AI In Action - Delivering Value to Online Experiences

Produced by


Sheila Morin


Vanda Provato

Chief Marketing & Digital Officer
Liquor Control Board of Ontario

In the bustling realm of commerce, where the digital landscape is ever-evolving, the intersection of AI and customer experience stands as a beacon of innovation and opportunity. This was the focal point of a riveting discussion featuring industry stalwarts Sheila Morin, CMO of Coveo, and Vanda Provato, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). Together, they delved into the transformative power of AI in delivering unparalleled value to online experiences.

Sheila, a seasoned marketing executive, set the stage highlighting Coveo's prowess in AI-driven personalized experiences. She introduced Vanda, lauding her as a trailblazer in digital transformation with an illustrious career spanning renowned brands like Second Cup Coffee and AOL Canada.

Vanda provided insights into the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO)'s rich legacy and its commitment to offering exceptional experiences in the realm of beverage alcohol retail. LCBO, with a staggering annual sales figure of over $7 billion, boasts a vast array of products, serving a diverse customer base across Ontario. She emphasized the pivotal role of digital presence, revealing that despite online sales constituting a mere 2% of total retail sales, digital platforms serve as crucial touchpoints for customer engagement.

The conversation pivoted to the challenges encountered during LCBO's digital transformation journey. Well before GenAI became the latest buzzword, LCBO had a vision: Deliver remarkable experiences as the trusted destination for the world’s wines, beers and spirits. To support that vision, they have undergone significant transformation over the last 5 years - operationally, organizationally, and of course digitally. The adoption of AI to power search and discovery experiences has been an important part of that transformation.

Vanda candidly discussed the limitations of their legacy e-commerce platform, which lacked AI capabilities, leading to subpar search experiences and stagnant customer satisfaction metrics. Legacy systems posed additional hurdles, hampering seamless integration and real-time inventory management.

However, the tide turned with the adoption of AI-driven solutions. Vanda elaborated on LCBO's embrace of AI in enhancing search functionality, leveraging Coveo's AI models to decode user intent and deliver personalized recommendations. She illustrated the journey towards semantic search, query suggestions, automatic relevancy tuning, and content/product recommendations, culminating in a significantly improved user experience.

Sheila interjected with insights on the symbiotic relationship between AI and personalization, stressing the importance of leveraging data intelligently to craft tailored experiences. Vanda echoed this sentiment, underscoring the significance of continuous optimization and user-centric design in driving customer engagement.

The discussion crescendoed with a reflection on tangible results. Vanda unveiled impressive metrics, showcasing a substantial increase in conversion rates, click-through rates, and customer satisfaction scores following the implementation of AI-driven solutions. She emphasized the holistic approach to KPIs, emphasizing not just conversion metrics but also the overall enhancement of the customer journey.

Looking ahead, Vanda outlined LCBO's ambitious roadmap, focusing on further enhancing product discovery, refining recommendation models, and advancing personalization capabilities. She underscored the imperative of staying agile and proactive in embracing AI to meet evolving customer expectations.

In closing, Sheila encapsulated the essence of the discussion with three key takeaways: the indispensability of AI in elevating customer experiences, the imperative of investing in AI-driven search and personalization, and the tangible results AI delivers in enhancing business outcomes. The partnership between Coveo and LCBO stood as a testament to the transformative potential of AI, paving the way for a future where seamless, personalized experiences reign supreme in the digital commerce landscape.

MAR 2024