Create Compelling, Omnichannel Product Experiences that Turn Browsers into Buyers 

Produced by Akeneo

Kristin Naragon, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer, Akeneo steered an interesting discussion on turning browsers into buyers through product experiences with Alex Rutter of Google Cloud Dimple Rao of Chico's. Kristin highlights the importance of product experiences by sharing a statistic that two out of three browsers will abandon a search for a product if they have a bad experience. The discussion centers around the omnichannel buying experience and how important it is for brands to have engaging and consistent product information that compels browsers to make a conversion. Kristin explained how to turn browsers into buyers with Akeneo Product Cloud. Akeneo Product Cloud allows brands to activate and optimize their product story across all channels. With search behaviors moving into new demographics, brands need to focus on enriching and optimizing their product data to support how customers can find them. To make this a seamless process, product experience and product information play an integral role. Retailers need a product information management system to deliver a product experience that is rich and informative while also meeting the customers where they are. Akeneo Product Cloud aids retailers in creating a compelling and consistent omnichannel experience that drives revenue across all channels.

Dimple Rao, VP of Digital Product Management & Experience Design, Chico's FAS, explained how COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of digital adoption for the company’s three fashion apparel brands, Chico’s, White House Black Market, and Soma. While they are focused on retention and engagement with existing customers, they also need to attract new customers, so product information is key. Dimple explained that Chico’s uses four channels, including physical stores, digital platforms, call centers, and virtual stylist communities. The customer journey is often asynchronous and fluid across channels, and consistency in product data is crucial. Dimple stressed that different customers require different levels of information to convert them into buyers, so the more data and product information they have, the better their chances of closing the deal. To structure data in a way that resonates with the customers, Chico’s uses visual AI from its partnership with the company Site, which extracts attributes from the products to structure data in a way that resonates with customers, enabling a more profound buying experience. Dimple believes that automation, centralization of data, and structuring it appropriately are critical to the company, especially given that they have three brands, which makes the complexity of these factors ten times greater.

Alex Rutter, Director & Head of Retail, Google Cloud, discussed several search trends related to consumers' behaviors, digital touchpoints, and personalization. Firstly, the trend of "cheap" has become more consistent over the years compared to "best", indicating a shift in consumer priorities towards cost of living. Secondly, digital inspiration is on the rise but the desire to purchase lags behind, leading to a gap that brands must address. Thirdly, search behaviors vary across generations with younger people using voice search and AI-powered image recognition tools to search for products. Lastly, nearness or proximity has become an increasingly important search trend, and convenience is key in meeting customers' high expectations. In terms of digital touchpoints, Alex emphasized the significance of consistency across all interactions, which can amount to around 17 touchpoints per transaction. Lastly, personalization is crucial, and it must be meaningful and respectful to customers while providing a value exchange. Alex noted that the challenge is to strike a balance between being too intrusive and not being personalized enough.

FEB 2023