Solving Search Relevancy for the Grocery Industry

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In our latest episode of the 2 Minute Podcast, Brent Dunham talked about his experience at the GroceryShop conference last October in Las Vegas, NV and explained why the Grocery Industry is hurting for improved ecommerce search relevancy and personalization. Here’s what Brent had to say: Pressed for time? Listen to the audio version of the 2 Minute Podcast here Online Grocery has a certain uniqueness within the E-commerce realm. As discussed at GroceryShop, from a macro level, online grocery is still early in its evolution and accounts for only 1% market share among grocery purchases. With the low market share and the uphill battle to change consumer behavior, retailers need to be thoughtful about their e-commerce investments.  However, we can’t look at online solely as a separate channel with 62% of customers reportedly using some digital channel prior to visiting the brick-and-mortar, according to a keynote speaker at GroceryShop. So whether its content, searching for products online, or purchasing online and picking up in-store, online grocery is a critical part of the customer journey. We had the chance to attend GroceryShop, a forward-thinking conference focused on innovation with industry leaders in Supermarkets, CPG and consultancies in attendance. The SVP of Digital at Albertson’s called Grocery e-commerce: Deceptively similar, significantly different. For one, when comparing grocery to traditional retail, there are more items in the cart. With an average of 20-30 items there’s more work to be done in understanding the shopper's intent and providing a frictionless experience. Is the shopper looking for convenience items, building a recipe or ordering groceries for their family? These are all things grocers need to consider when trying to transfer the in-store experience to the online world. These differences are why GroupBy custom-built a front end experience solution to provide a seamless and intuitive online grocery shopping experience. With retailers focused on increasing conversion, and average order value, GroupBy’s ultimate goal is to bring the impulsiveness of in-store grocery shopping, to the ecommerce experience. This is where a data-driven recommendations and customer experience engine is critical. The opportunities for dynamic data-driven recommendations within e-commerce are exponentially higher than in-store, as the physical limitations of the store are removed. While it is important to digitally walk your customers through the store, the benefits of e-commerce allow you to begin to understand the core mix of products that someone is adding to their basket and seamlessly transition them across the digital store in a highly efficient manner to drive higher basket sizes. These recommendations are also highly personalized to the individual user. For example, a shopper over time orders a particular brand of lunch meat. Our system will recognize this shopper's preference and move that brand's products to the top of the page for this shopper, allowing for a much smoother customer experience when searching for “lunch meat”. Alongside intelligent recommendations, our solution contains other features adding to a more pleasant online journey. Features such as:

  • Recipe pages where shoppers can easily add all ingredients from a recipe to their cart and click out of ingredients they already have
  • Easy re-order where you’re able to quickly build a cart from previous orders
  • Search As You Type (SAYT) enables shoppers to add items to their basket directly from the search bar as they type out the products they are looking for

We can also ingest in-store data to drive online personalization based on previous in-store purchases. Bridging online + offline worlds are critical in providing a consistent customer experience. As one of our key differentiators, I couldn’t wrap up this podcast without mentioning the impact of product data in powering online grocery. Managing product data is time-consuming, error-prone and often slips through the cracks amongst customer experience priorities. Grocery has its own data challenges in managing large catalogues with hundreds of brands and unique attributes like allergy specific and religious restrictions amongst others. Our solution uses a combination of humans and machines to clean, normalize and enrich product data feed’s creating a scalable solution to maximize results from your on-site experience engines. As voice search online and through connected devices becomes more mainstream, it’s paramount to have rich product data in order to surface relevant results. If you’re interested to learn more about GroupBy’s customer experience management solution for Grocers click here to request a demo.