Google Cloud released its newest AI feature for online retailers in 2023. Their shelf-checking AI solution, Vertex AI Vision, was released in September 2021 and aims to simplify the online shopping experience for all device users.
From personalised search to AI-driven product recommendations, Google Cloud is opening up a new era of possibilities for e-commerce retailers. In a fiercely competitive market, post-Covid retail must be customisable, adaptable and customer-focused, especially if smaller brands want to keep up with demographic trends.
“Upheavals over the last few years have reshaped the retail landscape, and the tools retailers need to be more efficient, more compelling to their customers, and less exposed to future shocks,” said VP of Retail at Google Cloud, Carrie Tharp. “Despite the uncertainty, the retail industry has enormous opportunities. The leaders of tomorrow will be those who address today’s most pressing in-store and online challenges with the newest technology tools, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
Stick with us as we navigate the future of online retail strategy and reveal some of Google Clouds’ newest features, designed to boost e-commerce success in 2023.
Ecommerce challenges in 2023
The ecommerce industry is predicted to make up over 22% of global sales in 2023 and is likely to be worth over $6.3 trillion by the end of the year.
As we move into an era of social selling and a push for new technology, the e-commerce industry has become more accessible yet more competitive at the same time.
With over half of all online shopping searches now coming from a mobile device, a new generation of digitally native consumers wants more from their online experience. From personalisation to loyalty rewards, ecommerce retailers must be prepared to constantly adapt to consumer social trends and new internet-accessible devices on the market.
Google Cloud aims to combat this, using its latest developments in artificial intelligence. Let’s have a closer look at how Google’s new AI retail tool could transform online stores and the customer experience.
Adaptable site browsing
Did you know that personalised content can increase conversion potential by over 110%? If site browsers are quickly greeted with a set of customisable product searches, they are more likely to progress to the checkout.
In fact, personalising your ecommerce site alone can increase revenue by up to 25%, opening up opportunities for store growth and reach.
Google Cloud’s new AI-driven search solution aims to take personalisation one step further. Using AI, Google Cloud can analyse the behaviour of site users, tracking purchase history, items they view and even scroll times on pages. Using this information, it quickly identifies a customer’s preferences and makes sure they see those first when entering a site’s navigation system.
Researchers from Google Cloud found that 86% of shoppers are more likely to interact with a brand that understands their interests and acts on their preferences.
Their retail search solution does just that, aiming to enhance a website’s ability to adapt to each shopper. Better still, this is all done using first-party cookies and previous on-site data. Customer preferences are stored for retailer use only, making for a more secure experience on and off-site.
AI-driven product sorting
Working in the same way as a personalised search experience, Google Cloud has also integrated AI-driven product sorting into their new update.
This handy tool allows ecommerce retailers to improve their product discovery journey, increasing the chances of conversion on-site.
As you can see above, the current average conversion rate for ecommerce sellers stands at a measly 2.5%, often down to consumer bounce once on site.
In order to reduce bounce rates and get conversions flowing, ecommerce sites must be hosted on a server with large bandwidth and no downtime. Alongside this, all aspects of the site should be optimised with consumer personalisation in mind.
Optimising the order products and services on-site appear in AI-driven recommendations improves the chances of conversion success by over a third. While traditional ecommerce retailers order products in order of relevance/best sellers, Google’s new system will recommend products based on historical consumer data, improving relevance and the chances of a direct sale.
Did you know that product recommendation systems play a critical role in a successful retail strategy? With online retail sales predicted to surpass $8 trillion by 2026, competition has quickly risen amongst small retailers, meaning that finding new ways to optimise the customer experience is the key to staying in the game.
Using Google Cloud’s new Discovery AI feature, ecommerce retailers can use machine learning to ensure that product recommendations on-site adapt to each user. Not only will this increase revenue during a search session, but means that no landing page will look the same again.
From rolling product banners to personalised popups, taking time to enable customisable recommendations will lead to higher sale revenue and a spike in user engagement.
The feature has been created in collaboration with software developers DeepMind, which uses first-party data to consider product categories, product prices and consumer behaviour when generating new recommendations for site searchers.
Better still, Google Cloud is using this same feature to introduce a ‘buy it again’ option that suggests products based on a user’s past purchase history.
Automatic shelf checking for physical stores
While managing an online store can be tricky, it’s important to keep physical processes in check too, especially if you want to keep product shipping times fast and consumers satisfied with your service.
Retailers use many different versions of shelf-checking tech, but Google Cloud’s newest AI-driven solution puts many of them to shame. Using the Cloud’s most recent feature, retail assistants can categorize and distinguish products in seconds.
Based on visual and text-based prompts, Google’s AI shelf checker can turn product data into actionable insights that can improve inventory visibility and give sales reps a better idea of product availability online.
According to recent insights from NielsenIQ, having empty shelves cost retailers a whopping $82 billion in 2021 alone. Google’s AI-driven self-checking solution aims to combat the costs of empty shelves and reduce widespread wipe out of products, especially when you can track stock automatically.
What’s next for online retailers?
Online retail will continue to evolve in the coming years, with AI standing at the forefront. As we see great influxes of online consumers, site pages should be optimised with personalisation in mind.
With so many retail options to choose from on the web, the key here is to make your business stand out from the crowd.
Using Google Cloud’s new AI retail tool, ecommerce vendors can customise their search options, offer loyal customers personalised recommendations, and even gain greater access to product availability data straight from the storeroom.
A completely online future of retail is just around the corner. If you want to remain successful in a digital era, make sure you’re ahead of the technological curve.