Revolutionizing the eCommerce Experience - Featuring GroupBy and BJ's Wholesale

facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo

Today’s eCommerce is all about providing experiences that elevate the moment. From delivering highly relevant search results and recommendations to providing seamless omnichannel fulfillment options, these moments all work together to make better customer experiences. 

The pandemic has been accelerating digital transformation at record speed. Brands like BJ's Wholesale Club that were ahead of the curve when the pandemic struck were already poised to take their search and omnichannel experiences to new heights. 

In a recent webinar with GroupBy, BJ’s and Google Cloud, Kandice Carlson, the Global Retail Marketing Lead at Google Cloud, commented, “The digital era is here to stay, and retailers have a huge opportunity to transform the eCommerce shopping experience. That could involve moving to the cloud to better leverage vast amounts of data to make real-time decisions, utilizing AI to elevate product discovery through search and recommendations, and ultimately understanding customer intent to create omnichannel experiences.” BJ’s Wholesale Club is doing all three with the help of GroupBy’s Product Discovery Platform powered by Google Cloud Vertex AI Search for Retail. 

BJ’s VP Digital Experience and Program Management, Heather Hacker, commented, “We're really focused on leveraging data across the buy path to understand customer intent, make search and recommendations most relevant, and make it very easy for our members to build their cart and access their products through our omnichannel capabilities.”

Expanding omnichannel to meet evolving customer needs

GroupBy had already built technology to support buy online pickup in club and same day delivery for BJ’s well before COVID-19 existed. When the pandemic hit, BJ’s was therefore able to shift quickly to an expanded version of omnichannel, adding curbside pickup for their members. Carlson noted that “Google searches for ‘curbside’ are up 3,000% year over year,” so it is what today’s customers want.  

Hacker commented, “Working with GroupBy, we doubled down on omnichannel. We extended it to include curbside pickup, which became the expectation for safer purchasing last year. We also expanded the types of products that we made available through these omnichannel capabilities, such as including fresh products, which became very important as people began to do a lot more grocery shopping from home.” 

Delivering highly relevant search results and recommendations

Customers continue to expect more and more from eCommerce, including surfacing the right product at the right time and receiving meaningful recommendations. Frank Ogura, Director of Product Management at BJ's, commented, “Through GroupBy’s Product Discovery Platform powered by Google Cloud Discovery AI, we have enabled universal search and discovery – from the search functionality found throughout our site to the filter facets on our product listing pages to our recommendation engine. This has empowered us to not only help each member find what they want faster but in many ways lead them directly to it so they can shop with ease and convenience.”

Ogura noted that BJ’s sees GroupBy as an enabler to help members build their carts and improve their overall shopping experience. He commented, “Through the work we've done with GroupBy, we've seen a 130% increase in add-to-cart via search and an over 200% increase in click-through rate when people are on a search result page and want to understand more about a product. This allows members not only to build their cart in meaningful ways, but it also improves their shopping experience through better discovery and higher confidence in their purchase.”

Personalizing and streamlining the buyer journey

“From a personalization standpoint,” commented Hacker, “BJ’s has embarked on a multi-year project to integrate our customer data across our channels to really understand what's working and what's not working for our members as they shop our digital properties.”

A large part of improving the customer journey is removing points of friction and streamlining the experience. Frank commented that “Customers can enter the journey any way they like, from search results on Google to a product detail page to a product listing page to going indirectly via the BJ’s home page or via the mobile app, just to name a few. So, it's imperative we ensure no matter where our members enter, they have the same experience without friction.”

GroupBy’s CEO, Roland Gossage, agreed, saying, “No matter how BJ’s members begin their journey, we need to automatically create that highly personalized experience, whether it's product recommendations, search, navigation, product landing pages, promotions, coupons, you name it. And that’s a lot of data.” He continued, “Through our partnership with Google Cloud we provide a platform that uses machine learning (ML) and AI to help companies leverage their vast amounts of instore and online data to create fundamentally better customer experiences. And we do this in a very short time period. We essentially democratize machine learning for our customers, so they can spend their time being a great wholesaler or retailer.” 


GroupBy’s SaaS-based Product Discovery Platform powered by Google Cloud Vertex AI Search for Retail can help you capture and understand customer intentions and behaviors, put the right product in front of the right user at the right moment, and improve site-wide metrics and customer satisfaction (CSAT) to boost your net promoter score (NPS). To learn more, watch the 20-minute Google Summit session on how BJ’s Wholesale Club is revolutionizing their customer experience and taking their omnichannel focus to new heights with GroupBys AI-powered product discovery platform.