Earlier this year, GroupBy’s CEO, Roland Gossage, participated in a session at the B2B Online 2022 conference titled ‘Optimizing the Customer Journey and Experience.’ For the conversation, Gossage was joined by B2B eCommerce expert Brian Beck. The two industry veterans discussed the advantages of utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) over human decision-making for eCommerce product discovery applications.
All product discovery platforms aim to get the right product in front of the right customer at the right moment. Using AI and ML-based platforms allows you to do this seamlessly with little human intervention. Gossage shared that, during a discussion with a big box retailer, the company’s team admitted to creating 25,000 human-made business rules to shape the product discovery experience on its website. However, with 5.2 million website searches these rules will become obsolete quickly. Machine learning creates an infinite number of up-to-date rules. It can also instantly identify when rules don’t perform and will go back, find the issue and fix it to prevent it from happening again.
Additionally, unlike human management, machines see everything and make recommendations based on past performance and search history, creating a customized experience updated in real-time.
Amazon’s Influence in B2B
It’s undeniable that Amazon has established itself as the leader in B2C commerce, but it’s also quickly increasing its dominance in the B2B space. A recent Bank of America study shows Amazon Business is projected to complete over $80B in gross B2B sales by 2025.
Today, 53% of all shopping journeys start on Amazon, and the company is working diligently to recreate this in the B2B space. Amazon has changed consumer expectations for product discovery. While not every company will become Amazon, it’s crucial to invest in the right technology to offer the same experience consumers have come to expect.
B2B’s Opportunity to Best B2C
According to Beck, the B2B buyer has less attention span than a goldfish. If you don’t capture their attention from the start, you may lose them as a customer long-term.
B2B wholesalers have historically been five years behind B2C when it comes to technology implementation. With the established technology now in place, B2B brands have the opportunity to take the lead since B2C has had time to make mistakes and correct the course. Through vast investments and trial and error, B2C functionalities are now the table stakes for all brands.
With 73% of B2B buyers seeking personalized experiences similar to B2C-like customer experiences, wholesalers must invest in product discovery solutions to meet expectations. To do so, AI will play a vital role as it functions as an intelligent server that can perform tasks like a human, at scale.
Amazon has a tool to predict what consumers want to order next. Similar predictive maintenance features are available at the B2B level. If a pully is getting warped, it can send a notification to report the wear and recommend the user orders a new one.
One advantage B2B wholesalers have over eCommerce companies like Amazon is their sales force. Amazon doesn’t have a sales team to visit sites, report what is needed, and deliver it the next day. This B2B-unique dynamic allows people and machines to work together to provide the highest quality experience.
Leveraging Google’s Intelligence to Enhance the Experience
Most product discovery platforms available today run on Elasticsearch or Solr search engines. These two options are antiquated and haven’t received a significant update in decades, putting them far behind the rapidly evolving retail technology market.
GroupBy is the first in the market to offer retailers and wholesalers access to Google Cloud’s search and recommendations with its Product Discovery Platform powered by Google Cloud Discovery AI. By harnessing Google’s intelligence, everything that happens on the web is updated automatically on the platform. This is especially crucial with cold-start products. Instead of starting from zero, products have rich histories from day one to help them show up for relevant searches.
Whether you’re a B2B retailer or a B2B wholesaler, a person who searches on your website has the highest intent to buy. To ensure you’re capitalizing on the true potential of your search experience, the effectiveness and efficiency of your product discovery platform should be one of the most important investments in your tech stack. Click HERE to listen to Roland and Brian’s conversation and learn more about optimizing your product discovery functionality to increase revenue.