It is clear that the new normal has shifted shopping to online. A key challenge now would be to engage and retain shoppers, convert the experienced shoppers as well as the new ones who just started to shop online. Retailers should focus on preventing frustration, and “make it right” the first time by ensuring shoppers find what they are looking for. Building customers’ trust and provide the necessary tools to help navigate through the website cluttered menus, filters and irrelevant search results.
In the 2019 holiday shopping period 58% of shopper-reported purchases were made online (even without the pandemic restrictions). This year, we expect those numbers to grow, as almost 75% of U.S. shoppers who plan to shop this season said they will shop online more for the holidays than they did in previous seasons, and a similar number said they would browse for gift ideas online.
As online retailers can get a bigger piece of the holiday shopping pie, it's all about helping shoppers find what they want in the easiest possible way. According to recent surveys, the most important factor for customers when it comes to online shopping is “easy search capabilities” and 60% of online shoppers are frustrated by irrelevant search results.
So what can retailers do to offer an effective and intuitive discovery:
- Make sure the catalogs are fully updated and tagged - so that items will come up when searching. Richer and accurate product attribution is a must for effective search results. These tags will also boost SEO and search relevancy.
- Automate and scale up processes - use technologies like AI and computer vision to automate products tagging to accelerate product online readiness, decrease manual, labor intensive processes and reduce potential human inconsistencies.
- Implement Visual Discovery - help shoppers find what they are most likely to buy intuitively and effectively. Visual Discovery is the next generation of product discovery that already proved to be the most efficient experience that is gradually being used more than the traditional grid browsing.
- Personalize not just segment - generic recommendations that apply to thousands of shoppers does not mean you personalize your shopping experience. Leverage Visual AI to understand the shopper style-DNA and offer products they would really love, not just because of their age or demographic, or because other people clicked on them.
There are retailers that take effective actions and are seeing revenue soar despite the pandemic. Here are the 3 actions we commonly see:
- Prioritize customer experience, align the in-store experience with the online channel.
- Engage and retain experienced shoppers as well as the new ones who just started.
- Implement new discovery methods to make sure shoppers (definitely less experienced ones) find what they are looking for.
Covid 19 shapes the way consumers will celebrate and shop in this holiday season. Retailers already made the effort to support the holiday season scale, promotions are in place, but the one thing that will differentiate retailers is the customer experience - otherwise the holiday deal hunters will find another alternative for their hunger. Brands who will be prepared with an effective online channel are the ones who will benefit the most. As Nike CEO said: “digital is here to stay”.
To experience AI Visual Discovery in action, request a virtual demo today!