying process: yielding your brand more results and faster conversions.
And using the trail of data that shopper’s leave as they click around your site, smart automation equips you to personalise just about every interaction – from product listing pages to recommendations.
This is an essential part of product discovery as 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions and 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.
But as Harvard Business Review found that 73% of customers use multiple channels during their shopping journey, all of this needs to be translated across your apps, customer support, email marketing and so on.
You need integrated cross-channel data, content management, and measurement with strong automation to accommodate all channels.
Otherwise your smart merchandising might not have quite the impact you’re hoping for.
Use relevant recommendations to continue engagement
Savvy sales reps tempt shoppers with specific recommendations all the time in-store. So when shoppers jump across to online, a recommendation engine is a powerful tool that has a very similar effect.
Especially on your shoppers that are simply browsing. Which, as the data suggests, account for 46% of a typical shopping audience.
49% of shoppers say that, after receiving a personalised recommendation, they have purchased a product they didn’t initially intend to buy.
So serving products or content based on similar or complementary searches, best sellers, as well as cross and upselling will hugely benefit your bottom line. Particularly as 54% of retailers reported product recommendations as the key driver of the average order value in the customer purchase.
Aside from prompting your customers to buy more, dynamic recommendations have the potential to improve the overall product discovery experience. These dynamic recommendations aren’t just to recommend complementary products to those that a shopper has viewed but relevant products and content based on their interests, shopping history and even their preferences.
As you help guide your shoppers to the right products and content, you make the onsite experience more convenient, empowering visitors to find what they want quicker and discover new things which are relevant to them and their interests.
Research from Accenture revealed a massive 91% of customers are more likely to shop with brands who acknowledge, remember, and present relevant offers and recommendations to them.
Dynamic recommendations that are hyper-relevant to each individual at every touchpoint will get you well on your way to delivering great omnichannel product discovery experiences.
Personalisation across the journey is key to success
The success of an omnichannel product discovery journey hinges on personalisation.
At every touchpoint, personalisation has a huge role to play in keeping shoppers engaged and willing to buy.
Brands that want to succeed must have consolidated cross-channel data, flexible site and app infrastructure, a tech stack equipped to personalise, omnichannel inventory-fulfilment capabilities and teams that personalise key touch points across the entire product discovery journey.
Without these capabilities, shaping consistently tailored interactions across channels won’t be easy.
Fine-tune your product discovery strategy to suit all channels
Investing in your product discovery experiences across every channel has a clear business case. It’s helping brands enhance the shopping experience, building customer loyalty and nurturing customers through their discovery process.
With your entire ecommerce experience optimised around your shoppers, you’ll see higher conversions, better engagement and an improved shopping experience.
Find a platform that’s built with AI-powered search, smart visual merchandising and dynamic recommendations all richly tailored to each shopper to get your omnichannel product discovery experiences up to scratch.